Ellen Douglas, the pen name of Josphine Haxton, has died at age 91. The Washington Post writes:
JACKSON, Miss. — Ellen Douglas, a Mississippi native whose novel “Apostles of Light” was a 1973 National Book Award nominee, died Wednesday in Jackson. She was 91.
Douglas, who cited fellow Mississippi native William Faulkner as a literary influence, was the pen name of Josephine Ayres Haxton; she said she took a pseudonym to guard the privacy of her family. Douglas’ Mississippi-set work dealt candidly with race relations, families and the role of women.
She taught Larry Brown when she was a visiting professor at Ole Miss, and was a major encouragement to his writing. I believe the first author event at Square Books, back when it was upstairs over what is now Square Books Jr., was for Ellen Douglas’s book The Rock Cried Out. She was one of the first “real” writers I met, back in undergraduate school, at a time when it was not a routine event for writers to pass through town.