Joan Williams was a writer born in Memphis in 1928, and before her death in 2004, her first novel, The Morning and the Evening (1961), had been a finalist for the National Book Award. Robert Penn Warren and Joyce Carol Oates wrote admiringly of her novel Old Powder Man (1966). And another novel, The Wintering (1971) — inspired by Williams’ real-life relationship with William Faulkner early in her career — won the praise of Anne Tyler. Other of Williams’ works include two novels, County Woman (1982) and Pay the Piper (1988), and a short-story collection, Pariah and Other Stories (1983).
For more on that relationship, see Memphian Lisa C. Hickman’s William Faulkner and Joan Williams: The Romance of Two Writers (2006). (There are plans in the works for that book too to come out in an ebook edition from McFarland.) And for a biographical sketch of Williams’ life, a publication history, and bibliography, see Hickman’s useful overview at The Mississippi Writers Page.
If you haven’t read Joan Williams, now would be the time. As Grace Srinivasiah of Open Road wrote in an email, “We hope that the release of Joan Williams’ ebooks will not only continue to preserve her legacy, but also introduce Williams to a new generation of readers who are not familiar with this often overlooked author.”
Go to Open Road’s website for more information on the Joan Williams collection. The website also make it easy to order from a number of outlets, including Amazon, iTunes, and Google Play. •