Vanderbilt fiction writer Tony Earley has been elected a member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers. The news comes just a few weeks after the Fellowship of Southern Writers’ 2011 Hanes Award for outstanding literary achievement by a Southern poet went to Vanderbilt poet Kate Daniels.
The Fellowship of Southern Writers (FSW), founded in 1987 by a group of distinguished Southern writers, claims as its purpose to recognize and encourage literature in the South. FSW founding members included: Cleanth Brooks, Fred Chappell, James Dickey, Shelby Foote, John Hope Franklin, Walker Percy, Reynolds Price, Robert Penn Warren, Eudora Welty, and C. Vann Woodward.
The Fellowship is composed of 50 active members. To be considered for membership a writer must have been born and raised, or have resided for a significant part of his or her life in the South (or have written works that in character and spirit embody aspects of the Southern experience). Current members of FSW include: Madison Smartt Bell, Wendell Berry, Rita Dove, Gail Godwin, Allan Gurganus, Mary Lee Settle, Dave Smith, Eleanor Ross Taylor, Henry Taylor, and Charles Wright.
Earley has written four books, including two novels, Jim the Boy and The Blue Star, a short story collection, Here We Are In Paradise, and a collection of personal essays, Somehow Form a Family. His stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Story, Harper’s, Granta, Esquire, Witness and TriQuarterly; and they have been anthologized in New Stories from the South, The Scribner’s Anthology of Short Fiction, Best American Short Stories, among other collections. Named by Granta as one of the twenty best young American novelists in 1997 and by the The New Yorker as one of twenty writers to watch in the twenty-first century in 1999, Earley won a National Magazine Award for his short story “The Prophet from Jupiter” and the PEN Syndicated Fiction Award. He received his BA from the Warren Wilson College and his MFA from the University of Alabama. He is the Samuel Milton Fleming Professor of English at Vanderbilt.