English Professor Dr. David A. Davis Awarded 2018 Eudora Welty Prize

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David Davis Welty Prize

MACON – Dr. David A. Davis, associate professor of English at Mercer University, was awarded the Eudora Welty Prize during the 30th annual Eudora Welty Writers’ Symposium held Oct. 18-20 at Mississippi University for Women.

Dr. Davis won the prize – which honors an outstanding book of scholarship on women’s studies, Southern studies, modern letters or some combination of these areas – for his book World War I and Southern Modernism, published by University Press of Mississippi last November.

“Mississippi University for Women and University Press of Mississippi were very pleased to award David A. Davis the Eudora Welty Prize for 2018,” said Dr. Kendall Dunkelberg, director of the Eudora Welty Writers’ Symposium. “His study, World War I and Southern Modernism, is a solid work of scholarship and is particularly timely this year, given the centenary of the end of that war. Davis’s presentation was highly informative and accessible and was well received at the symposium.”

Pinpointing World War I as the catalyst, Dr. Davis argues Southern modernism was not a self-generating outburst of writing, but a response to the disruptions modernity generated in the region. He examines dozens of works of literature by writers, including William Faulkner, Ellen Glasgow and Claude McKay, that depict the South during the war.

Topics explored in the book include contact between the North and the South, Southerners who served in combat and the developing Southern economy. Dr. Davis also provides a new lens for this argument, taking a closer look at African-Americans in the military and changing gender roles.

At Mercer, Dr. Davis serves in many roles, including director of fellowships and scholarships, associate director of the Spencer B. King Jr. Center for Southern Studies, chair of the selection committee for the Sidney Lanier Prize for Southern Literature, faculty adviser to the Stamps Scholars Society and editor of the Malcolm Lester Phi Beta Kappa Lectures on Liberal Arts and Public Life.

Dr. Davis studies Southern literature and culture and teaches courses in American literature and Southern studies. He is currently writing a book on sharecropping and Southern literature and has published essays and reviews in numerous academic journals and edited or co-edited three books.

Originally from Butler, Georgia, Dr. Davis earned his Bachelor of Arts from Emory University and his Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Each year, Mississippi University for Women and University Press of Mississippi collaborate to present an award to honor the late short story writer and novelist Eudora Welty, who is the university’s most famous alumna. For more information on the prize, which was first awarded in 1990, visit www.muw.edu/welty/weltyprize.

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Kyle Sears