Call for Material and Important Question

We at Orchard Rest Writer’s Loft strive to review Southern fiction of varying genres and give you an idea
of what makes a worthy read. We advertise on social media as we are able, but we don’t receive many requests or suggestions. If you know of a work of Southern fiction that deserves credit, let us know. If you know someone who values Southern fiction the way that we do at the Loft, recommend this blog.

In order to access quality material and report back to our readers, we have to slog through quite a few books. For every post you can read about a deserving book, we have generally discarded 3-5 novels that don’t meet our requirements for recommendation.

Some are cliché.

Some novels beat the same tired ideas and fail to inject a fresh angle.

Some novels beat the same tired ideas and fail to inject a fresh angle.

Some are sadly stereotypical. I am very proud to say that the South consists of more than a campy cast of redneck soap opera characters. Listen to me: Vicky Lee does not always escape her wife beater-wearing husband to marry a rich plastic surgeon and fear her past will resurface while ironing out issues with her beautiful but rebellious daughter. This imaginary segment of the Southern population has been written to death. STOP.

This character is in 15-25% of books we handle. We'd be singing Frozen's "Let It Go" right now, but that would be cliché.

This character is in 15-25% of books we handle. We’d be singing Frozen’s “Let It Go” right now, but that would be cliché.

At Orchard Rest Writer’s Loft, we see the South in the face of a woman as she drops off the kids at soccer practice after a hard day as CEO. We see the South in a time worn index card with Mimi’s prized peach pie written on in it in a nearly indecipherable hand. We see the South in the face of an aged, bent woman who can tell us from first hand accounts the plight of her grandmother who was forced to do back-breaking work at the hands of people who bought her. We see the South in the faces of children hopping through a scorching August county fair with blue and pink cotton candy in hand. It is omnipresent in the lilt of a syllable lasting a hair too long, a look in the grocery store when you motion for the person who is holding five items to move on ahead of your $200 dollar cart, the press of a hand in sympathy at a funeral home visitation. We press on, we invent, we create, we coexist, we mourn, and we laugh. We are made of colorful, imaginative, intelligent, hard-working men and women. We confront our checked past with our hope for a beautiful future.

Our past is a myriad of diverse cultures, successes, mistakes, beauty, and art. It shouldn't be so hard to tell our great stories.

We don’t wish to see someone’s cartoonish creation of the South. We want to hear stories from Southern men and women who have truly lived the South and walk with it hand and hand–even when they reside in new areas of the country and even the world. We wish to uncover authors who are on a first name basis with the South and can uncover all the marvelous and terrifying stories that are hidden in the nooks and crannies of our everyday lives.

There's never a need to romanticize our mistakes, but there are lots of aspects of Southern life that few authors write about.

There’s never a need to romanticize our mistakes, but there are lots of aspects of Southern life that few authors write about.

In light of this, I ask you an important question: Would this blog be more compelling if we were to review all the books we read, good and bad?

Should we share the good and the bad?

Should we share the good and the bad?

There are worlds of stories to tell, but only a few are told. What do you think? Chime in!

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