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Home:  >Browse Listings   >Authors   >Norris, Gloria

Gloria Norris

A literary career defined for this Mississippian the makeup of her Southern roots as well as her roles as contemporary author and modern woman. Gloria Norris, who was born in Holcomb, Mississippi, in 1937, graduated magna cum laude from the University of Southern Mississippi and received an M.A. from Ohio State University. She moved through the literary world both as editor-in-chief and judge of the Book of the Month Club and as the author of her own collection of short stories, Three Stories; a well-received novel, Looking for Bobby; a non-fiction book, The Working Mother's Complete Handbook; and two anthologies.

Her entry into the publishing world began with her New York position as editor-in-chief of the Book of the Month Club in which she claims that a recognition of the difference between "knowing what sells" and knowing "the bubbling in [her] subconscious all along" helped her find her own source of inspiration in the creation of her first novel, Looking for Bobby. Through the youthful hero of a Southern childhood, Norris concentrates within this novel on the modern Southerner's dilemma of leaving behind ways of life that apply to the South of the '30s and '40s while preserving the value and singularity of a past culture.

Gloria Norris's next work of highly praised fiction, Three Stories, features short stories of the same caliber as those which won the O. Henry Prize Stories — "When the Lord Calls," "Revive Us Again," and "Holding On" — in 1983, 1984, and 1986. Her short stories have appeared in The Sewanee Review, among other magazines and journals. In 1983 the Ladies' Home Journal named Norris one of "America's 100 Most Important Women." Her own crafted fiction was published in the same year as a collection of contemporary short stories in which Norris presented selections chosen by the authors. New American Short Stories: Writers Select Their Own Favorites for The New American Library, edited by Norris, includes a host of canonical and little recognized authors as well as an introductory critical analysis of each text. Norris insists in a later interview that it is with this collection that she learned not only "a great deal of contemporary technique" in fiction writing but, on a larger scale, as she states in her introduction to the collection, the way fictional characters "enlarge our own experience and understanding of life."

The latest anthology edited by Gloria Norris, The Seasons of Women, comprises a collection of personal essays, memoirs, and stories by American women who, through the seasons of their lives, rewrite their wisdom and journeys, passion and sorrow, loss and triumph. This publication represents for Norris, as she shares in the introduction, the "universal, though infinitely varied, experiences of women" as well as autobiographical forms that enable her personal discovery and revised understanding of her role as a woman and a writer. Gloria Norris's versatility in the literary world as short-story writer, novelist, non-fiction writer, editor, and national book club executive marks the journey and triumph that she so keenly recognizes in the many characters of her most recent contribution to her field.

SL
Related Links & Info


Find out Norris's views about the modern novelist in 1967 at this 1967 Cultural Highlights page at the Book-of-the-Month Club web site.


Publications

Fiction:
  • Looking for Bobby (novel). New York: Knopf, 1985.
  • Three Stories. New York: Turnipseed Press, 1986.

Nonfiction:
  • The Working Mother's Complete Handbook. New York : Dutton, 1979.

Anthologies edited by Gloria Norris:
  • New American Short Stories: Writers Select Their Own Favorites. New York: New American Library, 1986.
  • The Seasons of Women: An Anthology. New York : W.W. Norton, 1996.

Bibliography:

Biographical Sources:
  • Abbott, Dorothy, ed. Mississippi Writers: Reflections of Childhood and Youth, Volume I Fiction. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1985.
  • Hilton, Anderson. "An Interview with Gloria Norris." Notes on Mississippi Writers 19 (1987): 15-22.

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