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Old South New South


As described in Patricia Evans’ Southern Literature: Women Writers, “Southern literature (sometimes called the literature of the American South) is defined as American literature about the Southern United States or by writers from this region. Characteristics of Southern literature include a focus on a common Southern history, the significance of family, a sense of community and one’s role within it, a sense of justice, the region’s dominant religion (Christianity — mainly Protestantism) and the burdens/rewards religion often brings, issues of racial tension, land and the promise it brings, a sense of social class and place, and the use of the Southern dialect.”

Southern Literature has enjoyed several different periods of prominence, with some significant works coming in the pre-Civil War antebellum period, and a large number of noted novels appearing in the “Lost Cause of the Confederacy” sub-genre, mourning the South’s loss in the U.S. Civil War conflict. Southern writing went through a period of renaissance in the 1920s and 1930s, with works from such influential writers as William Faulkner, Tennessee Williams, Thomas Wolfe, Katherine Anne Porter, Robert Penn Warren, Caroline Gordon and others. From the 1940s onwards, the field of Southern Literature, which had been dominated by white male writers, grew to encompass many more female authors and African-American authors, including such noteworthy writers as Zora Neale Hurston, Eudora Welty, Flannery O’Connor, Carson McCullers, Reynolds Price, Shirley Ann Grau, James Dickey, Walker Percy and James Styron.

The field of contemporary Southern Literature has broadened even further, and the elements that go into “traditional” Southern fiction have become even more diffuse. Numerous mystery series, including those by James Lee Burke and Carolyn G. Hart, have strong Southern settings, as do many of the legal thrillers of John Grisham. The Southeastern United States is a popular region for mainstream literature, both in terms of authors coming from that area and as a setting for contemporary novels. The following list of recommended authors/titles is intended to provide a sampling of Southern Literature for today’s reader, with an emphasis on recently published works, with some classics thrown in for good measure.

( All books in this list which are owned by Lincoln City Libraries are hotlinked to their entries in our library catalog, so that you may check on their current availability. Some titles not owned by the libraries are included in this list due to their classic nature, or their position as part of a series. If you see a title on this list that is not hotlinked to our collection, please consider ordering it through our Interlibrary Loan department. )

Dorothy Allison

Trash: Stories (2002)

Will Allison

What You Have Left (2007)

Rob Allyn

Front Runner

Lisa Alther

Original Sins (1981)

Mary Kay Andrews

Hissy Fit (2004)
Little Bitty Lies (2003)

Bo Ball

Appalachian Patterns: Stories

Toni Cade Bambara

Gorilla, My Love
The Salt Eaters (1980)
The Sea Birds Are Still Alive: Collected Stories (1977)

Lois Battle

Southern Women (1984)
Storyville (1993)

Wendell Berry

A Place on Earth (1967)

Doris Betts

Beasts of the Southern Wild and Other Stories (1973)
Heading West (1981)
Souls Raised From the Dead (1994)

Joe David Brown

Addie Pray (1971)

Rita Mae Brown

Bingo (1988)
Murder at Monticello (1994)
Rubyfruit Jungle (1973)
Southern Discomfort (1982)
Venus Envy (1993)

Linda Bruckheimer

The Southern Belles of Honeysuckle Way (2004)

Fielding Burke

Call Home the Heart

James Lee Burke

Black Cherry Blues (1989)
Burning Angel (1995)
The Convict: Stories (1985)
Half of Paradise (1965)
Heaven’s Prisoners (1988)
In the Electric Mist With the Confederate Dead (1993)
Neon Rain (1987)
A Stained White Radiance (1992)

Olive Ann Burns

Cold Sassy Tree (1984)
Leaving Cold Sassy (1992)

Milton T. Burton

The Sweet and the Dead (2006)

Julie Cannon

‘Mater Biscuit (2004)

Willa Cather

Sapphira and the Slave Girl (1940)

Fred Chappell

Brighten the Corner Where You Are (1989)
Farewell, I’m Bound to Leave You
Look Back All the Green Valley (1999)
More Shapes Than One

Samuel B. Charters

Elvis Presley Calls His Mother After the Ed Sullivan Show
Jelly Roll Morton’s Last Night at the Jungle Inn

Mark Childress

Crazy in Alabama (1993)

