Tag Archives: Flannery O’Connor

Location, location, location!

This is Macon in the early 1900's... it has changed (some) since then. Now, everything is in beautiful Technicolor!

This is Macon in the early 1900′s… it has changed (some) since then. Now, everything is in beautiful Technicolor!

Where is the Crossroads Writers Conference?

This year, the conference returns to the Macon, Georgia campus of Mercer University. A lot has changed around the college since we were last there. Namely, the growth of Mercer Village, which features a great little coffee shop Jittery Joe’s, a Barnes and Noble, and some great places to grab a bite: Ingleside Village Pizza, Francar’s Wings, Margarita’s Mexican Grill and Fountain of Juice. Don’t forget the large and lovely Tattnall Square Park next door, so if you need a few minute to wander around and collect your thoughts, you can find solitude there. To find your way to Mercer University, just click here, hit “get directions” and type in your address.

Is there an official hotel for us to stay in this year?

Yep! The brand spankin’ new Holiday Inn North is the official hotel of the Wordy South. They have writer-friendly rates (get a great discount off their regular prices when you ask for the Crossroads Writers room deal), a great bar for after-hours hanging out and we’ll run a shuttle from the hotel to the conference to make sure you get where the other word nerds are.

Wait… where is Macon, Georgia?

Right smack dab in the middle of the state, about an hour and a half south of Atlanta and about three hours west of Savannah, conveniently situated on I-75 and I-16.

Macon native John Oliver Killens was a co-founder of the Harlem Writers Guild and the author of several novels, like "Youngblood" and "And Then We Heard the Thunder." Photo: Carl Van Vechten

Macon native John Oliver Killens wrote several novels, like “Youngblood” and “And Then We Heard the Thunder.” (Photo: Carl Van Vechten)

The cool part is that Macon has long been a little creative haven that has been home to a variety of writers, musicians, filmmakers and artists who have make a global impact with their work. We’re talking about John Oliver Killens, the Macon-born co-founder of the Harlem Writers Guild in whose honor the conference is named, and poet/musician/lawyer/soldier Sidney Lanier and novelist Tina McElroy Ansa, Joel Chandler Harris (aka – Uncle Remus) and former CNN president Tom Johnson  and Pulitzer Prize winner George Weller who settled in here after becoming the first journalist into Nagasaki after the atomic bomb was dropped.

We’re talking about Flannery O’Connor who would make the short drive over from Milledgeville, and about Alice Walker, who grew up in Eatonton and still has kin here. And, of course, we’re talking about Otis Redding, Little Richard, the Allman Brothers, James Brown, Lena Horne, Lucinda Williams and her poet daddy Miller Williams. We’re even talking about Mike Mills and Bill Berry of REM, Jason Aldean, Young Jeezy and Meiko. We’re talking about visits to the old cotton mills by Sherwood Anderson and the summer Tennessee Williams spent here, which inspired Big Daddy in “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.”

We could go on, but you get the drift, right? It’s a cool little place to come recharge your creative batteries.

Here are some links to help you learn more about Macon:

Macon Arts – Ovations365 

Macon-Bibb County Convention and Visitors Bureau

College Hill Alliance

Historic Macon

Gateway Macon

NewTown Macon

City of Macon

Bibb County

Main Street Macon

Crossroads 500: Starting in Central Georgia

Starting today, we’re launching the Crossroads 500, a list of the coolest writing people, places and things. Three times a week — usually Monday, Wednesday and Friday — every week from here until the end of the year, we’re going to share six new entries into the Crossroads 500.

The best part is that you can help us make it happen. Share your favorites by clicking here: Tell us who and what should be in the Crossroads 500.

It’s another way to help you get that story out of you and into the heads of the people who deserve it. But it’s also our way of shining the light on the folks who might otherwise be ignored.

And to kick things off, we’re starting our list in central Georgia, home of the Crossroads Writers Conference.

In no particular order, here we go…

Mercer University Press isn’t your traditional university press. Instead they specialize in Southern literature and books about Southern culture. That’s just one reason we like them so much. In addition to being good folks, they’ve been good partners with the conference, launching both their Macon poetry collection “Writing on Napkins in the Sunshine Club” and their writing awards for fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry. Follow them on Twitter and meet ‘em in person at Crossroads this October.

This year’s conference, our fifth, will be at Mercer University, a short walk to Jittery Joe’s in Mercer Village. This eclectic coffee shop was born and raised in Athens, Georgia, but migrated to Macon, lured by “the song and soul of the South.” Now, if you’re looking for a good local caffeine supplier–whether in Macon or Athens–this is the place to “get your story on.”

But what shall ye read over coffee? Ask Eric at the Golden Bough Bookstore in downtown Macon. Not only do they carry all the awesome stuff that the big box stores neglect, but many are “gently used” and he takes trade. Better still, his doors are almost always open to the creative community, whether it’s a noise punk band or someone’s first reading as a published author.

While you’re in Macon, don’t forget to stop by the Sidney Lanier Cottage for a visit. If you’re lucky, there’ll be a reading when you do. This former childhood home of poet, lawyer, soldier and musician Sidney Lanier has become a hub for central Georgia’s writing community. It also serves as the home of Historic Macon, a nonprofit that works hard to preserve the city’s historic houses and buildings.

If you liked that, gas up and head to Andalusia, about 30 minutes away in Milledgeville. This is the family farm where Flannery O’Connor lived, wrote and played with her pet peacocks. Many of her eccentric and thoroughly Southern characters were inspired by real folks in the area. Stop by a gas station there for a biscuit and listen in to the conversations being had.

That might just inspire you to pick up the pen and craft a little fiction yourself. If that’s the case, park your seat at Blackbird Coffee in downtown Milledgeville, grab some java and see what happens. Who knows, you start brainstorming with a student from our last Crossroads 500 entry in this installment, the creative writing program at Georgia College & State University, which publishes both the Flannery O’Connor Review and Arts & Letters. Faculty members Alice Friman and Allen Gee have both shared their knowledge at Crossroads before.

Crossroads 500:

Andalusia Farm

GCSU’s MFA in Creative Writing

Golden Bough Bookstore

Jittery Joe’s Coffee

Mercer University Press

Sidney Lanier Cottage