The Richard Beale Davis Award

book-coverThe Richard Beale Davis Award for Distinguished Lifetime Service to Southern Letters is awarded every other year at the biennial conference of the Society for the Study of Southern Literature. The Award honors a writer or scholar who has made distinguished lifetime contributions to southern letters. The award is named after the Society’s first president, Richard Beale Davis, who served in that position from 1969-1970. Davis’s important scholarship about life and literature in the colonial and antebellum South resulted in a number of notable studies, including the three-volume Intellectual Life in the Colonial South, 1585-1763 (1978), which received the National Book Award for History in 1979.

Ernest J. Gaines, author of The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman (1971), A Lesson before Dying (1993), and other widely-respected works of fiction, received the first Richard Beale Davis Award in 2002. Winners of the award attend and give a reading at the biennial SSSL conference.

Richard Beale Davis Award Winners

2020    Thadious Davis

2018    Trudier Harris

2016    Patricia Yaeger; Lee Smith

2014    Fred Hobson

2010    Peggy Whitman Prenshaw

2008    M. Thomas Inge

2006    Ellen Douglas

2004    Louis D. Rubin, Jr.

2002    Ernest Gaines