Menu:

Southern Gothic - Wikipedia


I was born and raised in Rhode Island, a small colony approximately three hours from Park Slope. Despite my enduringly hard consonants and love of Tom Brady, I’ve lived south of the Mason-Dixon line since 2000 (though some of those years were spent in Washington D.C., which fluctuates between feeling Southern and feeling otherworldly, depending on what street you’re on and the day’s humidity).

When my wife and I moved to Atlanta in 2008, partly to be near her family, partly because we sought out a better place to raise ours, and partly because we both love sweating, I didn’t think much about what it meant for me as a writer. My first three books were set in different places around the country (Washington D.C., Washington State, the great Midwest), so I didn’t feel bound to a certain geographic muse. And given my freelance, employer-less lifestyle, I felt that I could live anywhere.

When I first entered an indie bookstore in the ATL that autumn, I noticed they had a large section titled SOUTHERN WRITERS. I suddenly feared that I didn’t belong. Would any of my books be placed on that shelf? Would the local literary community care about what I wrote? I lived in Georgia now, yes, but was I Southern? And did it matter?

Maybe it’s just marketing, or the simple fact that all the major publishers are as tied to Manhattan as fashion models and stockbrokers, or perhaps it’s the Southern inferiority complex, which persists even in an era where I can’t buy a biscuit without stumbling across a shoot for The Walking Dead or Rectify or Avengers 7 .

This month I’m publishing my fourth novel, Darktown, which can accurately be called a Southern novel, as it’s set in Atlanta. But I hope it also has universal appeal, as it’s about the very hot topic of race and policing. Given what I’ve learned in my transition to Atlanta, I’d like to provide the chart below as a public service. Are you a writer wondering where you fit in? Are you tired of your apartment and the usual coffeeshop where you work, and you’re considering a major relocation? Are you at heart a Southern writer or a Brooklyn writer? I hope this helpful primer sets you on a path toward literary fulfillment, a sense of belonging, and a world free of cliché or stereotype.

I was born and raised in Rhode Island, a small colony approximately three hours from Park Slope. Despite my enduringly hard consonants and love of Tom Brady, I’ve lived south of the Mason-Dixon line since 2000 (though some of those years were spent in Washington D.C., which fluctuates between feeling Southern and feeling otherworldly, depending on what street you’re on and the day’s humidity).

When my wife and I moved to Atlanta in 2008, partly to be near her family, partly because we sought out a better place to raise ours, and partly because we both love sweating, I didn’t think much about what it meant for me as a writer. My first three books were set in different places around the country (Washington D.C., Washington State, the great Midwest), so I didn’t feel bound to a certain geographic muse. And given my freelance, employer-less lifestyle, I felt that I could live anywhere.

When I first entered an indie bookstore in the ATL that autumn, I noticed they had a large section titled SOUTHERN WRITERS. I suddenly feared that I didn’t belong. Would any of my books be placed on that shelf? Would the local literary community care about what I wrote? I lived in Georgia now, yes, but was I Southern? And did it matter?

Maybe it’s just marketing, or the simple fact that all the major publishers are as tied to Manhattan as fashion models and stockbrokers, or perhaps it’s the Southern inferiority complex, which persists even in an era where I can’t buy a biscuit without stumbling across a shoot for The Walking Dead or Rectify or Avengers 7 .

This month I’m publishing my fourth novel, Darktown, which can accurately be called a Southern novel, as it’s set in Atlanta. But I hope it also has universal appeal, as it’s about the very hot topic of race and policing. Given what I’ve learned in my transition to Atlanta, I’d like to provide the chart below as a public service. Are you a writer wondering where you fit in? Are you tired of your apartment and the usual coffeeshop where you work, and you’re considering a major relocation? Are you at heart a Southern writer or a Brooklyn writer? I hope this helpful primer sets you on a path toward literary fulfillment, a sense of belonging, and a world free of cliché or stereotype.

From: Southern Cultures
Volume 7, Number 1, Spring 2001
pp. 27-37 | 10.1353/scu.2001.0007

If you would like to authenticate using a different subscribed institution that supports Shibboleth authentication or have your own login and password to Project MUSE, click 'Authenticate'.


Intellectual Life and the American South, 1810-1860: An Abridged Edition of Conjectures of Order

Project MUSE | 2715 North Charles Street | Baltimore, Maryland USA 21218 | (410) 516-6989 | About | Contact | Help | Tools | Order | Accessibility

©2017 Project MUSE. Produced by The Johns Hopkins University Press in collaboration with The Milton S. Eisenhower Library.


31u6wnZ9H-L