R221. Family, Race, and Freedom in the Old and New South

Room 206A, Henry B. González Convention Center, Meeting Room Level
Thursday, March 5, 2020
1:45 pm to 3:00 pm


Four Southern authors—three white women and one black man—use the power of fiction to cultivate empathy in three novels and one short story collection. Themes of courage, family, race, faith, freedom, and redemption flow through these stories set in Texas, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Virginia from the Civil War through present day. Their characters overcome obstacles dealt by fate and their own choices. Panelists will discuss the pleasures and problems of being Southern writers.

Outline & Supplemental Documents

Event Outline: AWP_2020_Event_Outline.docx



Susan Cushman is author of Friends of the Library, Tangles and Plaques: A Mother and Daughter Face Alzheimer's, and Cherry Bomb. She is editor of Southern Writers on Writing, A Second Blooming: Becoming the Women We Are Meant to Be, and The Pulpwood Queens Celebrate 20 Years!

Jeffrey Blount is the award-winning author of three novels. He is also an award-winning script writer and op-ed writer, published in the Washington Post, HuffPost, TheGrio.com, and others. He is the Emmy award-winning TV director of NBC's Meet The Press, Nightly News,Today, and The Chris Matthews Show.

Rebecca Dwight Bruff heard the story of Robert Smalls on a visit to South Carolina and was so captivated that she left her job and moved across the country to research and write his story. Bruff earned her BS in education (Texas A&M) and master and doctorate degrees in theology from SMU.

Johnnie Bernhard's debut novel, A Good Girl, was shortlisted in the Kindle Book Awards and a nominee for the PEN/Robert Bingham Prize. Her second novel, How We Came to Be was shortlisted for Best Fiction by the MS Institute of Arts and Letters. Sisters of the Undertow is set for publication in 2020.


March 4–7, 2020
San Antonio, TX

Henry B. González Convention Center