Pat Conroy

Beach Music (1995)
The Lords of Discipline (1980)
The Prince of Tides (2009)
South of Broad (2009)
The Water is Wide (1972)

Thomas H. Cook

Master of the Delta (2008)

Joe Coomer

The Decatur Road
Kentucky Love

Kathleen Coskran

The High Price of Everything: Stories

Elizabeth Cox

Bargains in the Real World: Thirteen Stories (2001)

Harry Crews

The Gospel Singer
The Hawk is Dying (1973)
The Knockout Artist
The Mulching of America (1995)
Scar Lover (1992)

Huston Curtiss

Sins of the Seventh Sister (2003)


Donald S. Davis

Thirteen Miles From Suncrest
Borden Deal
The Advocate
A Long Way to Go
The Loser
The Winner

Linda Dorrell

True Believers (2001)

Ellen Douglas

Black Cloud, White Cloud
Can’t Quit You, Baby
A Lifetime Burning
The Rock Cried Out

Andrew Dubus

Adultery and Other Stories

Andrew Dubus III

Bluesman (1993)

Elizabeth Nell Dubs

Where Love Rules (1985)

John Dufresne

Louisiana Power and Light (1994)

Julia C. Duncan

Halfway Home (1979)

Wilma Dykeman

Return the Innocent Earth

Clyde Edgerton

The Bible Salesman (2008)
The Floatplane Notebooks (1988)
In Memory of Junior (1992)
Killer Diller (1991)
Raney (1985)
Walking Across Egypt (1987)

Elena Yates Eulo

A Southern Woman (1993)

William Faulkner

Absalom, Absalom! (1936)
As I Lay Dying (1930)
Big Woods: The Hunting Stories of William Faulkner (1955)
Flags in the Dust (1929)
The Hamlet (1940)
Intruder in the Dust (1948)
Mosquitoes (1927)
The Reivers (1962)
Sanctuary (1931)
The Wild Palms (1939)

Edna Ferber

Giant (1952)
Showboat (1926)

Fannie Flagg

Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven (2006)
Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man (1981)
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe (1987)
I Still Dream About You (2010)

Richard Ford

A Piece of My Heart (1976)

Paula Fox

The God of Nightmares

Dorothea Benton Frank

Isle of Palms (2003)

Tom Franklin

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter (2010)

Ronald Friedland

Bringing It All Back Home

Ernest J. Gaines

The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman (1971)
A Gathering of Old Men (1983)
In My Father’s House (1978)
A Lesson Before Dying (1993)
Mozart and Leadbelly: Stories and Essays (2005)

Ellen Garwood

The Tune on the Stairs

William Gay

I Hate to See That Evening Sun Go Down: Collected Stories (2002)

Anne George

This One and Magic Life (1999)

Denise Giardina

Storming Heaven (1987)
The Unquiet Earth

Kaye Gibbons

Charms for the Easy Life (1993)
A Cure for Dreams (1991)
Ellen Foster (1987)
A Virtuous Woman (1989)

Reginald Gibbons


Ellen Gilchrist

The Annunciation (1983)
The Cabal and Other Stories (2000)
In the Land of Dreamy Dreams (1981)
Light Can Be Both Wave and Particle (1989)
Net of Jewels (1992)
Starcarbon (1994)

Ellen Glasgow

Vein of Iron (1935)

Gail Godwin

Dream Children
Father Melancholy’s Daughter (1991)
A Mother and Two Daughters (1982)
A Southern Family (1987)
Violet Clay (1978)

Judy Goldman

The Slow Way Back (1999)

Shirley Ann Grau

The Hard Blue Sky (1958)
The Keepers of the House (1964)
Nine Women: Short Stories
Roadwalkers (1994)

John Grisham

Ford County: Stories (2009)

Davis Grubb

Ancient Lights
The Night of the Hunter
Shadow of My Brother
The Siege of 318
You Never Believe Me

Alan Gurganus

The Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All (1989)
White People (1991)

Ben Haas

Daisy Canfield
Look Away, Look Away

Carolyn Haines

Summer of the Redeemers (1994)

Tom T. Hall

The Laughing Man of Woodmont Caves
Spring Hill, Tennessee

Barry Hannah

Bats Out of Hell
Boomerang (1989)
Geronimo Rex
Hey Jack!

