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Instructional Resources

Series Info

Episodes: 6

Length: 60 min.

Grade Levels:
11, 12, Professional Development

The Arts


Signature: Contemporary Writers

See what it’s like to be a writer today through video portraits of six diverse writers, all with roots in the South — Bobbie Ann Mason, Ed McClanahan, Marsha Norman, George C. Wolfe, Lee Smith, and Barbara Kingsolver. The authors read from their own works and talk about their lives, their influences, their successes, and their failures. Students will gain insight into the writing process and learn creative strategies for turning their own experiences into compelling writing.

Episode Guide

1. Bobbie Ann Mason—Features her award-winning novels, In Country and Feather Crowns, and presents readings from her story collections, Love Life and Shiloh and Other Stories.

2. Ed McClanahan—Presents the exuberant humor and style of this writer’s work, including his sprawling novel, The Natural Man.

3. Marsha Norman—The work of this playwright ranges from the Pulitzer Prize-winning ‘night, Mother, a gritty urban drama, to the Tony Award-winning musical The Secret Garden.

4. George C. Wolfe—This Tony Award-winning playwright and director recently assumed leadership of the New York Shakespeare Festival/Joseph Papp Public Theater. His Broadway credits include The Colored Museum, Jelly’s Last Jam, and Angels in America.

5. Lee Smith—The novels and short stories of this recipient of eight major writing awards provide insight into the people and culture of Appalachia. Includes analysis of Fair and Tender Ladies and other works.

6. Barbara Kingsolver—Includes analysis of her critically acclaimed novels The Bean Trees, Animal Dreams, and Pigs in Heaven, which reflect her concern for many social and political causes.

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