Minrose Gwin 

Minrose has been a writer all of her working life, starting out as a newspaper and wire service reporter and working in Mobile, Atlanta, Nashville, and Knoxville. She has taught as a professor at universities around the country, most recently at the University of North Carolina at Chapel hill. She taught for many years at the University of New Mexico Writers Conference in Taos and Santa Fe. Minrose's new novel, Promise, imagines the aftermath of the devastating Tupelo, Mississippi tornado of 1936, the fourth most deadly in the country's history. The official death toll was somewhere between 216 and 233 residents, with around 1,000 injuries, many of them serious. Growing up in Tupelo, she heard all kinds of wild stories about the storm: flying children, dehorned cows, people found dangling dead and alive in treetops. A lifeless baby was discovered in one of her grandmother's crepe myrtle bushes. What Minrose would later learn is that she had heard only one side of this tragedy. Members of the black community were omitted from the official casualty figures. The African American dead and injured simply weren’t counted, despite the fact that most of them lived on a high ridge that took the brunt of the storm. The bodies of the dead were stacked in an alley, their deaths erased from history. So the real story of the Tupelo tornado is one of the deeper devastation of racial injustice, which extended even beyond the grave. In Promise, Minrose excavates that untold story of the uncounted. The story is about two missing babies (one named Promise) and is related from the perspectives of an African American great-grandmother and a white teenager, whose families are irrevocably bound together by an act of violence that reverberates through several generations. The Queen of Palymra was a Barnes & Noble "Discover Great New Writers" pick, a finalist for the John Gardner Fiction Book Award, and an IndieBound Notable book. The Women's National Book Association selected it as one of 13 "Great Group Reads" for 2010. It was hailed by Lee Smith as "the most powerful and also the most lyrical novel about race, racism, and denial in the American South since To Kill a Mockingbird and Jill McCorkle calls it "a brilliant and compelling novel ... The beauty of the prose, the strength of voice and the sheer force of circumstance will hold the reader spellbound from beginning to end." Wishing for Snow, Minrose’s memoir about the convergence of poetry and psychosis in her mother’s life has been praised by Booklist as “eloquent” and “lyrical”—“a real life story we all need to hear.” Originally published by LSU Press, it was reissued as a HarperPerennial paperback in June 2011. As a literary critic, she has written four scholarly books, including Remembering Medgar Evers: Writing the Long Civil Rights Movement, and is a coeditor of The Literature of the American South, published by W.W. Norton, and the Southern Literary Journal.
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