ATHENS, Ga. – Olive Ann Burns, Mary Hood and Alfred Uhry are the newest members of the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame, to be inducted in Fall 2014.
Burns, who died in 1990, was a journalist who penned her first novel, “Cold Sassy Tree,” at age 60 after a cancer diagnosis. She was hired by the Atlanta newspapers after graduating with a journalism degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and spent a decade as a writer there and also for The Atlanta Journal Magazine and its legendary editor Angus Perkerson. After marrying fellow journalist Andrew Sparks, she continued writing as a freelancer.
Drawing from family history, Burns spent more than eight years writing “Cold Sassy Tree,” consulting relatives, friends, books and newspapers about events at the turn of the century.
Hood’s first collection of short stories, “How Far She Went,” won the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction and the Southern Review / Louisiana State University Short Fiction Award in 1984. Two years later her second collection, “And Venus is Blue,” picked up the Townsend Prize for Fiction, the Dixie Council of Authors and Journalists Author-of-the-Year Award, and the Lillian Smith Book Award. Stories from both collections have been widely anthologized.
Best known as a short story writer, Hood continues to write reviews and essays and a novel, “Familiar Heat,” was published in 1995.
Uhry has won a Pulitzer Prize, an Academy Award, and several Tony Awards for his work—the only playwright to win all three awards. He is best known for “Driving Miss Daisy,” set in Atlanta and based on Uhry’s grandmother and her driver, which was awarded the Pulitzer for drama. Uhry’s first theatrical success was the adaptation of Eudora Welty’s “The Robber Bridegroom” into a musical, earning himself a Tony Award.
Uhry grew up in Atlanta in a Jewish family and much of his work draws on that heritage.
The three were elected to the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame by a board of judges appointed by the University of Georgia librarian and which includes academics, civic leaders, and librarians, the heads of the University of Georgia Press and The Georgia Review, and recent Hall of Fame inductees.
The Georgia Writers Hall of Fame began in 2000 at 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.
A date for the 2014 induction ceremony has not been set. For more information: http://www.georgiawritershalloffame.org/
Biographical information for this article comes from the New Georgia Encyclopedia: http://georgiaencyclopedia.org