Meet the Editors

Allen Mendenhall is publisher and editor-in-chief. Donna Meredith, Charley Hively, and Claire Hamner Matturro serve as associate editors. RIGHT: Photographs by VanessaK Photography, LLC.

Welcome!

The Southern Literary Review celebrates southern authors and their contributions to American literature.  We feature the classic writers who have defined southern literature, and we highlight emerging authors through interviews, profiles, and book reviews. In an effort to back independent bookstores and to encourage creativity in the publishing world, SLR is an IndieBound supporter.

“In the City of Murals,” by Blake Sanz

The following is chapter from Blake Sanz’ book The Boundaries of Our Dwelling, reprinted with the permission of University of Iowa Press. In the first days of the couple’s unlikely marriage, it became the airbrush artist’s habit to follow his American wife about the tiny kitchen of their rented house, daydreaming aloud to her in Spanish as […]

Blake Sanz 

Blake Sanz is the author of The Boundaries of Their Dwelling (October 15, 2021; University of Iowa Press), which won the Iowa Short Fiction Award. He has published fiction in Ecotone, Puerto del Sol, Fifth Wednesday Journal, and elsewhere. A native of Louisiana, he now lives in Denver, Colorado and teaches writing at the University of Denver. You can visit him at blakesanz.com.

“The Girls in the Stilt House,” by Kelly Mustian

Reviewed by Adele Annesi Longing, aspiration, and murder converge in rural 1920s Mississippi to link and forever shape the lives of two diverse teenage girls in Kelly Mustian’s haunting debut novel, The Girls in the Stilt House. Young runaway Ada Morgan vows never to return to the cruelty of her father’s house and her hardscrabble […]

How “I Love to Write Day” Got Started

By John Riddle In the spring of 2002, I was driving from my home in Delaware to the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writer’s conference in Asheville, North Carolina, where I was scheduled to speak.  My oldest daughter, Bonnie, was in the car with me; she was a college student at the time and interested in attending some […]

“The Shaadi Set-Up,” by Lillie Vale

Reviewed by Tamatha Cain This delightful and deceptively deep romance delivers laughs, sighs, and heartfelt cheers as former sweethearts battle the past and the expectations of family to find their way to happily-ever-after. The prose is mouth-watering at times, as are the passages describing swoon-worthy food. When Rita, an Indian-American furniture restorer, signs herself and […]

November Read of the Month: “When Women Danced With Trees—35 Unexpected Stories,” by Marina Brown

Reviewed by Claire Hamner Matturro Versatile, talented Marina Brown once more has written a stunning gem of a book with her collection of short stories in When Women Danced with Trees—35 Unexpected Stories (Gilberte Press 2021). Here, the extraordinary and the unexpected collide with the ordinary and the everyday. With the occasional appearance of magical […]

“Published Prosperity: Gail Godwin’s Writer’s Memoir,” by Kerstin W. Shands

Essay by Kerstin W. Shands Journals and memoirs are both self-narratives, but they are written from different viewpoints and for different reasons. Gail Godwin’s journals from the 1960s, The Making of a Writer, take us back to a present when no one could know how things would turn out and before Godwin herself could be […]

“Unpublished Prosperity: Gail Godwin’s Journals of Apprenticeship,” by Kerstin W. Shands

Essay by Kerstin W. Shands We may think of great writers as fully fledged—born with astonishing powers of perception and creation. Surprisingly, however, research suggests that creativity can be learned and developed, in which case great writers might not be so different from the rest of us after all. Before any kind of breakthrough, they […]