- Short Story Collections
- In the Land of Dreamy Dreams
- Victory Over Japan
- Drunk With Love: A Book of Stories
- Light Can Be Both Wave and Particle
- I Cannot Get You Close Enough: Three Novellas
- Rhoda: A Life in Stories
- The Courts of Love
- The Age of Miracles
- Flights of Angels
- The Cabal and Other Stories ( 2000)
- I, Rhoda Manning, Go Hunting with My Daddy,
And Other Stories (2002)
- Nora Jane: A Life in Stories
- The Annunciation
- The Anna Papers
- Net of Jewels
- Anabasis: A Journey to the Interior
- Sarah Conley
- A Dangerous Age 2008
- The Land Surveyor's Daughter: Poems
- Riding out the Tropical Depression: Selected
- Falling Through Space: The Journals of Ellen
- The Writing Life
According to Wendell Brock, in her acclaimed novels and short
story collections, the Mississippi writer Ellen Gilchrist "taps
the human heart with unmistakable empathy -- and unerring humor."
She was born on February 20, 1935, near Vicksburg,
Mississippi, in Issaquena County. At the age
of fourteen, she wrote a column called "Chit and Chat About
This and That" for a local Franklin, Kentucky, paper.
She attended Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee,
where she received a Bachelor's degree in philosophy. At nineteen,
Gilchrist married Marshall Walker, an engineering student, and
they had three children. When she divorced Walker,
she enrolled in a creative writing course at Millsaps College
in Jackson, where she was taught by Eudora Welty. She also studied
creative writing at the University of Arkansas.
Ellen Gilchrist's first collection of short stories, In
the Land of Dreamy Dreams, was published by the
University of Arkansas Press in 1981 and reissued in hardcover
and paperback by Little, Brown and Company in 1985. Her
first novel, The Annunciation, was published
in 1983, and her second collection of short stories, Victory
Over Japan, for which she received the National Book
Award for Fiction, was published in 1984. She now has more than
seventeen books of her work published. Ellen Gilchrist
has received numerous awards, including the Mississippi
Arts Festival Poetry Award; the New York Quarterly Craft in
Poetry Award; the National Endowment of the Arts Grant in Fiction;
and the Mississippi Academy of Arts and Science Award for Fiction.
In addition, she has received the Mississippi Institute of Arts
and Letters Literature Award three times, for In the Land
of Dreamy Dreams, Victory Over Japan,
and I Cannot Get You Close Enough.
Although Gilchrist presently lives in Fayetteville,
Arkansas, she maintains a house in Ocean Springs, Mississippi,
2008 UPDATE: Ellen Gilchrist continues to
teach in the Creative Writing and Translation program of the
Department of English at the University of Arkansas.
Her book The Writing Life was published
by The University Press of Mississippi in 2005 and Nora
Jane: A Life in Stories was published by Little
Brown also in 2005. Her newest novel, A Dangerous
Age, has just been published. It is the story
of three women of the Hand family who are cousins in a "Southern
dynasty rich with history and tradition who are no strangers
to either controversy or sadness," according to the publisher
Algonquin of Chapel HIll.
Biography of Ellen Gilchrist
By Lynn Rowan
Ellen Gilchrist is the highly acclaimed author of numerous
novels and short story collections, which include the National
Book Award-winning Victory Over Japan. Her
success has been achieved through many years of studying creative
writing at many well known universities and a brief study with
the renowned author Eudora Welty.
Ellen Gilchrist was born on February 20, 1935 in Vicksburg,
Mississippi. She achieved a bachelor’s degree
in philosophy from Vanderbilt University. Along with her
philosophy degree, she studied creative writing at Millsaps
University, and also at the University of Arkansas.
is known for the use of empathy and humor in her novels.
During her life as an author, Gilchrist has won many awards
and honors. Victory Over Japan is one of
her most famous books . In 1984, she was awarded the National
Book Award for this novel. She is also an author of other
best selling novels like Net Of Jewels and Starcarbon.
Publisher’s Weekly states "Gilchrist’s
marvelous storytelling gifts are abundantly lavished on
Starcarbon." Falling Through Space contains her NPR
commentaries from Morning Edition from 1984 through
Her love for literature has been fulfilling for her readers
for years. Gilchrist has been rewarded for her literature
and also for many years of hard work and dedication to literary
writing. In conclusion, Ellen Gilchrist’s works
of literature touch the human heart with empathy and humor.
A Review of Revenge
by Cherie Clinton (SHS)
Ellen Gilchrist's "Revenge" is a short story about overcoming
obstacles. "Revenge" is set in mid-summer during World War I
in Issaquena County, Mississippi. The tone chosen for this story
changes from the light feel of childhood to the mature feelings
of war. The story changes from third-person omniscient to first-person
point of view very quickly. The narrator is the main character.
The theme of the story is that no matter how big a challenge
seems, it can always be accomplished. In this short story, Gilchrist
develops character as well as plot. The characters in the story
are dynamic as they change during the course of the story. The
main character is Rhoda. Other important characters are Rhoda's
four cousins: Philip, Bunkey, Saint John, Oliver, and her brother,
Dudley. Rhoda's grandmother, Miss Onnie Maud, and Lauralee also
play a part in the literary work. The characters who change
are her cousins and brother. Before they realize Rhoda's abilities,
they think that girls can't do any of the things that guys do.