William Hardy

The Jubjub Bird

M.A. Harper

The Worst Day of My Life, So Far: My Mother, Alzheimer’s, and Me (2001)

Stephen Harrigan

Jacob’s Well

Donald Hays

The Dixie Association (1984)
The Hangman’s Children

Cathy Holton

Beach Trip (2009)
The Secret Lives of the Kudzu Debutantes (2007)
The Revenge of the Kudzu Debutantes (2006)
Silas House
Clay’s Quilt (2001)

Susan Hubbard

The Society of S (2007)

William Humphrey

The Collected Stories
No Resting Place
September Song

Josephine Humphreys

The Fireman’s Fair (1991)
Rich in Love

Zora Neale Hurston

Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937)

Robert Inman

Dairy Queen Days (1997)

Joshilyn Jackson

Between, Georgia (2006)

Hunter James

All the Forgotten Places

Fenton Johnson

Crossing the River
Scissors, Paper, Rock (1993)

Todd Johnson

The Sweet By and By (2009)

Madison Jones

Last Things
Passage Through Gehenna

Hillary Jordan

Mudbound (2008)


MacKinlay Kantor

If the South Had Won the Civil War (2001)

Terry Kay

Runaway (1997)

Cassandra King

The Same Sweet Girls (2005)

John Knowles

A Vein of Riches (1978)

Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird (1960)
Go Set a Watchman (2015)

Julius Lester

And All Our Wounds Forgiven
Do Lord Remember Me

Katie Letcher Lyle

The Golden Shores of Heaven

Michael Malone

Handling Sin (1986)
Time’s Witness (1989)
Uncivil Seasons (2001)

Margaret Maron

Bloody Kin (1985)
Bootlegger’s Daughter (1992)
Shooting at Loons (1994)
Southern Discomfort (1993)

Catherine Marshall

Christy (1967)

Bobbie Ann Mason

Feather Crowns (1993)
In Country (1985)
Love Life: Stories (1989)
Spence + Lila (1988)

Donald McCaig

The Man Who Made the Devil Glad

Cormac McCarthy

Child of God (1973)
Outer Dark (1968)
Suttree (1979)

Carson McCullers

Collected Stories of Carson McCullers (1987)
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter (1940)
The Member of the Wedding (1946)

Dennis McFarland

Prince Edward (2004)

Larry McMurtry

Cadillac Jack (1982)
The Last Picture Show (1966)
Texasville (1987)

James Alan McPherson

Elbow Room: Stories (1977)
Hue and Cry: Short Stories

James Michener

Texas (1985)

Margaret Mitchell

Gone With the Wind (1936)

A.G. Mojtabai

Called Out
Ordinary Time

Robert Morgan

The Blue Valleys: A Collection of Stories (1989)

Phillip Quinn Morris

Thirsty City

Willie Morris

The Last of the Southern Girls

Katherine Mosby

Private Altars (1995)

Betty Palmer Nelson

Private Knowledge (1990)

Flannery O’Connor

The Complete Stories (1971)
A Good Man is Hard to Find (1955)
Wise Blood (1952)

Chris Offutt

Kentucky Straight (1992)

Michael Ondaatje

Coming Through Slaughter (1976)

T.R. Pearson

Cry Me a River (1993)
Gospel Hour
A Short History of a Small Place (1985)

Robert Newton Peck

Hallapoosa (1988)
The Horse Hunters

Walker Percy

Lancelot (1977)
The Moviegoer (1961)
The Second Coming (1980)
The Thanatos Syndrome (1987)

Jayne Anne Phillips

Machine Dreams (1984)
Shelter (1994)

Padgett Powell

A Woman Named Drown

Eugenia Price

Savannah (1983)

Reynolds Price

Blue Calhoun (1992)
The Collected Stories (1993)
Good Hearts (1988)
Kate Vaiden (1986)
The Promise of Rest (1995)
The Tongues of Angels (1990)

Howell Raines

Whiskey Man

Alice Randall

The Wind Done Gone (2001)

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

Short Stories by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (1994)
The Yearling (1939)

Sheri Reynolds

Firefly Cloak (2006)

