Athens, Ga. –The Georgia Review will honor Georgia novelist and memoirist Raymond Andrews (1934-91) with a slate of varied events on the University of Georgia campus and at Ciné BarCaféCinéma in downtown Athens on Wednesday, Oct. 13 and Thursday, Oct. 14.
Andrews was born into and reared by a sharecropping family in Morgan County, resided in New York City for much of his adult life, and returned to Georgia to live in the Athens area about seven years prior to his death. He won the James Baldwin Prize for his first novel, Appalachee Red (1978), and-posthumously-the American Book Award for his novellas Jessie and Jesus and Cousin Claire (1991). Although Andrews was inducted into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame this past spring, his works remain little known and read.
The participants for “Once Upon a Time in Athens:The Legacy of Raymond Andrews” include Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and UGA graduate Natasha Trethewey, UGA’s Hamilton Holmes Professor of English Reginald McKnight, Idaho-based writer Gary Gildner, novelist Philip Lee Williams, local publisher and bookseller Judy Long, Emory University archivist Randall Burkett, relatives of Raymond Andrews, and Georgia Review staff members.
The program-its title modeled after Andrews’ posthumously published memoir, Once Upon a Time in Atlanta-includes an opening reception at Ciné; a showing of Jesse Freeman’s hour-long documentary film Somebody Else, Somewhere Else: The Raymond Andrews Story; an informal talk about Andrews by Gary Gildner, who was his roommate at Michigan State University in their pre-author days; readings from and discussion of Andrews’ books, especially his heralded Muskhogean trilogy of Georgia-set novels (Appalachee Red, Rosiebelle Lee Wildcat Tennessee, and Baby Sweet’s); and a discussion of the art and science of literary archiving, particularly as it pertains to the Raymond Andrews collection at Emory University.
This celebration of Raymond Andrews will coincide with the release of the Fall 2010 issue of The Georgia Review, which will feature previously unpublished excerpts from Andrews’ writings and correspondence, essays about his life and work, archival photographs, and a number of the line drawings created for Raymond Andrews’ books by his brother, internationally-known artist Benny Andrews, who also will be represented by a portfolio of his color paintings. An exchange of previously unpublished letters between Raymond Andrews and Gary Gildner during the 1980s was the initial inspiration for this feature and will be included. This issue will be available for purchase throughout the program, as will copies of the Andrews trilogy-originally published by Dial Press in the late 1970s and early 1980s, then reprinted by the University of Georgia Press in the late 1980s.
On Oct.13, at Ciné (234 West Hancock Avenue in Athens), The Georgia Review will host an opening reception at 6 p.m., followedby the Freeman film at 7 p.m., and a panel discussion of Raymond Andrews’ work and life at 8 p.m. The panelists will be Gildner, Shirley Andrews Lowrie (Raymond and Benny’s sister), Judy Long, and Philip Lee Williams, with Georgia Review editor Stephen Corey moderating.
A panel discussion titled “Preserving Literary History:The Raymond Andrews Papers at Emory University,” will be held on Oct. 14, 4 – 5:15 p.m. in room 250 of UGA’s Miller Learning Center (48 Baxter St. at South Lumpkin St.). The participants will be Gildner, Randall Burkett (curator of African American Collections for the Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library at Emory), and Randy Latimer (nephew of Raymond Andrews and co-executor of the author’s estate). Douglas Carlson, an assistant editor of The Georgia Review, will serve as moderator.
Gary Gildner will read from his Georgia Review essay “Remembering Raymond Andrews,” and Reginald McKnight and Natasha Trethewey willread selections from Andrews’ work on Oct. 14 at 7 p.m. at Ciné.
“Once Upon a Time in Athens” is supported by the Georgia Humanities Council, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and through appropriations from the Georgia General Assembly. Additional support is provided by Ciné, home.made catering, and Big City Bread Café.
All events are free and open to the public. Students in UGA’s Franklin College of Arts and Sciences can receive “blue card” credit for attendance. For more information, see The Georgia Review website at www.thegeorgiareview.com, connect on Facebook, or call 706/542-3481.