Olympia Vernon born in Bogalusa, Louisiana (May 22, 1973) is an exciting young novelist known for her extraordinary originality of voice. This critically acclaimed author has written three books, Eden, Logic and, most recently, A Killing in this Town. Olympia has received several awards, including a Pulitzer Prize nomination for Eden. The winner of Louisiana's 2005 Governor's Award for Professional Artist of the Year, Olympia Vernon has taught creative writing at Southeastern Louisiana University.
Vernon received a Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice from Southeastern Louisiana University in 1999. She also earned a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Louisiana State University in 2002.
Olympia currently is the Hallie Brown Ford Chair of Creative Writing at Willamette University. Olympia Vernon has a degree in criminal justice and an MFA from Louisiana State University. She is a young blazing new talent in American literary arts and a unique offering in the speaking market.
Queer: A Novel (Vernon's next novel)
Queer tells the story of J.D. Foster, who is on trial for killing two boys, one white, one black in Ellis, Mississippi where there is a "bursting egg of homophobia." J.D. Foster, himself, can't seem to quell his desires for his childhood lover, Schevoski, whose absence has a lingering effect on Foster, particularly in his visits to the city of New Orleans where the "flashing red orb from the street" seems to haunt him.
A Killing in
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Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Grove Press (January 11, 2007)
Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.4 x 0.8 inches
The winner of the first annual Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence
Read a New York Times Book Review: A Killing in This Town by
Award-winning author Olympia Vernon's third novel, A Killing in This Town, is a taut, poetic masterpiece that exhumes a horrific epoch from the annals of the American South.
There is a menace in the woods of Bullock County, Mississippi, and not only for the black man destined to be lynched when a white boy comes of age. The white men who work at the plant are in danger, too, but they refuse to heed Earl Thomas's urgent message that the
factory is slowly killing them, turning a deaf ear to the black pastor. Thomas knows he should try to deliver the message again, but he hears the blood of his murdered friend calling to him from the ground, and fears that he will be the next black man to be dragged to his death. Adam Pickens, a white boy now on the eve of his thirteenth birthday, isn't sure he wants to wear the garb being readied for him by the Klan seamstress, or participate in the town's ugly ritual. It is only with the return of Gill Mender'a man haunted by past sins'that redemption seems possible. A transfixing and pivotal work of fiction, A Killing in This Town exposes the fragile hierarchy of a society poisoned by hatred, and shows the power of an individual to stand up to the demons of history and bring the cycle of violence to an end.
Format: Hardcover, 272pp
Pub. Date: May 2004
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc
A taut emotional powerhouse of a second novel about
an unusual young girl grappling with her burgeoning
adolescence, by an author whose writing The New York
Times Book Review called 'a startling reminder of how
forceful Southern magic can be'
After The New York Times Book Review raved that Olympia Vernon's first novel, Eden, was 'a startling reminder of how forceful Southern magic can be,' Vernon returns to the Deep South for the story of Logic, a young girl struggling to free herself from the unspeakable condition she refers to as 'the butterflies floating inside' her.
As a child Logic Harris survived a fall from a tree'an accident that precipitated her transformation into a young girl lost in her own world. Logic's mother has secretly wished that Logic had not survived, and she now ignores the increasingly apparent evidence of the aberrant attention Logic's father bestows upon his daughter in her adolescence. As her mother retreats into her work as a neighborhood midwife and Logic's father collapses into paranoia, Logic is left to navigate alone what she scarcely understands. In inspired prose, stunning in its imaginative authority, Logic is a chilling allegory about the dangers of silence and a searing portrait of a girl lost in shame and fear, and a family and community too scarred by their own wounds to save her.
Format: Hardcover, 272pp
Pub. Date: January 2003
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Edition Number: 1
Read the New York Times Book Review of Eden
'Daring [and] explosively supernatural. . . . [Eden is] a startling reminder of how forceful Southern magic can be. . . . The message is simple, though profound: love and death destroy difference, devouring us all. . . . Vernon's talent . . . is as green and growing as those country fields where her ghosts lurk.''Ann Powers, The New York Times Book Review
When fourteen-year-old Maddy Dangerfield draws a naked
woman on the pages of Genesis in fire-engine-red lipstick
during Sunday school, the rural black community of Pyke
County, Mississippi, is scandalized. Her mother, mortified
by the small-town gossip and determined to teach Maddy the
perils of her youthful intelligence, forces her from then on
to spend weekends caring for her estranged Aunt Pip, an
outcast who lives on the wrong side of town and is dying of
cancer. The lessons Maddy learns are ones that could not be
taught in any church.
Shuttling between the home she shares with her parents'endlessly locked in a cycle of resentment, violence, and only sporadic tenderness'and the house of tough, strong-minded Aunt Pip out on Commitment Road, Maddy feels her eyes gradually opening to the complicated dynamics that inform her world. As the once self-possessed, fiery Pip wastes away in body and spirit, Maddy is forced to confront the brutal finality of death and to contend with the ghosts that hover over Pyke County'the violated body of Laurel Pillar, a young white girl raped in the field years before; Uncle Sugar, the black man said to have Laurel's blood on his hands, in prison for life; Justice Bates, Sugar's alleged accomplice, his broken body strung up and hanging from a tree; and the community of dead and dying women who have been ravaged by disease, in whom Maddy finds a terrible sort of comfort.
In lush, vivid brush strokes, Olympia Vernon conjures a world that is both intoxicating and cruel, and illuminates the bittersweet transformation of the young girl who must bear the burden and blessing of its secrets too soon. Eden is a haunting, memorable novel propelled by the poetry and power of a voice that is complex, lyrical, and utterly true.
Venon is including om the following short story collections.