- A Killing in This Town (2006)
- Logic (2004)
- Eden (2002)
by Latorian Jones (SHS)
Olympia Vernon was born May 22, 1973 in Bogalusa, Louisiana. She was raised in the small towns of Mt. Hermon, Louisiana, and Osyka, Mississippi, on the border between Mississippi and Louisiana. Her father, Fletcher Williams, Jr., graduated from the University of Mississippi. Olympia Vernon attended South Pike High School in Magnolia, Mississippi. She was the fourth of seven children. Originally, Vernon wanted a career in law enforcement and graduated from Southeastern Louisiana University with a B.A. in Criminal Justice in 1999. However, her English professors, William Dowie and Carole McAllister, encouraged her to write. In the fall of 1999, she went to Louisiana State University to pursue her Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and received her M. F. A. in the spring of 2002. She twice was granted the Matt Clark Memorial Scholarship.
Vernon’s first novel Eden was written while she was in graduate school. It was nominated for the Robert O. Butler award in fiction in 2000. This critically-acclaimed novel won the 2004 Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She was the recipient of The College of Arts and Sciencess 2004 Alumnus of the Year. In May 2004 she published her second novel called Logic about a young girl named Logic Harris, a thirteen year old girl who has not been right in the head since she fell out of a tree in Mississippi. Logic is also got good reviews.
In 2005 Vernon received the Louisiana Governor’s Award for Professional Artist of the Year. In 2007-08 Vernon was the Hallie Ford Chair in Writing at Willamette University. In 2007, she won the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence for her third novel A Killing In This Town.
Currently, Vernon lives in Tangipahoa Parish and is the Writer-in-Residence at Southeastern Louisiana University.
A Review of Eden
by Latorian Jones (SHS)
Eden, a novel by Olympia Vernon, is a great coming of age story. Maddy, the protagonist, is an outspoken fourteen year old girl. She lives in Pyke County, Mississippi, with her mother Faye and Chevrolet, her father. The story is told by Maddy in the first person. At the beginning of the book, Maddy draws a naked woman on the pages of Genesis with a fire-engine-red lipstick during Bible study class. Maddy’s mother is horrified by the townspeople’s gossip about Maddy, so she sends Maddy to Commitment Road.
Maddy’s Aunt Pip lives on Commitment Road, and Maddy is sent there to care for Aunt Pip because she is dying of breast cancer. Faye, Maddy’s mother, and Pip have not spoken to each other in a long time because Faye had found out that her sister Pip was sleeping with her husband Chevrolet. Aunt Pip has become an outcast.
Maddy learns many lessons about life while caring for her sick Aunt Pip. All the characters in the story are special in their own way. The book Eden has a spiritual quality. Maddy’s mother Faye is always praying when she gets in a fight with Chevrolet. Faye has a lot of faith. She believes in God, and she attends church all the time. In the novel, Maddy finds out what God really means to her. Eden is a very emotional novel.
- LSU Profile of Olympia Vernon
- Novelist named Writer-in Residence at Southeastern Louisiana University
- Interview with Olympia Vernon in Prairie Schooner, 2013
- Olympia Vernon: A Night of Fiction, 2011, on You tube
- Thumper reviews Logic.
- New York Times Review by Maud Casey for A Killing in the Town
- Kate Cantrill reviews Eden.
- Publisher Grove Atlanttic has bio of Olympia Vernon
- Vernon, Olympia. Eden.
- Women’s History Month Concludes with Lectures. Southeastern Louisiana University. 03 March2003 <www.selu.edu/…/PublicInfoOffice/ WHM03-3.html>.