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Georgia Writers Hall of Fame to Receive Humanities Award

The Georgia Writers Hall of Fame, begun by the University of Georgia Libraries in 2000, will receive a 2011 Governor’s Award in the Humanities Oct. 6 at an annual luncheon.

“We are delighted to learn that the Writers Hall of Fame will be recognized for fostering a greater appreciation of Georgia’s literary culture,” said Dr. P. Toby Graham, deputy university librarian.

The UGA Libraries established the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame to recognize Georgia writers, past and present, whose work reflects the character of the state – its land and its people.

The Governor’s Awards in the Humanities luncheon will be held at the Old Georgia Railroad Depot, according to Jamil Zainaldin, president of the Georgia Humanities Council. Also recognized at the event will be UGA English Professor Judith Ortiz Cofer, who was inducted into the writer’s hall of fame in 2010, and former Georgia Poet Laureate David Bottoms, inducted in 2009.

Calling the induction ceremony an “inspiring occasion,” history professor John Inscoe, editor of the New Georgia Encyclopedia, said the annual program is a very effective motivator to encourage people to “seek out and read these works.”

“I especially like the fact that the selection committee has always defined the state’s ‘writers’ in such broad terms – acknowledging the significance of the written work of people like Jimmy CarterW.E.B. DuBois, and Elias Boudinot – and this year, songwriter Johnny Mercer,” Inscoe said. “As such, the Hall of Fame is as vital a resource for promoting Georgia history and culture as it is for the state’s more traditional literary heritage.”

English professor Hugh Ruppersburg, senior associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, serves as moderator for an annual discussion among the authors prior to the induction ceremony and said events surrounding the observance bring “much deserved recognition to the state’s writing community” by making people aware of Georgia’s long-established literary culture.

“This culture is a valuable resource for which the state and its citizens can be proud. Through its activities, the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame calls attention to the many accomplished writers who have lived and worked in the state,” Ruppersburg said.

Peggy Galis, an Athens resident who is a member of the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame Board of Judges, said the hall of fame and its ceremony provide “fascinating insights” into the authors.

“The introductions of each writer at the induction ceremony, usually by an academic expert steeped in that writer’s work, is an education, as well as an astute, in-depth explanation of that writer’s importance,” Galis said. “The acceptance speech of each living writer is often a new piece of literature in and of itself.”

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