Successful Southern Writers Talk to Your Students!

In April 1996, authors from the first season of the KET series Signature -Bobbie Ann Mason and Ed McClanahan- spent an hour talking to students live via satellite about the writing process and how they earn their livings as writers. Students discovered what nurtured and inspired these successful authors, learned more about their daily work habits, and gained insight into how they turn ordinary experiences into novels, plays, and short stories.

In SignatureLIVE the writers took questions from callers as well as from a studio audience of high school and college students.

In 1995 Ed McClanahan and Bobbie Ann Mason also communicated with high school students on a computer bulletin board for Kentucky teachers. Read the transcripts of their conversations here.

Ed McClanahan on SignatureLIVE in KET studio

More about Signature, the series...

In its first season, which premiered in 1995, Signature presented hour-long, intimate profiles of the lives and careers of Kentucky authors Mason and McClanahan and playwright Norman. Tapes of these programs along with a teacher's guide are available by calling the KET Education Division at (800) 432-0951. The next season of Signature premiered in the fall of 1997, featuring two Kentucky natives: George C. Wolfe, a Tony winning playwright and director; and Barbara Kingsolver, a commercially and critically successful author of novels, poetry, and non-fiction. Virginia native Lee Smith, a bright and prolific author of novels set in her native Appalachia, rounds out the new season.

More about the authors...

Bobbie Ann Mason The dislocating pace of social change is reflected in Bobbie Ann Mason's novels and short stories, which are filled with both tragedy and quirky comedy. Mason visits her hometown, Mayfield, rich in the memories she has drawn on for her work. She discusses her award-winning novels, "In Country" and "Feather Crowns," and reads from her well-received story collections, "Love Life" and "Shiloh and Other Stories." The program includes an excerpt from the Norman Jewison film "In Country" as well as commentary from Roger Angell, the editor of New Yorker who encouraged Mason's early writing.
Bobbie Ann Mason on SignatureLIVE in KET studio
Ed McClanahan on SignatureLIVE in KET studio
Ed McClanahan

The humor and style of Ed McClanahan's work reflect his experiences growing up in Maysville and Brooksville and his "beatnik" years in early 1960s San Francisco. McClanahan reads from his critically acclaimed novel, "The Natural Man," which was compared to "Catcher in the Rye," and his autobiographical "Famous People I Have Known." The program includes excerpts from a film version of one of his short stories, "The Congress of Wonders."

The first season of Signature-Contemporary Southern Writers was funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, Kentucky Center for the Arts, and the Annenberg/CPB Project. The new season was funded by the Annenberg/CPB Project.

Questions? Call the KET Education Division at (800) 432-0951.

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