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  • 7/17/2004

Elizabeth Spencer

(July 19, 1921_)

Elizabeth Spencer"s experiences as a Southerner, a world traveler, and a college-trained educator are expressed throughout her many works of fiction. Although Spencer has lived all around the world, she displays a Southern sensibility. She writes with imaginative dialogue, spirited narrative, and a well-defined sense of place in which all is the grand tradition of Southern writers.

Elizabeth Spencer was born onJuly 19, 1921 in Carrollton, Mississippi, to James Luther and Mary James McCain Spencer. In 1942, Spencer received a Bachelor"s Degree in English from Belhaven College in Jackson, Mississippi. Upon graduation, she attended Vanderbilt University where she received a Master"s Degree. Afterwards, Spencer taught for two years, first, at Northwest Mississippi Junior College in Senatobia, Mississippi; and then, at Belmont College in Nashville, Tennessee. She resigned from teaching to work as a reporter for the Nashville Tennessean. In 1946, Spencer abandoned the craft of the journalist for that of the novelist, and her first novel, Fire in the Morning, was published two years later. She has been a full-time writer ever since.On September 29, 1956, Elizabeth Spencer married John Rusher.


books include: Fire in the Morning (1948), This Crooked Way (1952), The Voice at the Back Door (1956), The Light in the Piazza (1960), Knights and Dragon (1965), No Place For an Angel (1967), Ship Island and Other Stories (1968), The Snare (1972), The Stories of Elizabeth Spencer (1981), and The Salt Line (1984).

Spencer has received many

awards and honors for her writing including a

Women"s Democratic Committee Award--1949;

National Institute of Arts and Letters Award--1953;

Guggenheim Fellowship Award- 1953;

Rosenthal Foundation Award, AmericanAcademy of Art and Letters --1956;

Kenyon College Fellow in Fiction -- 1957;

First McGraw-Hill Fiction Award--1960;

Bryn Mawr College Donnelly Fellow--1962;

Henry Bellamann Award for Creative Writing--1968;

D. L., Southwestern University--1968.

She also received writing fellowships to the Bread Loaf Writers" Conference--1951, Bryn Mawr --1963,University of North Carolina --1969, University of Indiana Summer Writer"s Workshop--1971, 1973, Hollins College --1973, and most recently the Award of Merit Medal for the Short Story by the American Academy of Arts and Letters--1983.

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