Lynne Bryant

Lynne Bryant, Author, Alligator Lake, Catfish AlleyAs a writer, many of my stories come from my upbringing in rural Mississippi, where my maternal grandparents farmed cotton and my mother is one of their fifteen children. I grew up during the era of the Civil Rights Movement and came of age during the volatile integration of Mississippi’s schools. I attended nursing school at Mississippi University for Women, and then went on to complete both a masters in nursing from Ole Miss and a PhD in nursing from the University of Colorado. I now teach nursing full-time in Colorado, but the home of my heart will always be Mississippi.

I came to writing later in life, finally allowing myself to unleash a love of storytelling and a lifetime of struggling to understand the complex race relations in Mississippi. My stories tackle issues most Southerners can identify with, and, like me, have struggled to understand. My debut novel, Catfish Alley, will be released by NAL/Penguin in spring 2011. Contemporary stories defined by the context of Southern history continue to intrigue me as I work on my second novel. Writing is my way to wrestle with what I can’t explain and I am compelled to do that through the voices and stories of the American South.

22 Responses to “Lynne Bryant”

  1. Jamie Cheek says:

    I live in Nettleton, MS which is about 50 miles north of Columbus, MS. My college friend that lives in Greenville, MS told me I must read your book. I went to Barnes and Noble in Tupelo and got it that day. I loved loved loved it!!!!!!!!!! It is one of those “can’t put down” books and I am patiently waiting for Alligator Lake to come out next month. I am a big reader so please keep on writing!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Jamie Cheek

  2. Jonilee Wells says:

    I just wanted to say how much I loved reading this book! It really touched my heart and brought me to tears. I cannot wait to read Alligator Lake. Please keep on writing and we will keep on reading.

    Jonilee

  3. Mary Ellen Beadel says:

    I was born and raised in Greenville, MS and just stumbled across your book “Alligator Lake” in The Delta Magazine. I am reading the book right now, only putting it down long enough to sleep and go to work. I particularly love the references to our local newspaper, local street names, etc. This is probably the best book I’ve read in a while and I can’t wait to read Catfish Alley. My daughter aspires to be a writer (English major at Delta State University) and I will be sure to tell her to read your books.

  4. admin says:

    Thank you so much, Mary Ellen!

  5. Billie Faye Patterson Van Pay says:

    I graduated from the Mississippi University for Women back in the fifties when Miss Lucy Banks taught there. It was she who taught me to love writing, and I still do. I write now for Times Community Media and for Sam Huff.

    Your stories are too true to life, unfortunately, but the type of racial hate and malice you write about wasn’t confined to Mississippi and still isn’t.

    I love telling my friends in Virginia about your books, and I am happy to see someone from the W write so well.

  6. Ginny Carlson says:

    Hi Lynne,
    I am in Korea visiting my son and his family. I just finished your novel Catfish Alley. I enjoyed it so much. Isn’t it amazing how we are so busy growing up in our families and cultures that we seem to exist in a bubble. Thanks so much for writing the book.
    Are you coming to Colorado for Christmas? If so, please come visit is.

  7. jean Duston says:

    I have just finished CATFISH ALLEY, an excellent historical novel. Having grown up in Columbus, where were “Pecan Acres”, the sawmill, and lumber yard located here?

  8. admin says:

    Hi Jean,
    Those are all fictional places created from an amalgam of places that I ran across in my research.
    Thanks!
    Lynne

  9. Pat says:

    Lynne,
    I have just completed both Catfish Alley and Alligator Lake and am so appreciative that you’ve put your thoughts and experiences about the racial divides in the South into words. I grew up in north Louisiana during the 1960s. So MANY of the scenes and situations you described brought back all kinds of memories for me. I have often realized I was simply oblivious to the experiences of the black people around me… their subservience, their invisibility, even things like meeting a black person on the sidewalk and he/she stepping off the sidewalk so I could pass by unimpeded, etc. I did not attend school with a black person until my last semester in college! It was until I was much older than I never questioned why the black maid who worked in our home would never look me in the eye… she’d been talk to keep her head down and not look white people in the eyes! It never occurred to me to question the Home Pilgrimage tours and how they were perceived by the blacks.
    I congratulate you on your ability to describe the societal cultures of the time while at the same time illustrating how things are changing … but very slowly.
    I am fortunate to be able to live in a state further west where there is much more social integration and acceptance of all cultures, and although not perfect, it is more of a norm. I plan to share your books with my daughter-in-law and grandchildren and hopefully, my experiences as well, in an effort to educate them as to how things were. Maybe in some way, they’ll be able to avoid making similar mistakes of exclusivity and basic ignorance.

    I am hoping you will continue writing and will look forward to your next book.

