New Book by English Teacher Wins Eudora Welty Prize; Book signing on Friday

Kelly L. Dunn

Casey Kayser, Assistant Professor of English and Director of the Medical Humanities Program, received the prestigious Eudora Welty Prize for her new book Marginalized: Southern playwrights confront race, region and gender, which was published by University Press of Mississippi in September 2021.

Each year, the University of Mississippi for Women and the University Press of Mississippi collaborate to award the Welty Prize for Outstanding Literary Work on Women’s Studies, Southern Studies, or Modern Letters in honor of the MUW’s most famous alumnus, writer Eudora Welty.

Kayser will be recognized and read from her book at the Eudora Welty Writers’ Symposium, which will be held October 21-23 on the MUW campus. This year’s theme is “Everything They Saw Was About to Come Together: A Confluence of Southern Writers”, inspired by Welty’s novel The optimist’s daughter.

Marginalized book coverUnlike other literary genres, theater has received little attention in Southern Studies, and female playwrights in general receive less recognition than their male counterparts. In Marginalized: Southern playwrights confront race, region and gender, Kayser addresses these shortcomings by examining the work of southern female playwrights, arguing that representations of the American South on stage are complicated by identity, gender, and region challenges.

Through the analysis of dramatic texts, the rhetoric of production reviews, as well as what the playwrights themselves have said about their plays and productions, Kayser delineates these challenges and argues that playwrights rely on a variety of strategies. conscious to answer them. These strategies, evident in the work of playwrights such as Pearl Cleage, Sandra Deer, Lillian Hellman, Beth Henley, Marsha Norman, and Shay Youngblood, give them the opportunity to get audiences to reconsider the monolithic understandings of the northern and southern regions. south and ultimately create new visions of the south.

The U of A campus bookstore will host a book signing with Kayser from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, September 24.

“The Eudora Welty Award is a great honor for Dr Kayser, and Dr Kayser is a great award for the English Department,” said William Quinn, Chair of the English Department.

Kayser joined the faculty at the University of Alberta in the fall of 2012. She teaches courses in literature and medical humanities and directs the medical humanities program. She also co-directs Theater in London’s study abroad program with Shawn Irish, Associate Professor of Theater.

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