Called “an heiress of Eudora Welty — with verve, strangeness, and Mississippi tonality” by her late mentor and two-time Pulitzer Prize winning poet Richard Wilbur, author Eileen Saint Lauren plunges readers smack-dab into the sights, sounds and social constructs of the Deep South in her profoundly powerful new book, Goodlife, Mississippi.
About the Author
Eileen Saint Lauren was born in Hattiesburg and raised in the once two red-light town, Petal, Mississippi. She is an award-winning photojournalist and news and feature writer who worked early in her career as a commentator for Nebraska Public Radio and at Smith College Museum of Art. After graduating from Jones College in Ellisville, Mississippi, with an Associate of Arts Degree majoring in Journalism, she continued her education at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where she received a Bachelor of Arts Degree majoring in English. She then continued on with her education in creative writing at The Washington Center, Duke University, Kansas Newman College's, The Milton Center, the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She divides her writing time between Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and Madison, Mississippi. She was blind for three years due to back-to-back retina detachments at an early age. Although she did not regain her full sight, she is functional though visually disadvantaged.
Visit Goodlife, Mississippi for a Soulful Story of Struggle and Celebration
Mary “Myra” Boone transforms her weaknesses into strengths, her obstacles into pathways and her doubt into faith — all by the time she is 12 years old — in author Eileen Saint Lauren’s unforgettable new book, Goodlife, Mississippi.
Saint Lauren drew upon her own turbulent childhood to inform her depiction of Myra, who battles with complex feelings of guilt and loss as she searches for life’s meaning.
Set in the 1950s and ’60s Deep South, Myra is wise beyond her years but still just a child as she perseveres through a lifetime of experiences — from unspeakable tragedy, to the hovering cloud of racial prejudice, to supernatural religious experiences in the Piney Woods.
Keeping her afloat is her dream of one day meeting Ray Charles Robinson, who had been a friend of her daddy’s, and finding her natural sense of place in the grand scheme of life: her true calling.
Saint Lauren weaves historical truths with magical realism through the constant threading of the ordinary with the extraordinary and supernatural.
Though Myra’s scars — inside and out — will remain, she emerges a young woman of compassion with a self-forged faith in the underlying goodness of the universe and her value in the world.
It is Saint Lauren’s aim to provoke readers “to contemplate an understanding and tolerance of people whose life experiences and perceptions appear outside the norm though are very real,” she said. “Goodlife, Mississippi’s timeless voices of every color and social class both together reflect the message of compassion, forgiveness and love.”
Two-time Pulitzer Prize winning poet Richard Wilbur had this to say: “Eileen Saint Lauren is an heiress of Eudora Welty — with verve, strangeness, and Mississippi tonality. I have found her fiction, Goodlife, Mississippi, spritely, comic, and rather wild in a Southern romantic vein.”
Goodlife, Mississippi comes with a Study Guide.