Literature and Authors

Entries - Entry Category: Literature and Authors - Starting with S

Salassi, Otto

Otto Russell Salassi was a librarian and writer best known for the young-adult novel Jimmy D., Sidewinder, and Me (1987). Salassi attended and worked at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) and lived in Fayetteville from 1974 until his death. Otto Salassi was born on October 2, 1939, in Vicksburg, Mississippi, to Walter Salassi and Ruby Lee Salassi. He served in the U.S. Air Force and worked as a mathematician at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California before attending Memphis State University, where he was awarded a BS in English and philosophy in 1967. He earned an MLS from Vanderbilt University in 1968 and worked as a librarian first at Bemidji State College in Minnesota (where he …

Schoolcraft, Henry Rowe

Henry Rowe Schoolcraft published the first written description of the Arkansas Ozarks’ geography, vegetation, wildlife, and inhabitants. His Journal of a Tour into the Interior of Missouri and Arkansaw, published in London, England, in 1821, is an account of a three-month exploration by Schoolcraft and one companion, Levi Pettibone. From November 1818 to February 1819, Schoolcraft explored land from Potosi, Missouri, southwest to the White River, northwest to near Springfield, Missouri, then south by canoe on the White River to present-day Batesville (Independence County), and finally northeast again to Missouri. Schoolcraft’s great-grandfather was a British soldier in New York in the early 1700s who settled with a German wife in Schoharie County, New York. His son John served in the …

Shakespeare Series

aka: Lily Bard Series
The Shakespeare series consists of five novels in the “cozy” crime genre by Charlaine Harris, who lived in Arkansas for many years. Shakespeare and Bartley, the fictional Arkansas towns where the novels are set, resemble several small communities in the state, and Little Rock (Pulaski County) and Memphis, Tennessee, are both referred to as conveniently nearby. Like other books in this genre, these novels do not focus on police procedure or the reasoning of a genius detective. Instead, a lay person, generally a woman, investigates and solves a crime, sometimes with the help of a police officer or other trained investigator. In order of publication, Harris’s Shakespeare novels are Shakespeare’s Landlord (1996), Shakespeare’s Champion (1997), Shakespeare’s Christmas (1998), Shakespeare’s Trollop …

Shaver, Richard Sharpe

Richard Sharpe Shaver was an American writer and “outsider” artist best known for his controversial stories known collectively as “the Shaver Mystery,” which were presented as nonfiction in science fiction magazines, most notably Amazing Stories. These stories, in which Shaver claimed to have discovered an ancient, sinister civilization in underground caves, led to Shaver Mystery Clubs and influenced many artists and writers, including Harlan Ellison and Phillip K. Dick. Shaver died in the Arkansas town of Summit (Marion County), where he had moved in the mid-1960s. Richard Shaver was born on October 7, 1907, in Virginia, but his family moved to Berwick, Pennsylvania, sometime before 1910. Little is reliably known about Shaver’s early life. According to Shaver, in 1932, while …

Sherman, Harold Morrow

Harold Morrow Sherman was a popular author and lecturer in the fields of self-help and extrasensory perception (ESP). Arkansas was his adopted home, where he lived for forty years and promoted community development in Stone County. Harold Sherman was born on July 13, 1898, in Traverse City, Michigan, the eldest of three sons of Thomas H. Sherman, a men’s clothier, and Alcinda Morrow Sherman. After briefly attending the University of Michigan, he joined the Student Army Training Corps during World War I. After the war, he moved to Detroit, Michigan, to work for the Ford Motor Company. There, he became reacquainted with a former classmate, Martha Bain, who was a nursing student. They were married on September 26, 1920, and …

Simon, Charlie May

Charlie May Simon is among the state’s most prolific major authors. Known primarily for her children’s literature, with just under thirty books and with numerous short stories to her credit, Simon had a long career writing for adults as well. Additionally, she is known as the wife of Pulitzer Prize–winning poet, John Gould Fletcher. Her work in the field of children’s literature has been honored in Arkansas since 1971 by the annual presentation of the Charlie May Simon Book Award. Simon was born Charlie May Hogue on August 17, 1897, not far from Monticello (Drew County), to Charles Wayman Hogue and Mary Gill Hogue. She was named after both her parents, according to Southern tradition. Her father, a tenant farmer …

Smith, P. Allen

P. Allen Smith is an award-winning designer, a nationally known gardening/lifestyle expert, and the host of two public television programs, P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home and P. Allen Smith’s Garden to Table, as well as the syndicated show P. Allen Smith Gardens. He appears frequently as a guest on such programs as the CBS Early Show and the Today show on NBC, and on the Weather Channel, sharing design and gardening tips with viewers. He is a contributor for a number of national publications such as Elle Décor, House Beautiful, Southern Accents, Southern Living, and Woman’s Day, and is the author of several bestselling books. Paul Allen Smith Jr., the oldest of four children, was born on March 12, 1960, …

Sorrells, John Harvey

John Harvey Sorrells was executive editor of the Scripps-Howard newspaper chain and former deputy director of the U.S. Office of Censorship during World War II. At the time of his death, the Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) native was well respected in journalism circles for his first-hand knowledge of the field and his warm, engaging personality. John Harvey Sorrells was born on March 31, 1896, in a one-story house on State Street in Pine Bluff, one of four children of Walter Bartlett Sorrells, who was a circuit judge, and Mary Iva Fletcher Sorrells. In 1886, his maternal grandfather, Reid Fletcher, launched and edited the Daily Graphic newspaper in Pine Bluff. As a high school student working part time, John Sorrells would …

