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Escaping to rural Georgia through literary works

Updated: Sep 4, 2020

By Loren Lindler

Summer may be coming to an end, but why stop the summer reading now? We can all agree a good book is a key to escaping the real world. Some may even consider it a cheaper way to take a vacation. So, if you're an avid book reader, check out the list below to learn about some rural Georgia authors that will take you on the trip of a lifetime to a unique and exciting place - rural Georgia.

Janisse Ray

Born in Appling County in Baxley, Georgia, Janisse Ray grew up in a poor family, raised in a junkyard along Highway 1. Though tucked away in old cars, piles of rusted metal, and stacks of old tires, her upbringing grew into a passion to study the environment around her. An author, environmentalist, and reporter, Ray focuses on ecology and longleaf pine forests in her book Ecology of a Cracker Childhood.

In Wild Card Quilt, she tells of her journey moving back to Georgia, talking about the Okefenokee Swamp, and much of rural Georgia. Many describe her story as hilarious, heartbreaking, ambitious, and despairing. All the while, her works of art paint a picture of the landscape of south Georgia.

To learn more about Ray, her life in rural Georgia, and books, check out her website.

Terry Kay

Royston, Georgia lies in Franklin, Hart, and Madison counties, which is where novelist Terry Kay planted his roots. A few books, including his most well-known book, To Dance with the White Dog, and The Valley of Light, were also made into Hallmark Hall of Fame television movies.

Kay has been a sportswriter, and film and theater reviewer for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, among many other titles. His recent release, The Forever Wish of Middy Sweet, tells of a wealthy widow who returns to her hometown in northeast Georgia in search of her youth. A story of a former beauty queen and a retired history teacher reuniting 50 years after her vow, Kay depicts a small-town love triangle in rural Georgia.

You can get a taste of rural Georgia in many of his books by visiting his website to learn more.

Bailey White

Grady County is home to many wonderful things, including authors, and Bailey White is no exception. Along with being a storyteller, White is a commentator for the National Public Radio program All Things Considered. Some say she has a talent for portraying the unusual personalities of people in the rural south with a gentle wit.

White proves to be very popular with the National Public Radio audience, as well as in her own audience. Readers can find four published books, including Mama Makes Up Her Mind, Sleeping at the Starlite Motel, Quite a Year for Plums, and Nothing with Strings. Her collection of stories gives a glimpse into her life living in rural Georgia.

To learn more about White, you can check out her biography on the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame website.

Thank you to the team at The Bookshelf in Thomasville, Georgia. If you're an avid book lover, be sure to check them out for all of your reading needs.

Do you know of any authors in rural Georgia? Share your favorite authors with us by sending us an email or messaging us on Facebook!


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