Georgia Writers Hall of Fame events set for Sunday, Monday

November 6, 2013 – 11:03 AM

The 2013 Georgia Writers Hall of Fame celebration begins Nov. 10, with a reading from Georgia’s poet laureate Judson Mitcham at 4 p.m. in the auditorium of the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries. Mitcham and the late Toni Cade Bambara will be inducted into the Hall of Fame Nov. 11 at 10 a.m.

Following Mitcham’s reading, a reception and the opening of an exhibit featuring Mitcham’s and Bambara’s work will begin at 5:15 p.m. The exhibit will be on display through the end of the year.

Parking is available in the Hull Street Parking Deck, adjacent to the library, on Sunday. Attendees are asked to park in the Tate Center Parking Deck on Lumpkin Street to attend the Monday ceremony. Shuttles will be provided between the deck and the library.

The events are part of the Spotlight on the Arts at UGA (

Mitcham, a poet and novelist — the only two-time winner of the Townsend Prize for Fiction – was not formally trained as a writer; he earned his doctorate in psychology at the University of Georgia and spent his career as a psychology professor at Fort Valley State University where he taught for 30 years. His debut novel, The Sweet Everlasting (1996), and the subsequent Sabbath Creek (2004) and A Little Salvation (2007), were published by the UGA Press.  He also twice has been given the Georgia Author of the Year Award, for his first novel and Somewhere in Ecclesiastes (1991) a sequence of poems called both poignant and powerful.

“In his novels and his poetry, Mitcham’s elegiac voice looks backward with fondness and discernment on a personal and regional past slipping rapidly beyond reach,” said Hugh Ruppersburg, interim vice provost and senior associate dean of the UGA Franklin College of Arts and Sciences.

Toni Cade Bambara is well-known for her teaching and community service, in addition to her award-winning writing which focused on African American culture. Her first novel, The Salt Eaters, won the 1981 American Book Award and the Langston Hughes Society Award.

Born in New York City, Bambara lived in Atlanta for several stints in her career, including being writer in residence at Spelman College (1978-79), visiting professor in Afro-American Studies at Emory University (1975) and instructor at Atlanta University (1979). She died in 1995.

Bambara did not separate civil rights from the fight for women’s equality. In 1970, she published The Black Woman, an anthology that made connections between the two struggles and included fiction, non-fiction and poetry by such writers as Nikki Giovanni, Alice Walker and Bambara herself.

The Georgia Writers Hall of Fame is administered by the University of Georgia’s Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, which holds the most comprehensive collection of books by Georgians in existence along with the papers of many Georgia writers.

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