Stanford, Frank

aka: Francis Gildart Stanford
Francis Gildart Stanford was one of the most recognized and prolific emerging poets of his generation until his suicide at the age of twenty-nine. Though all but two of his books remain out of print, his poems, which pitch startling and often surreal imagery against stark Southern landscapes, have sustained Stanford’s reputation and influence among poets who knew him during his lifetime and have ushered in a resurgence of admirers among a new generation of poets. Frank Stanford was born on August 1, 1948, on the Mississippi side of the Delta, was orphaned, and then was adopted in 1949 by Dorothy Gildart, who was single and the first female manager in the Firestone Corporation. In 1950, Dorothy Gildart adopted a …

Starr, Fred

Fred Starr was an educator, farmer, sometimes-politician, and writer who spent the second half of his life working in, observing, and writing about the Ozarks. He was best known for essays that were published in Arkansas and Oklahoma newspapers for more than thirty-five years. They were a mixture of Ozark folklore, often-funny stories of life in the hills, and his own homespun philosophy, told in unpretentious and conversational prose. Fred Starr was born in Waco, Georgia, on September 11, 1896, to William D. Starr, who was a farmer, and Alice Murphy Starr. He was the sixth of their nine children, with six brothers and two sisters, one of whom died soon after birth. He and his family moved to Oklahoma …

Stewart, Trenton Lee

Trenton Lee Stewart is a contemporary novelist and short-story writer. He is well known as the author of The Mysterious Benedict Society series, a trilogy of best-selling young adult novels. Described by Kirkus Reviews as “entertainingly quirky” and “hung about with cantrips to catch clever readers,” Stewart’s writing incorporates a cerebral playfulness, utilizing wordplay and mental puzzles that the reader is invited to solve along with the characters. The trilogy has garnered nationwide popularity among students and teachers alike. Additionally, his stories have been published in a number of literary magazines, including the Georgia Review, Shenandoah, the Virginia Quarterly Review, and the New England Review. The 2004 Best American Short Stories volume, published by Houghton Mifflin and guest edited by …

Stockley, Griffin Jasper

Griffin Jasper Stockley Jr. is an author, historian, and attorney known for his lifelong commitment to the cause of civil rights. Although Stockley has been honored over the years for his legal achievements, his books have garnered him the widest recognition. His five Gideon Page novels became popular in the 1990s. Noteworthy in their own right, his legal mysteries are also an outward expression of Stockley’s own personal and political beliefs. In 2001, he published a finely researched historical account of the Elaine Massacre, titled Blood in Their Eyes: The Elaine Race Massacres of 1919. In 2002 and 2010, Stockley was awarded the Booker Worthen Literary Prize. He has also received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Arkansas Historical Association. …

Street, James Howell

James Howell Street was a newspaperman and novelist who worked at the Arkansas Gazette in the 1920s and later wrote essays celebrating the state and the newspaper. James Street was born on October 15, 1903, in Lumberton, Mississippi, to John Camillus Street and William Thompson Scott Street (her actual name). Although his family was Catholic, he converted and became a Baptist minister after marrying Lucy Nash O’Briant, the daughter of a Baptist preacher, in 1923. After three children were born, he gave up preaching and became a newspaper reporter, first at the Pensacola Journal in Florida and then in 1926 at the Arkansas Gazette in Little Rock (Pulaski County). He was twenty-three when he went to work for the Gazette …

Stuart, Mary Routh McEnery

aka: Ruth McEnery Stuart
Mary Routh McEnery Stuart, working under the name Ruth McEnery Stuart, wrote a body of fiction and poetry based on the experiences she had in Arkansas, modeling characters, dialect, and even a fictional town on her interactions within the state. She was, both financially and critically, one of the most successful fiction writers of her time, and in recent years has been studied by feminist and social literary critics. Routh McEnery was born on February 19, 1852, (according to the date provided on her marriage license; though she may have been born as early as 1849). Her parents were Mary Routh Stirling and James McEnery, who was at that time the mayor of Marksville, Louisiana, where McEnery was born. In …

Sugar Lacey Series

aka: Sugar [Book]
aka: This Bitter Earth [Book]
Sugar Lacey, a fictional character created by novelist Bernice L. McFadden, is the protagonist in Sugar and its sequel This Bitter Earth. The two novels center on a brutal murder of a young girl in 1940s Arkansas and the personal redemption of Sugar, an emotionally broken prostitute with a turbulent past. The series is a story of acceptance with a backdrop of the segregated South. McFadden’s debut novel, Sugar (Dutton, 2000), introduced readers to the title character, Sugar Lacey. Most of the novel’s action takes place in 1955, but the story begins in 1940 with the brutal rape, murder, and mutilation of Jude, the young African-American daughter of Pearl Taylor in the small, mainly black fictional town of Bigelow. In …

Summer of My German Soldier

Bette Greene’s Summer of My German Soldier is a novel and a television movie set in eastern Arkansas during World War II. Both portray the Arkansas location, era, and characters realistically. Since the novel’s publication in 1973, it has remained a young-adult best-seller and is considered a classic of young-adult literature. In 1973, it was an American Library Association Notable Book, a National Book Award finalist, and one of The New York Times’s Outstanding Books of the Year; it also won the Golden Kite award. In 1979, the movie earned Emmy nominations for Outstanding Drama and Outstanding Writing. Esther Rolle won the Outstanding Supporting Actress Emmy for her portrayal of Ruth. Rolle praised Greene for her skillful, true-to-life characterization of …