Author Janisse Ray On The Magic Of Books And South Georgia's Forests

Nov 7, 2019

Each year, The Georgia Writers Hall of Fame inducts new members to its growing list of authors who have made significant literary contributions to the state. This year’s inductees – John T. Edge, A. E. Stallings, and Julia Collier Harris – will all be celebrated at the University of Georgia Special Collections Library in Athens on Nov. 17.

Author Janisse Ray was inducted to the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame in 2015. Her expansive body of creative works range from nonfiction to poetry, and her memoir, Ecology of a Cracker Childhood, came out with its 15th anniversary edition last year.

Ray's work centers around her deep love of nature; specifically, the landscape of southern Georgia. She grew up on a junkyard in Baxley, and even though she opens her memoir with the statement that her homeland is “about as ugly as a place gets,” she’s now a champion for ecological preservation of Georgia’s southern forests.  

Ray shared that, as a child, books were “portals” for her to understand the world. Through her writing, she hopes to bring attention and awareness to the state of the natural world.

“My abiding hope … is that we all learn to look at nature, that we learn to honor it, to give it rights, and to live more sustainably on this beautiful, heartbreaking planet we live on,” she said.

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