The grandmother, Miss Onnie Maud, and Lauralee realize that
women do not have to follow the strict standards of Southern
women after Rhoda overcomes her obstacle. Although the plot
develops over a short time period, it is very elaborate. The
story begins with Gilchrist reminiscing about the summer of
Broad Jump Pit. Then Rhoda tells the story of her summer with
her grandmother in the Delta. The main conflict occurs when
Rhoda and Dudley's father writes to tell them to build an Olympic
training field. The four cousins and Dudley guard the field
from Rhoda day and night. A battle is started between Rhoda
and the five boys. The highlight of the story is when Rhoda
finally defeats the boys and gets to pole vault on the field.
liked the story because of the intense character development
as well as the plot development. The story proves that people,
just like books, cannot be judged by their covers. With determination
and perseverance, obstacles can be overcome.
A Review of The Best Meal I Ever
by Cherie Clinton (SHS)
In the narrative poem "The Best Meal I Ever Had Anywhere,"
Ellen Gilchrist uses little character development; however,
she has a fast-paced plot. The poem is told in the first- person
point of view. The tone is light and pleasant up until the last
two verses, which are quite crude. The setting is a Sunday dinner
with the speaker's family. All of the children sit on books
except for Bunky, who has the high chair. In the end the speaker
gets her revenge on Bunky. This
poem is related to "Revenge" in that it has some of the same
characters and the main character got her revenge after being
denied her equal rights while growing up with boys. I really
enjoyed this poem because it was similar to the short story
"Revenge." Gilchrist uses some of the main characters from her
other works, and the characters and incidents seem to be somewhat
A Review of Starcarbon
by Lynn Rowan (SHS)
The novel Starcarbon by Ellen Gilchrist is filled
with compassion, heartaches, and finding love in all the wrong
places and at the wrong times. The main characters in
the novel experience many obstacles as they learn to love and
understand other people in their lives. As the three main
characters, Olivia, Georgia, and Jessie are faced with a lot
of trying times and difficult obstacles to over come, they also
help each other over come these hard obstacles.
While struggling to find herself in life, Olivia tries to
learn how to love and trust the people around her. In
order to do this, she is sent to a psychiatrist, whom she tells
about how her life and how her mother left her father before
she was born. While giving birth to Olivia, her mother
died and left Olivia to grow up with her Cherokee relatives,
not ever knowing who her father was.
When Olivia was sixteen years old, her Aunt Anna came and took
her to Charlotte, North Carolina, to live with the father she
never knew. Here she
spent the rest of her teenage years growing up with a half sister,
whom she was not close to, and to a father who she did not know
well. Jessie is faced with a very different problem.
She is faced with the problem of getting pregnant at the age
of eighteen, dropping out of college, and living with a husband
who is going to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and trying to
get cleaned up to provide a better life for his family.
Jessie is also faced with the same problem that Olivia faces,
that of an alcoholic father who is drinking his life away, although
he does not realize that he is drinking to the point of being
however, has other obstacles to face. She is faced with
her lover, Zach Biggs, who is not able to make sacrifices for
the sake of their relationship. Georgia meets Olivia as
one of the students in her Anthropology class. As Olivia
and Georgia become closer as pupil and teacher, they also become
closer as friends. Together they form a special bond,
helping each other overcome their difficult obstacles.
Georgia helps Olivia learn how to love her fiancé, Bobby
Tree. And in turn, Olivia helps Georgia try to understand Zach’s
side of the relationship. Olivia is also faced with the problem
of worrying about what her father’s side of the family
will think about Bobby. Olivia’s knowing that Bobby’s
father is in jail makes her a little doubtful as to whether
she should marry him or not.
novel is written in the third person omniscient point of view.
The narrator/ author of the story is not a character in the
novel, but she foresees all. The plot is very up lifting,
although the obstacles get tough , the characters are able to
help each other overcome any obstacles they face.
Gilchrist wrote this novel to capture the reader’s mind
and heart. She also wrote the novel to entertain the reader.
The settings that the story takes place in describe the backgrounds
of the different characters. The title of this novel is very
symbolic to Bobby. In order to get Olivia away from some
of the problems that she faces, he tells her "We can go to Montana,
to Starcarbon, Tom and Sherrill’s ranch." I believe
that the reason Gilchrist makes Bobby say this is because, according
to him, there is nothing that can bother you at Starcarbon Ranch.
Everything is just perfect.
The novel’s theme is about life’s hardships and
difficulties and how you can find love anywhere. I believe
that Gilchrist is trying to say that you can find
love anywhere and anytime. In conclusion, I thoroughly
enjoyed this novel because of the way it relates the lives of
many different people with different backgrounds. Ellen
Gilchrist is not only a noted Mississippi author, she is also
a well known American author.
Miss Writers Page gives biographical information for Gilchrist.
of Arkansas History & Culture includes
Abbot, Dorothy. Mississippi Authors: An Anthology.
Jackson, Mississippi: University Press of Mississippi, 1991.
Hall, Sharon. Contemporary Literary Criticism.
Volume 34. Detroit, Michigan 48226: Gale Research Book Tower,
McCrowski, Daniel G. Contemporary Literary Criticism.
Volume 48. Detroit, Michigan 48226: Gale Research Book Tower,
Medical Humanities. Literature, Arts, and Medicine Database,
of Arkansas English Department page of books by Gilchrist.
of Arkansas English Department faculty list includes Gilchrist.