November 15, 2010: Elizabeth Spencer, Belhaven alumna and world-renown author, is coming to visit on Friday, November 19th. The Creative Writing Department will host Spencer for an intimate and informal dialogue about her writing and about creative writing in general.
Elizabeth Spencer is the grande dame of Southern letters and one of Belhavens most accomplished graduates, says Dr. Randy Smith, Chair of the Creative Writing Department. It is a great honor and opportunity for us to have this esteemed writer and teacher back on campus.
In anticipation of this event Dr. Hubele, Chair of the English Department, gave a presentation on Spencer and her work on Thursday, November 11th. There are two almost perfect American novels, says Dr. Hubele. One is To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee; the other is Ms. Spencers The Voice at the Back Door, in which she wrote about social issues, injustices, and crimes that had occurred in her home town. For her to have written it at the time in American history in which she did - and only two years after graduating from Belhaven - is just amazing.
Spencer graduated from Belhaven in 1942 and attended Vanderbilt for a graduate degree in English. Since 1948, Spencer has published nine novels, seven short story collections (including the 2001 Modern Library collection, The Southern Woman), and a memoir (Landscapes of the Heart). She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and of the Fellowship of Southern Writers. Spencer has won many awards for her writing, including five O. Henry Awards, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts. A musical version of her novella, The Light in the Piazza, won six Tony Awards in 2006. Annually, Belhaven honors an outstanding Creative Writing student with an award named after Spencer - the Elizabeth Spencer Creative Writing Award.
Belhaven stands among the select Christian colleges and universities that offer a unique general core curriculum encouraging the development of a personal worldview. The university believes a Christian worldview is a key to preparing men and women academically and spiritually to serve Christ Jesus in their careers, in human relationships, and in the world of ideas.
Founded in 1883, Belhaven University now serves over 3,000 students from campuses in Jackson, Memphis, Orlando, Houston, and online, offering traditional undergraduate degrees, graduate and adult degree programs, and online degree programs.