ATHENS, Ga. -- The editor of a Cherokee newspaper, journalist Ralph McGill and a popular historical romance writer are among those in the running for induction into a new Georgia Writers Hall of Fame administered by the University of Georgia.
Two Georgia writers will be selected by the program annually. The honorees will join 12 authors -- from Flannery O'Conner to the author of the Uncle Remus tales -- already chosen as charter members of the new Hall of Fame, recently created to reflect the state's literary heritage.
Casting a wide net that has yielded both literary masters and popular writers, judges are still seeking nominations from the public on favorite state authors, living or deceased. The nomination period ends Oct. 1.
Martin Luther King Jr. already made the cut as a charter member for his essays and sermons, and Margaret Mitchell is also set for November induction for the international impact of her famous tome.
Among those in the running as noncharter members are Eugenia Price, best-selling author of historical romances; Elias Boudinet, the American Indian and classically educated editor of The Cherokee Phoenix; and the late Atlanta Journal/Constitution columnist Celestine Sibley. Mr. McGill, renowned Atlanta columnist and early defender of civil rights, has also been nominated.
The new Hall of Fame, conceived and administered by the University of Georgia's Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, should provide a link between the school's Georgia Room collections and the public, and renew interest in Georgia writers, according to organizers.
"We tend to look at the New York Times best-seller list and read from there," said Susan Landrum of the university libraries. "This is a way to recognize Georgia authors and for the library to have an outreach in the state."
Nominations also are being sought statewide at public libraries and schools. A board of judges -- with representatives from the Georgia Library Association, the Georgia Humanities Council and the University of Georgia Press, plus residents from throughout the state -- will make the final selections.
To be eligible, a writer must be a Georgia native or have produced significant or influential work while living in the state.
To nominate a Georgia author, visit the Hall of Fame's Web site: www.libs.uga.edu/gawriters.
The 12 writers already selected by judges for posthumous charter membership are:
Erskine Caldwell (1903-1987): Born in Macon, author of God's Little Acre and Tobacco Road. His books have sold 80 million copies and been translated into 43 languages.
James Dickey (1923-1997): Born in Buckhead. Best known for his novel Deliverance, he also received the National Book Award in poetry for Buckdancer's Choice.
W.E.B. DuBois (1863-1963): A professor at Atlanta University from 1898 to 1910 and again from 1934 to 1944. His works, including The Soul of Black Folks, were instrumental in the struggle for civil rights for blacks.
Joel Chandler Harris (1848-1908): Born near Eatonton. Best known for his "Uncle Remus" stories, he was a humorist, short-story writer, journalist and children's writer. He was among the charter members of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
John Oliver Killens (1916-1987): Born in Macon. Author of novels, plays and screenplays, he is best known for Youngblood, And Then We Heard Thunder and Cotillion. His works have been translated into more than a dozen languages.
Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968): Born in Atlanta. Author of Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story and Why We Can't Wait, he is best known for his essays, including Letter from the Birmingham Jail.
Sidney Lanier (1842-1881): Born in Macon. Known for his poems The Marshes of Glynn and Song of the Chattahoochee, he has been acknowledged as one of the South's best 19th century poets.
Augustus Baldwin Longstreet (1790-1870): Born in Augusta. Author of Georgia Scenes, he is considered a pioneer Southern humorist and recognized as one of the first portraitists of common Georgia.
Carson McCullers (1917-1967): Born in Columbus. A prolific writer, she authored The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Member of the Wedding and Reflections in a Golden Eye.
Margaret Mitchell (1900-1949): Born in Atlanta. A journalist and author, Mitchell is internationally known for her novel Gone With the Wind, which won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award for Fiction.
Flannery O'Conner (1925-1964): Born in Savannah. Regarded as one of the greatest short-story writers of the 20th century, her works won three O. Henry Awards for short fiction, the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award.
Lillian Smith (1897-1966): Although born in Florida, she lived most of her life in Georgia. One of the first Southern writers to take a stand against racism and segregation, Smith is best known for her novel Strange Fruit, which has been translated into 14 languages.
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