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Best Five Southern Writers’ Houses To Visit

September 18, 2013 6:00 AM

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Michael Farris Smith

Photo Credit: Chris Jenkins

Michael Farris Smith

Photo Credit: Chris Jenkins

Michael Farris Smith has been awarded the Transatlantic Review Award, Brick Streets Press Short Story Award, Mississippi Arts Commission Literary Arts Fellowship and the Alabama Arts Council Fellowship Award for Literature. He is a graduate of Mississippi State and the Center for Writers at Southern Miss. He lives in Columbus, Mississippi, with his wife and two daughters. His debut novel, Rivers, was published this month by Simon & Schuster, a CBS Company. You can find out more about Michael or Rivers by visiting: michaelfarrissmith.com or simonandschuster.com

Much has been made, and rightfully so, of Southern Writers and their ability to create a landscape and place. But what about their own places, the rooms they inhabit, the chairs they sit in to write, the windows they look out of across their own gardens, the bookshelves where they keep their own favorite novels and stories? Many Southern writers’homes have been transformed into literary museums as a way to carry on their legacy and provide insight into their writing life. Next time you’re making your way across the Southeastern states, take time to visit the homes of these five writers and discover what place meant to them.

Eudora Welty House

Photo Credit: Eudora Welty House

The Eudora Welty House
1119 Pinehurst St.
Jackson, MS 39202
eudorawelty.org

Eudora Welty lived in the Belhaven neighborhood of Jackson for years, and it was not uncommon for locals to knock on her door and talk books, or writing, or gardening. It was her family home for 75 years and it is the place where she penned all of her fiction and essays. The home is filled with photographs that Ms. Welty took, pieces of artwork and antique furniture. She loved gardening and often wrote about it and it shows in the surrounding yard and gardens. The home has been designated a National Historic Landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Related: Best Local Authors in South Florida

Fitzgerald Museum

Photo Credit: Fitzgerald Museum

The Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Home
919 Felder Ave.
Montgomery, AL 36101
fitzgeraldmuseum.net

Southern dynamo Zelda Fitzgerald and her husband F. Scott made Montgomery home for a brief time, from 1931-1932. The home was rescued from demolition back in the 1980s and now thrives not only as a museum of the famous literary couple, but also serves as a venue for book signings, art exhibitions, silent auctions and other gala events. The two-story home was built in 1910 and is a vibrant part of the literary and art community of Montgomery.

Carson Mcculler Center

Photo Credit: Carson Mcculler Center

The Smith-McCullers House Museum
1519 Stark Ave.
Columbus, GA 31906
www.mccullerscenter.org

The childhood home of Carson McCullers is located in a quiet, historic neighborhood in Columbus, Georgia. The home serves as a cultural and literary center and hosts events for both local school children and guests of the annual Chattahoochee Valley Writers Conference. Photographs of the author, first editions of her novels and other personal artifacts fill the rooms of the cozy home and give a sense of the modest, small town characters that came to inhabit her fiction.

Carousel Bar and Lounge

Photo Credit: Hotel Monteleone

Hotel Monteleone
214 Royal St.
New Orleans, LA 70130
hotelmonteleone.com

This famous literary hotel in the French Quarter was called home by such literary giants as William Faulkner, Truman Capote and Ernest Hemingway when they had extended stays in the Crescent City. These writers were such frequent guests that in 1999 the hotel was designated as a National Literary Landmark. Not only can you have coffee or a glass of wine at the hotel bar where these authors once mingled, but the hotel has specific suites named after these literary greats. In fact, the Carousel Bar & Lounge, the hotel’s famous bar, is immortalized in Eudora Welty’s short story, “The Purple Hat.”

Tennessee Williams Welcome Center

Photo Credit: Tennessee Williams Welcome Center

The Tennessee Williams House and Welcome Center
523 Main St.
Columbus, MS 39701
www.thecityofcolumbusms.org

Tennessee Williams’childhood home serves as the welcome center for visitors to Columbus, Mississippi. Twenty years ago, the home was in danger of being torn down, but the city instead loaded it onto trailers and moved it several blocks to its current home on Main Street. The house has gone through several renovations and now houses Tennessee Williams’ photographs, playbills, and other artifacts. Also dubbed a National Literary Landmark, the home opens its doors during downtown events and is the starting point for the double-decker bus that carries visitors on the Columbus historic tour.

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Michael Farris Smith has been awarded the Transatlantic Review Award, Brick Streets Press Short Story Award, Mississippi Arts Commission Literary Arts Fellowship and the Alabama Arts Council Fellowship Award for Literature. He is a graduate of Mississippi State and the Center for Writers at Southern Miss. He lives in Columbus, Mississippi, with his wife and two daughters. His debut novel, Rivers, was published this month by Simon & Schuster, a CBS Company. You can find out more about Michael or Rivers by visiting: michaelfarrissmith.com or simonandschuster.com

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