Campus News

Georgia Writers of Hall of Fame will hold author’s forum, induction ceremony for its newest members

Three writers whose works examine the conflicts that have shaped the South in its recent past and a songwriter who wrote the soundtrack to post-World War II America will be honored at the 2011 Georgia Writers Hall of Fame ceremony March 22.

Melissa Faye Greene and ­Natasha Trethewey, along with posthumous honorees James Kilgo and Johnny Mercer, will be inducted.

“The 2011 class of inductees into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame is exemplary,” said P. Toby Graham, director of the Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library and deputy university librarian. “These Georgians have enriched our lives and serve as a source of pride for our state. The Georgia Writers Hall of Fame is honored to celebrate their literary and creative contributions.”

The ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. in the rotunda of the Miller Learning Center.

Leading up to the March 22 induction, an author’s forum is scheduled for March 21 at 4 p.m. in the Miller Learning Center Reading Room. Greene and Trethewey will participate, along with English professor Judith Ortiz Cofer and Phil Williams, both inducted in 2010. English professor Hugh Ruppersburg will moderate.

The UGA Libraries established the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame in 2000 to recognize Georgia ­writers, past and present, whose work reflects the character of the state-its land and its people. It is housed in the Hargrett Library.

Greene’s award-winning books Praying for Sheetrock and The Temple Bombing chronicle dramatic episodes in the civil rights movement in Georgia. Praying for Sheetrock was a finalist for both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. It won the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award and the Lillian Smith Book Award (named for Georgia writer Lillian Smith and administered by the Southern Regional Council and UGA Libraries), among others. It was also adapted as a play and performed in spring 1997 by Lifeline Theater in Chicago. The Temple Bombing was also a National Book Award finalist and won several awards, including the Southern Book Critics Circle Award.

Tretheway, an English professor at Emory University in Atlanta, was the fourth African-American poet, and UGA’s first graduate outside of journalism, to win a Pulitzer Prize in 2007 for Native Guard. The collection consists of three parts-elegies to the poet’s dead mother, a ten-sonnet persona poem in the voice of a black soldier fighting in the Civil War (1861-1865) and a final section of autobiographical poems.

Kilgo wrote essays on hunting, nature, family and personal introspection that won him national attention. His 1998 novel, Daughter of My People, earned him the Townsend Prize for Fiction. Kilgo joined the faculty at UGA in 1967 and directed the creative writing program from 1994 to 1996 and retired from teaching in 1999. Kilgo, who battled cancer for more than 10 years, died in 2002 at the age of 61.

Mercer penned lyrics to more than 1,000 songs between 1929 and 1976. He received 19 Academy Award nominations, wrote music for a number of Broadway shows and co-founded Capitol Records. Perhaps best known for the 1961 Academy Award-winning song “Moon River,” Mercer also took Oscars for “Days of Wine and Roses,” “In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening” and “On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe.” He also wrote songs that became popular because of their commercial appeal, including “Jeepers Creepers,” “Accentuate the Positive,” “Glow-Worm” and “Hooray for Hollywood.”