Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

Bowen Ingram (1904-1980)

Bowen Ingram was the pen name for Mildred Rebecca Prewett Ingram, who was born in Gordonsville, a town named for her ancestor, John Gordon. Always interested in writing, Ingram published her first poem at age 12. She married Daniel Taylor Ingram, Commandant of Castle Heights Military Academy in Lebanon, and began to write for publication…

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Randall Jarrell (1914-1965)

Two mysteries surround the life and career of Randall Jarrell: how he was able to accomplish so much in half a century, and whether or not his death at age fifty-one was accident or suicide. Born in Nashville, Tennessee, to Owen and Anna Campbell Jarrell, the family moved to California when Randall was only a…

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May Justus (1898-1989)

May Justus’s stories revolve around her mountain heritage and upbringing. Such stories as “The House in No-End Hollow” and “Dixie Decides” evoke the same rustic childhood that she experienced in rural Tennessee in the early 1900s. Justus was born on May 12, 1898, in Del Rio, Tennessee. Her father was a schoolteacher, and the family…

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Etheridge Knight (1931-1991)

Born in Corinth, Mississippi in 1931, and later moving to Paducah, Kentucky, Knight was one of seven children in a low-income family. Dropping out of school after the eighth grade, he soon realized there were few job opportunities for a young, relatively uneducated black man. His despair led him to drug addiction. In an effort…

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Andrew Lytle (1902 – 1995)

Before he became a novelist, Andrew Lytle spent his twenties on Broadway and studying drama at Yale. The theatrical presence he developed became his trademark feature. Friends and family would often gather around his cabin in Monteagle, Tennessee, just to witness his charm and listen to his anecdotes. One famous tale included Lytle riding an…

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Richard Marius (1933-1999)

Richard Marius, historian and novelist, was born in Martel, the son of a Greek father and a Methodist mother from Bradley County. Looking back on his childhood, Marius later identified three elements that contributed to his writing career: a love of the English language, the experiences of a vividly remembered childhood, and his profession as…

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