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.

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“Unpublished Prosperity: Gail Godwin’s Journals of Apprenticeship,” by Kerstin W. Shands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

“Bayou Cresting: The Wanting Women of Huet Pointe,” by Jodie Cain Smith

Reviewed by Kathleen M. Rodgers When Alabama author Jodie Cain Smith made her debut as a novelist a few years back with her haunting novel, The Woods at Barlow Bend, I knew Smith was an author to watch. Impressed by her ability to gain reader empathy and craft historic fiction that drew me right in, […]

SLR interviews J. William Lewis, Author of “The Essence of Nathan Biddle”

SLR: How long did it take to write The Essence of Nathan Biddle? JWL: I began writing the story in the mid-1980s.  I wrote the first draft (which was largely biographical) fairly quickly and then put it aside for gestation.  I also put it aside because I had a large and demanding law practice and […]

October Read of the Month: “N.O.K.,” by Bruce Ballister

Reviewed by Claire Hamner Matturro North Florida author Bruce Ballister takes his readers on a scenic, suspense-filled fast ride through the Forgotten Coast of north Florida, in N.O.K (May 2021). Myriad things about the state make it a perfect setting for crime novels, and Ballister deftly makes use of most of these: the heat, the […]

Where Have the Trees and Horses Gone?

Essay by John Riddle  On a recent vacation to the Outer Banks in North Carolina, my wife and I took one of those wild adventure tours that promise to show you horses in their natural habitat in and around the beach area in Corolla.  The open-air sightseeing vehicles were equipped with seat belts, and the […]

“Voice Lessons” by Karen Salyer McElmurray

Reviewed by Donna Meredith The sixteen essays in Karen Salyer McElmurray’s Voice Lessons are best savored one at a time, with deep breaths and pauses between readings to let the author’s soul and pain and voice seep into your bones. Her writing employs the best of creative nonfiction techniques, wheeling between subjects, then returning to […]

SLR Interviews Christy Alexander Hallberg