Alumna Publishes Debut Novel

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Emerging onto the literary scene with her debut novel, Dawn Major (’19), a graduate of Reinhardt University’s Etowah Valley Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Program (MFA), is captivating readers with her storytelling. Major is also making a difference by creating an organization dedicated to fostering and championing other authors within the southern writing community.

Major first attended Reinhardt to get an undergraduate liberal arts degree in 1994. Over two decades later, she learned of Reinhardt’s writing program, contacted Professor Bill Walsh, and enrolled. In 2018 she was a recipient of the James Dickey Review Literary Editor Fellowship and in 2019 she was awarded the Dr. Robert Driscoll Excellence in Writing Award, as well as Reinhardt University’s Faculty Choice Award.

As part of her creative master thesis, Major wrote The Bystanders. After graduation, she retained a mentor-mentee relationship with her instructors, “They continued to help. They read my manuscript. That’s special because you might not get that at a bigger university.” Earlier this year, The Bystanders was published by Moonshine Cove Publishing.

Set in the 1980s, The Bystanders chronicles the life of a family from Los Angeles, seeking to start a new life in a small, rural and ultra-conservative Missouri town. The family struggles to adjust and be accepted while overcoming poverty and the serious issues they face. Although this dark coming of age story is fictional, it was inspired by a real town Major once resided in and reflects some aspects of her life.

Major is currently writing another novel and a book  on artist and author William Gay and is an associate editor at Southern Literary Review. She is a member of the William Gay Archive and has helped edit and publish the late author’s works.  Major authors a blog called SouthernRead which has inspired her to create a non-profit of the same name. It serves to advocate for other authors and their works.

Her essays and short stories can be found in Well Read Magazine, Heavy Feather Review, Southern Literary Review, Georgia Gothic Anthology, Springer Mountain Press, Elder Mountain: A Journal of Ozark Studies, Five Points, and others.