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Southern Voices Guests 2018

Steve Berry

Former trial lawyer and Southern Voices alumnus, Steve Berry, is the New York Times #1 internationally best-selling author of more than 15 novels and four e-book originals.  Known for his historical thrillers, Berry’s latest is no exception. The Lost Order, the 12th Cotton Malone novel, tells the story of the Knights of the Golden Circle and is described by Barnes & Noble as an “expert melding of nail-biting political intrigue and fascinating historical mystery.”  With his wife, Elizabeth, Berry founded History Matters, a foundation dedicated to historic preservation. Berry was named spokesperson for the Alabama Library Association’s National Preservation Week in 2012 and 2013.  In 2017, Berry was honored as the Writer of the Year by the Florida Writers Association and was named a Literary Legend by the Florida Heritage Book Festival.  His next Cotton Malone novel, The Bishop’s Pawn, is due out in March 2018.

Taylor Brown

Taylor Brown is the author of three novels including Fallen Land, The River of Kings and Gods of Howl Mountain (March 2018).  Library Journal calls River of Kings an “intense, solidly written story of family loyalty, Southern traditions, and haunting historic landscapes.”  The story of two brothers traveling down Georgia’s Altamaha River to scatter their father’s ashes alternates with scenes from the river’s past in the 1560s and is praised by Kirkus Reviews as a “literary achievement . . . powerful in concept and execution.”

Kelly Grey Carlisle

Kelly Grey Carlisle is the author of We Are All Shipwrecks, a memoir of her unique upbringing and search for what happened to her mother who was murdered when she was three weeks old. In its starred review, Library Journal describes her debut work as an “exquisitely written tale of perseverance and unconditional love.” Carlisle currently teaches nonfiction writing at Trinity University and is the editor of 1966: A Journal of Creative Nonfiction.

Andrew Gross

Andrew Gross is the New York Times best-selling author of 14 suspense novels, including the recent World War II historical thrillers The One Man and The Saboteur. His latest, The Saboteur, is an espionage story based on the true story of the British and Norwegian raid that ended the Nazi efforts to acquire the atomic bomb. Known for his international best sellers including The One Man, One Mile Under and Eyes Wide Open, Gross is also the coauthor of five #1 best sellers with James Patterson.

Lisa Ko

Lisa Ko’s debut novel The Leavers tells the story of Polly, an undocumented Chinese immigrant who never returns home from work one day, and her son, Deming, who is adopted by a pair of well-meaning white professors and renamed Daniel. Winner of the 2016 PEN/Bellwether Prize and nominated for the 2017 National Book Award, Ko’s novel echoes today’s current events such that feels that the book is as “relevant as ever as the future of immigrants in America hangs in the balance.”


Paula McLain

Paula McLain is the author of the New York Times international best sellers, The Paris Wife and Circling the Sun. Known for her historical fiction, McLain’s latest novel Circling the Sun tells the fictionalized story of Beryl Markham, the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic from East to West. Filled with Markham’s adventures in Kenya in the 1920s as a racehorse trainer, the novel explores themes of freedom, independence, love and friendship.

Daren Wang

Daren Wang is the founder of the Decatur Book Festival, the largest independent book festival in the country now in its 12th year. The Hidden Light of Northern Fires is his debut novel and is based on the true history of the only secessionist town north of the Mason Dixon Line. Southern Voices alumnus Ron Rash calls it a “wise and timely book” while the Richmond Times-Dispatch praises it for “rais[ing] questions of race and gender and deliver[ing] an emotional knockout.”

Stephanie Powell Watts

Born in the foothills of North Carolina, Stephanie Powell Watts’s fiction explores the lives of African Americans in small towns in the post-integration South. Her first novel, No One Is Coming to Save Us was named one of the best books of 2017 by Entertainment Weekly, Bustle and The Chicago Review of Books. It was also chosen by Sarah Jessica Parker as the inaugural selection for the American Library Association’s Book Club Central. Often described as The Great Gatsby recast in the contemporary South, The Washington Post says that Watts has written a “complex novel that’s entirely her own.”


Lisa Wingate

Lisa Wingate is the New York Times best-selling author of 30 novels. Her latest novel, Before We Were Yours has garnered much political acclaim and has been touted by People as “a poignant, engrossing tale about sibling love and the toll of secrets.” Based on one of America’s most notorious real-life scandals, the novel tells the story of Georgia Tann, director of a Memphis-based adoption organization that kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country from the 1930s through the 1940s.

A History of Southern Photography


Opening Reception:  Tuesday, February 20 • 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.  Lecture by photographer Baldwin Lee • 6:00 p.m.
Theatre Level

The Do Good Fund, Inc. is a public charity based in Columbus, Georgia. Since its founding in 2012, the fund has focused on building a museum-quality collection of photographs taken in the American South since World War II. The collection ranges from works by more than a dozen Guggenheim Fellows to images by less well-known emerging photographers working in the region.

Do Good’s mission is to make its collection of over 500 images broadly accessible through regional museums, nonprofit galleries and nontraditional venues, and to encourage complimentary, community-based programming to accompany each exhibition.

Baldwin Lee taught photography at the University of Tennessee Knoxville for 32 years.  He received an undergraduate degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he studied with Minor White, and a graduate degree from the Yale School of Art, where he studied with Walker Evans.

Lee’s work in photography has been shown widely in such venues as the Museum of Modern Art in New York. His work has been recognized by the award of a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts.

“Baldwin Lee produced a body of work that is among the most remarkable in American photography of the past half century.”
~Time Magazine