Caroline Pafford Miller
August 26, 1903
Waycross, Georgia, US
|Died||July 12, 1992 88) (aged|
Waynesville, North Carolina
|Resting place||Green Hill Cemetery, Waynesville, North Carolina|
|Notable works||Lamb in His Bosom , 1934|
|Notable awards|| Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, 1934|
Prix Femina Americain, 1935
|Spouses||William D. Miller|
Clyde H. Ray Jr.
Caroline Pafford Miller (August 26, 1903 – July 12, 1992) was an American novelist. She gathered the folktales, stories, and archaic dialects of the rural communities she visited in her home state of Georgia in the late 1920s and early 1930s, and wove them into her first novel, Lamb in His Bosom , for which she won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1934, and the French literary award, the Prix Femina Americain in 1935. Her success as the first Georgian winnerof the fiction prize inspired Macmillan Publishers to seek out more southern writers, resulting in the discovery of Margaret Mitchell, whose first novel, Gone with the Wind , also won a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1937. Miller's story about the struggles of nineteenth-century south Georgia pioneers found a new readership in 1993 when Lamb in His Bosom was reprinted, one year after her death. In 2007, Miller was inducted into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame.
Caroline Pafford was born on August 26, 1903, in Waycross, Georgia, to Elias Pafford and Levy Zan (Hall) Pafford.She was the youngest of seven children. Her father was a Methodist minister and schoolteacher, who died while she was in middle school. Her mother died during Caroline's junior year of high school. During the remaining years of school, she was raised by her older sisters.
In her high school years, Caroline expressed an interest in writing and in the performing arts. She never attended college. After graduating from high school she married William D. Miller,who was her English teacher, and moved to Baxley, Georgia, in the late 1920s, where her husband ultimately became superintendent of schools in the Baxley area. William Miller introduced Caroline to classical literature, and she would later say that "he was my college". The couple had three sons, two of whom were twins. During her early years of marriage, while raising her children and performing her domestic duties, Miller wrote short stories, an activity first begun in high school. The stories were well received, and the small amounts she was paid supplemented the family income.
Miller gathered much of the material for Lamb in His Bosom while she was buying chickens and eggs tens of miles in the backwoods.She recorded her local research and genealogy in a notebook while she traveled throughout rural south Georgia. Miller gathered folktales and family oral histories, as well as idiomatic expressions which would eventually color the text of her novel. Her initial work was done when "returning to Baxley, she would go to Barnes Drugstore, order a Coca-Cola, and write down the stories she had heard on the day's trip"; then she would slowly flesh out her novel in the quiet hours of the evening on her kitchen table. While stories from the backwoods became part of the fabric of her novel, Miller also drew upon the inspiring tales of the pioneer women in her own family history.
Upon completion of the novel, Miller began looking for a publisher. During this search, she met former Pulitzer Prize winner Julia Peterkin, who read and then forwarded Miller's manuscript for Lamb in His Bosom to her own agent. Harper published the book in 1933.
Lamb in His Bosom is a story about the struggles of poor white pioneers, in the Wiregrass Region of nineteenth-century southern Georgia.Upon publication, literary critics embraced the work, describing it as "regional historical realism". The New York Times' critic Louis Kronenberger said the novel "has a wonderful freshness about it; not simply the freshness of a new writer, but the freshness of a new world. It all seems to have happened far away and long ago, yet Mrs. Miller has caught it roundly here and made it in its small way imperishable". It has been described as "one of the most critically acclaimed first novels of the Southern Renaissance period".
The Pulitzer Prize for Fiction was awarded to her at Columbia University on May 7, 1934. Addressing the audience, Miller said that "she felt like Cinderella and that the success of her book seemed like a fairy tale".Upon her return to Baxley, she was greeted by a crowd of 2,500 and a marching band, which escorted her back to her home. Margaret Mitchell wrote to Miller, saying: "Your book is undoubtedly the greatest that ever came out of the South about Southern people, and it is my favorite book". In 1935, Miller was also honored with a French literary award, the Prix Femina Americain.
Author Finis Farr said that after Miller's novel won the Pulitzer, Macmillan Publishers sent editor Harold S. Latham south, on a scouting trip for more southern authors. He famously found Margaret Mitchell and subsequently published Gone with the Wind .
The newfound celebrity, that both complimented and burdened the new Pulitzer Prize winner, proved stressful for the rural Georgia school superintendent and his wife. The obligations and attention imposed upon Caroline were incompatible with the quiet, simple, existence that she and William had enjoyed prior to her fame. The Millers divorced in 1936. Caroline remarried one year later to Clyde H. Ray Jr., an antique dealer and florist. She moved with him to the town of Waynesville in North Carolina, where Caroline worked in the family business while continuing to write short stories and articles for newspapers and magazines, such as Pictorial Review and Ladies' Home Journal .They had one daughter and a son.
In 1944, Miller finished her second novel, Lebanon, which garnered mixed reviews from the critics. Although constructed along the lines of her earlier work, set in rural Georgia, the new novel had a romantic storyline which was criticized as being awkward and unrealistic.
After her second husband died, Miller moved to a remote mountain home. It was described as "so remote that visitors had to drive through a cow pasture taking care to close a maze of gates behind them".In the decades that followed, Miller continued to write, completing several manuscripts. But she never sought to publish them. For the most part, she lived a quiet, private life in her rural western North Carolina home.
