An interview with Lawrence Wells author of In Faulkner’s Shadow: A Memoir. Lawrence talks about his time in Oxford Mississippi and his new memoir about just what happens when you marry into a family that includes a Nobel Prize winner who is arguably the finest American writer of the twentieth century.
Lawrence Wells, author of In Faulkner’s Shadow: A Memoir, fills this lively tale with stories that answer just that. In 1972, Wells married Dean Faulkner, the only niece of William Faulkner, and slowly found himself lost in the Faulkner mystique. While attempting to rebel against the overwhelming influence of his in-laws, Wells had a front-row seat to the various rivalries that sprouted between his wife and the members of her family, each of whom dealt in different ways with the challenges and expectations of carrying on a literary tradition.
Beyond the family stories, Wells recounts the blossoming of a literary renaissance in Oxford, Mississippi, after William Faulkner’s death. Both the town of Oxford and the larger literary world were at a loss as to who would be Faulkner’s successor. During these uncertain times, Wells and his wife established Yoknapatawpha Press and the quarterly literary journal the Faulkner Newsletter and Yoknapatawpha Review. In his dual role as publisher and author, Wells encountered and befriended Larry Brown, Barry Hannah, Willie Morris, and many other writers.
He became both participant and observer to the deeds and misdeeds of a rowdy collection of talented authors living in Faulkner’s shadow. Full of personal insights, this memoir features unforgettable characters and exciting behind-the-scene moments that reveal much about modern American letters and the southern literary tradition. It is also a love story about a courtship and marriage, and an ode to Dean Faulkner Wells and her family.