Author Linda Lightsey Rice

Praise from Pat Conroy:

"Linda Lightsey Rice is one hell of a novelist. The book (Southern Exposure) has great depth, excitement, and seems as though written by a band of eloquent angels. Rice has a fiery, incandescent talent."

Delivering the keynote address at the Symposium on Contemporary Southern Culture at Lander College in South Carolina.

On Writing Novels:

"The novel is a scary, complex form whose only guideline is the singular vision of a writer's psyche. I see the novel as a wild horse of story, language, and idea, who must be allowed to gallop yet reined at the same time. For this challenge we must find our best voice, our worst dreams, and our bravest words."

Welcome and thank you for stopping by.

NEWS: I'll be teaching at the Taos Writer's Conference, Taos, New Mexico, July 13-15.

If you'd love to come out west this summer for a creative tune-up, please join 20 professional writers offering workshops and readings in this historic high desert town that has inspired so many artists. I've been going to Taos for twenty years and never tire of the beauty, color, or clean dry air. The brain often works better at high altitude!

Photography opts also abound in New Mexico. My first picture of the Taos Pueblo, circa 1995.

First novel SOUTHERN EXPOSURE has recently been released as an eBook after years of being print-only.

MOST RECENT NOVEL: Hardback, paperback, and eBook copies of AGAINST THE RUINS are available. Click the title in yellow at right for more info about the book.


Linda Lightsey Rice is an award-winning novelist, essayist, teacher, speaker, and former journalist who began her career in the New York City publishing industry. She is the author of the novels SOUTHERN EXPOSURE and AGAINST THE RUINS and has taught creative writing at the University of Tennessee, Lenoir Rhyne University, the Chautauqua Institution, the College of St. Catherine, and the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis. She gives creativity and writing workshops and has won numerous writing awards, including the McKnight Foundation Fellowship in Creative Prose.


On a December day in 1957 in South Carolina, schoolteacher Louise Copeland and her six-year-old daughter Lyra arrive home to discover that Louise's gentle war-hero husband has suddenly become psychotic and has slashed his wrist with a razor blade.

This is a gripping drama of madness and wartime trauma and prejudice against the mentally ill, culminating in mother and daughter--some fifty years later--finally facing the past that haunted the family for half a century. (CLICK on the title in right-hand box for more detail and a brief excerpt.)

"AGAINST THE RUINS is gorgeous, lush writing that almost takes your breath away, rich and layered, strewn with a fine sense of humor and an appreciation of the ridiculous even amid great agony. Rice is a huge talent."
--Natalie Goldberg, author of WRITING DOWN THE BONES

Customer Reviews:

"Against the Ruins is such a beautifully written story. I found it spell binding and hard to put down. The author eloquently weaves the story from two points of view, mother and daughter. When you finish the book, you know you have read something truly special. It takes you through the time when women were put in their place, mental illness was a taboo topic, and segregation was still in place. The author is such a talented writer that as you read this poignant story, you are in awe of her ability to write in such a way that leaves you breathless."

"With a surprising counterpoint of dark humor and heart-breaking clarity, Linda Lightsey Rice has created a compelling study of mental illness, cultural rigidity, and individual triumph."

PLEASE NOTE: Click on the titles in yellow in the box at the right for more information about the author's literary works. More photos there too. To read more about AGAINST THE RUINS, also see also the "Author Interview" page.

Selected Works

A family is torn apart by madness and prejudice in 1950s South Carolina. "Against the Ruins is gorgeous, lush writing that almost takes your breath away." --Natalie Goldberg
A psychological drama set in the mystical Low County of South Carolina in which a small town is devastated by its first confrontation with violence. "Southern Exposure is a terrific novel. . . ." --Pat Conroy
Why do writers kill themselves? An essay about success and failure in the literary life. (Includes photos of New Mexico.) Read entire essay here.
An excerpt from an upcoming novel about a Tennessee family whose emotional connection to their landscape is as strong as the devastation, and subsequent mental instability, endured by the family patriarch during World War II. (Includes photos of Tennessee.)
Minnesota Mentor Series Lecture, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. (Includes photos of Minneapolis.)