On July 12, 1992, Miller died in Waynesville, North Carolina, at the age of 88. She is buried in Green Hill Cemetery.She was survived by her daughter, and three of her four sons. Her first novel regained popularity a year after her death when Peachtree Publishers (Atlanta) reprinted Lamb in His Bosom with a new afterword from historian Elizabeth Fox-Genovese. By Miller's own definition, she had achieved the greatest award given a novelist: "the knowledge that after he dies he will leave the best part of himself behind".
Miller was honored when named into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame.In 1991, the city of Baxley honored her with Caroline Miller Day.
Alice Walker is an American novelist, short story writer, poet, and social activist. In 1982, she wrote the novel The Color Purple, for which she won the National Book Award for hardcover fiction, and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. She also wrote the novels Meridian (1976) and The Third Life of Grange Copeland (1970). An avowed feminist, Walker coined the term womanist to mean "A black feminist or feminist of color" in 1983.
The Pulitzer Prize for Fiction is one of the seven American Pulitzer Prizes that are annually awarded for Letters, Drama, and Music. It recognizes distinguished fiction by an American author, preferably dealing with American life, published during the preceding calendar year. As the Pulitzer Prize for the Novel, it was one of the original Pulitzers; the program was inaugurated in 1917 with seven prizes, four of which were awarded that year.
Carol Ann Shields, was an American-born Canadian novelist and short story writer. She is best known for her 1993 novel The Stone Diaries, which won the U.S. Pulitzer Prize for Fiction as well as the Governor General's Award in Canada.
Baxley is a city in Appling County, Georgia, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 4,400. The city is the county seat of Appling County.
Eudora Alice Welty was an American short story writer and novelist who wrote about the American South. Her novel The Optimist's Daughter won the Pulitzer Prize in 1973. Welty received numerous awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Order of the South. She was the first living author to have her works published by the Library of America. Her house in Jackson, Mississippi, has been designated as a National Historic Landmark and is open to the public as a house museum.
Jane Smiley is an American novelist. She won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1992 for her novel A Thousand Acres (1991).
Donna Tartt is an American writer, the author of the novels The Secret History (1992), The Little Friend (2002), and The Goldfinch (2013). Tartt won the WH Smith Literary Award for The Little Friend in 2003 and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for The Goldfinch in 2014. She was included in Time magazine's "100 Most Influential People" list, compiled in 2014.
Alice McDermott is an American writer and university professor. For her 1998 novel Charming Billy she won an American Book Award and the U.S. National Book Award for Fiction.
Lydia Millet is an American novelist. Her third novel, My Happy Life, won the 2003 PEN Center USA Award for Fiction, and she has been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Salon wrote of Millet's work, "The writing is always flawlessly beautiful, reaching for an experience that precedes language itself."
Caroline Ferguson Gordon was a notable American novelist and literary critic who, while still in her thirties, was the recipient of two prestigious literary awards, a 1932 Guggenheim Fellowship and a 1934 O. Henry Award.
Waycross High School was a high school in the city of Waycross, Georgia, United States. In 1993, the Waycross School Board dissolved its charter and was absorbed by the Ware County School System. As a result, Ware County was able to keep a large grant it had been promised, with which to build a much bigger Ware County Senior High school.
Junot Díaz is a Dominican-American writer, creative writing professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and fiction editor at Boston Review. He also serves on the board of advisers for Freedom University, a volunteer organization in Georgia that provides post-secondary instruction to undocumented immigrants. Central to Díaz's work is the immigrant experience, particularly the Latino immigrant experience.
Julia Peterkin was an American author from South Carolina. In 1929 she won the Pulitzer Prize for Novel/Literature, for her novel Scarlet Sister Mary. She wrote several novels about the plantation South, especially the Gullah people of the Low Country. She was one of the few white authors who wrote about the African-American experience.
Margaret Wilhelmina Wilson was an American novelist. She was awarded the 1924 Pulitzer Prize for The Able McLaughlins.
The following are the Pulitzer Prizes for 1934:
Laila Lalami is a Moroccan-American novelist, essayist, and professor. After earning her Licence ès Lettres degree in Morocco, she received a fellowship to study in the United Kingdom (UK), where she earned an MA in linguistics.
Lamb in His Bosom is a 1933 novel by Caroline Miller. It won the Pulitzer Prize for the Novel in 1934. It also won the Prix Femina in 1934 and became an immediate best-seller. Many names and historical parts of this book were contributed by William Avery McIntosh, of Mt. Pleasant, Wayne County, Georgia. His only child, a daughter, is still living in Northeast Georgia.
Mary Hood is an award-winning fiction writer of predominantly Southern literature, who has authored three short story collections – How Far She Went,And Venus is Blue and A Clear View of the Southern Sky – two novellas – And Venus is Blue and Seam Busters – and a novel, Familiar Heat. She also regularly publishes essays and reviews in literary and popular magazines.
A Visit from the Goon Squad is a 2011 Pulitzer Prize-winning work of fiction by American author Jennifer Egan. The book is a set of thirteen interrelated stories with a large set of characters all connected to Bennie Salazar, a record company executive, and his assistant, Sasha. The book centers on the mostly self-destructive characters, who, as they grow older, are sent in unforeseen, and sometimes unusual, directions by life. The stories shift back and forth in time from the 1970s to the present and into the near future. Many of the stories take place in and around New York City, although other settings include San Francisco, Italy, and Kenya.
Green Hill Cemetery is a historic cemetery located in Waynesville, North Carolina, where the town's first doctors, lawyers, politicians, preachers, and business people are buried. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The cemetery is owned and operated by the Town of Waynesville.