  10. Mary E. Rodney says:

    Hi Lynne, Hope you are enjoying your move to Radford, Virginia. I sent a message a while back on your FB page. Our “No Rules Book Club” in Colorado Springs is waiting to hear you have a new book on the way. Fairie Tales closed a few weeks ago, and that makes us sad. I sent out “Alligator Lake” to a couple of friends at Christmas, and told them to be sure and read “Catfish Alley”. Will pass on your website to the rest of the club. We will continue to follow you. Thanks again for taking time last summer to speak to our group. Best of luck to you. Mary

  11. Dawn says:

    I have read both of your books and loved them. i’m looking forward to your next one. Are you writing something now? Can we expect a new book soon? I am passing on your books to a friend of mine.
    I want everyone I know to enjoy your books, just as I have.
    Thank you for sharing your words with us.
    Dawn

  12. admin says:

    Hi Dawn,
    Thank you so much! So glad to hear that you enjoyed my novels! I am working on another one now—slowly.
    Lynne

  13. Beth Brown says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed Catfish Alley – the characters and plot outstanding. I really did not want it to end. I read it in large print as I cannot see smaller font well. Is Alligator Lake in Large Print edition – I sure hope so.

    Thank you and keep writing.

    Beth Brown

  14. admin says:

    Hi Beth,
    I’m so happy to hear that you enjoyed Catfish Alley! Unfortunately, the publisher did not print Alligator Lake in large print.
    Thanks so much,
    Lynne

  15. Pippa Ingram says:

    Thank you so much for a deeply moving story… Catfish Alley was a wonderful read. I will now find Alligator Lake to read ASAP.

  16. Chris Bass says:

    Hi Lynne,

    I just read Catfish Alley and loved it so much that I’m passing it on to a friend. I just got Alligator Lake yesterday and I’m half way through it. I hope that I can make the second half last longer as I don’t want the story to end. Thanks for writing it.
    Chris

  17. admin says:

    Thanks so much, Chris. I look forward to hearing how you like Alligator Lake!

  18. Chris Bass says:

    Hi Lynne,

    I just finished Alligator Lake and I loved it. I loved Catfish Alley but I thought that Alligator Lake was even better. Do you plan on writing another book? I hope so.

    Chris

  19. admin says:

    Yes, that’s my plan! Thanks for your support!
    Lynne

  20. John L. Webb says:

    Lynne,

    I have just finished reading Catfish Alley. Your Southern background and Catfish Alley is similar to my growing up in Centeral Florida between 1942 – 1959. I experienced segration after my first day of school in the first grade. I spent a great deal of time at my mothers parents house. The next door neighbor Mr & Mrs F. had a negro lady helping with household chores and would bring her daughter and son. The three of us would play togehter in the orange grow between the two houses. I started first grade that year. After the first day of school I asked my Grandmother why the (black) boy & girl next door were not at school today. Her reply ( which I will never forget) was “They are going to their own school” I never saw the two of them again.

    For you to have a better understanding of the conditions with which I grew up under check the internet for “Willis V. McCall Lake County Fl Sheriff”. That part of Florida was no different than what Mississippi had to offer.

    There seemed to always be an undercurrent of tension. Negros were not allowed in the small town to shop. There was a large country general store on the outskirts of the Negro area know as “The Quaters” The Negros would pick oranges and place them in field boxes. They were given a two part book of numbers which they would insert their number on each box they picked. The straw boss would collect the numbers. These were used as a form of credit that the Negro orange picker could use to purchase items at the country store. I do not know if much cash was given the Negro picker. They truely owed their “soul to the store” There are many fictional stories that could be written based on true events in that part of Florida. My parents moved their business to the West coast of Florida where the “Coasties” were more benevolent and less narrow minded.

    I will close now before this turns into a small novel about the “Early Souther Experience in Florida”

    Your book was very entertaining.

    John Webb

  21. Carol Curtis says:

    Just finished Catfish Alley. It drove home so many old memories. I grew up in Memphis in the 60’s, taught one year in ’72 (the year Memphis schools desegregated) in a “predominantly black” middle school. Went on to nursing and moved to Colorado and then the west coast.
    Your book is a true, albeit sad, representation of the south of the pre Civil Rights days………….and also post.
    Good job!

  22. Diane says:

    Lynne,

    I have been doing agent research and happened upon your name and your novels. I’m so glad I did. I grew up in the Mississippi Delta, in Clarksdale specifically. My grandfather and uncle were cotton farmers, living out at Friars Point near the levee. I went to the W for 2 i/2 years, then graduated from Ole Miss. My freshman year was the year James Meredith entered Ole Miss, living across the hall from a guy one of my best friends went with and ultimately married. My aunt was librarian at Delta State. I left Mississippi to go to Atlanta, and now live in NC. My own novel is a fictional my personal “wrestling” to understand a violent event in 1861 in Webster Co., where my father was from. It involves the death of a prominent Judge who tried to free his slaves when manumission was illegal. I have just discovered your novels and will be ordering them as soon as I close this message. Thank you.I feel as if I already know you.

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