August Read of the Month: “The Murder Gene” by Karen Spears Zacharias

The Murder Gene (Koehler Books, 2022) is written with the precision of an ace journalist and with the page-turning intrigue of an award-winning novelist. No surprise since the author, Karen Spears Zacharias, is both. This combination of talents results in compelling nonfiction which deserves a wide and appreciative audience. Not only impeccably written, the book […]

“Stories from the Attic” by William Gay

William Gay was a literary autodidact who was born, lived most of his life, and died in Lewis County, Tennessee. Through extensive reading and almost continuous writing, he perfected his craft to become one of the essential Southern writers of the twenty-first century. His stories are every bit as visceral as early Cormac McCarthy with […]

Change of Leadership at SLR

After devoting more than a decade of service to Southern Literary Review, including serving as editor-in-chief and publisher, Allen Mendenhall is stepping down from those roles. Allen has written and published over one hundred of his own book reviews and author interviews on SLR, most recently moving from Q/A print interviews to a video format. […]

“James Dickey: A Literary Life” by Gordon Van Ness 

For James Dickey, who believed in the “transcendence of the imagination,” as evidenced in a letter to Gore Vidal in 1988—“I make no distinction between fact, fiction, history, reminiscence and fantasy, for the imagination inhabits them all,” —Gordon Van Ness takes on a complex, passionate, revelatory—and often thorny—task in James Dickey: A Literary Life (Mercer […]

“A Literary Life of Sutton E. Griggs: The Man on the Firing Line” by John Cullen Gruesser

Thorough research underpins John Cullen Gruesser’s A Literary Life of Sutton E. Griggs (Oxford University Press, 2022)—and every serious student of Black literature will want to read this biography of an important figure in American history. While the book’s main focus is on Griggs’s writings, it also covers his family and his contributions to the […]

“Wish Me Joy, West Virginia” by Valerie Banfield

Those who enjoyed Catherine Marshall’s Christy will enjoy the way faith is incorporated into Valerie Banfield’s Wish Me Joy, West Virginia. Those who enjoyed Kim Michele Richardson’s The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek and Donna Everhart’s The Saints of Swallow Hill will like way Banfield delivers the historical aspects of a small town. And anyone […]