Judson Mitcham, Georgia’s poet laureate, and the late author Toni Cade Bambara, who compiled one of the first anthologies of African-American women’s writing, will be honored as the newest inductees of the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame at its 2013 ceremony.
A poet and novelist, Mitcham-the only two-time winner of the Townsend Prize for Fiction-was not formally trained as a writer. He earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in psychology from UGA and spent his career as a psychology professor at Fort Valley State University where he taught for 30 years. His debut novel, The Sweet Everlasting, and his second, Sabbath Creek, were both published by the UGA Press. He also twice has been given the Georgia Author of the YearAward for his first novel and his book of poems Somewhere in Ecclesiastes. A resident of Macon, Mitcham began teaching writing workshops at Mercer University in 2002. He also has served as adjunct professor of creative writing at UGA and Emory University, where he has directed the Summer Writers’ Institute.
Born in New York City, Bambara lived in Atlanta several times during her career, including being writer in residence at Spelman College from 1978-79, visiting professor in Afro-American studies at Emory University in 1975 and instructor at Atlanta University in 1979. She died in 1995.
Bambara did not separate civil rights from the fight for women’s equality. In 1970, she published The Black Woman, an anthology that made connections between the two struggles and included fiction, nonfiction and poetry by herself as well as such writers as Nikki Giovanni and Alice Walker.
A date for the 2013 induction ceremony has not been set.