Ann B. Ross

The Miss Julia Series
Etta Mae’s Worst Bad-Luck Day (2014)
Miss Julia’s Marvelous Makeover (2014)
Miss Julia’s School of Beauty (2005)
Miss Julia Delivers the Goods (2009)
Miss Julia Hits the Road (2001)
Miss Julia Inherits a Mess (2016)
Miss Julia Lays Down the Law (2015)
Miss Julia Meets Her Match (2004)
Miss Julia Paints the Town (2008)
Miss Julia Renews Her Vows (2010)
Miss Julia Rocks the Cradle (2011)
Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind (1999)
Miss Julia Stands Her Ground (2006)
Miss Julia Stirs Up Trouble (2013)
Miss Julia Strikes Back (2007)
Miss Julia Takes Over (2003)
Miss Julia Throws a Wedding (2002)
Miss Julia to the Rescue (2012)

James Salis

Salt River (2007)

Ferrol Sams

Run With the Horsemen (1982)

Eve Sandstrom

Death Down Home

Elise Sanguinetti

The New Girl

Mary Lee Settle

Choices (1995)
The Killing Ground

Fatima Shaik

The Mayor of New Orleans: Just Talking Jazz

Louisa Shivers

Here to Get My Baby Out of Jail

Anne Rivers Siddons

Downtown (1994)
Heartbreak Hotel (1976)
Homeplace (1987)
King’s Oak (1990)
Outer Banks (1991)
Peachtree Road (1988)

Verna Mae Sloane

Rennie’s Way

Lee Smith

Black Mountain Breakdown (1980)
Cakewalk (1980)
Fair and Tender Ladies (1988)
Family Linen (1985)
On Agate Hill (2006)
Saving Grace (1995)

Elizabeth Spencer

The Southern Woman: New and Selected Fiction (2001)

Judith Minthorn Stacy

Styles by Maggie Sweet (1999)

Anne Nall Stallworth

This Time Next Year

Kathryn Stockett

The Help (2009)

Penelope J. Stokes

Delta Belles (2006)

Harriet Beecher Stowe

Uncle Tom’s Cabin (DATE)

William Styron

The Confessions of Nat Turner (1967)
Lie Down in Darkness (1951)
A Tidewater Morning (1993)


Peter H. Taylor

The Old Forest and Other Stories
The Oracle at Stoneleigh Court (1993)
A Summons to Memphis (1986)

John Kennedy Toole

A Confederacy of Dunces (1980)
The Neon Bible

Jean Toomer


Steven Turner

A Measure of Dust

Anne Tyler

The Accidental Tourist (1985)
Breathing Lessons (1988)
Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant (1982)
Saint Maybe (1991)
The Tin Can Tree (1965)

Alice Walker

The Color Purple (1982)
In Love and Trouble: Stories of Black Women (1973)
Meridian (1976)
The Third Life of Grange Copeland (1970)

Robert Penn Warren

All the King’s Men (1946)
The Circus in the Attic and Other Stories

Manly Wade Wellman

Valley So Low: Southern Mountain Stories (1987)

Rebecca Wells

Little Altars Everywhere (1992)

Eudroa Welty

The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty (1980)
A Curtain of Green and Other Stories (1991)
Delta Wedding (1974)
Losing Battles (1970)
The Robber Bridegroom (1942)

David Westheimer

My Sweet Charlie (1965)

James Whitehead


James Wilcox

Miss Undine’s Living Room (1987)
Modern Baptists (1984)
North Gladiola (1985)
Sort of Rich

Janice Woods Windle

True Women (1993)

Thomas Wolfe

The Hills Beyond
Look Homeward, Angel (1929)
Of Time and the River (1935)

Stuart Woods

Chiefs (1981)
Grass Roots (1989)
Palindrome (1991)

Richard Wright

The Long Dream

Frank Yerby

Speak Now (1969)

Shay Youngblood

The Big Mama Stories (1989)

Ila Yount


John Yount

Thief of Dreams
Toots in Solitude
The Trapper’s Last Shot


813.08 Gib
New Stories by Southern Women (1989)

813.08 Gra
South by Southwest: 24 Stories From Modern Texas

813.08 Hay
Stories: Contemporary Southern Short Fiction (1989)

813.08 Rav
New Stories From the South: The Year’s Best (various years)

813.08 Sou
Selected Stories From The Southern Review, 1965-1985

Original printed booklist compiled February 1996 bwc | Adapted and expanded for the Web March 2011 sdc | Last updated November 2016 sdc