Linda Lightsey Rice's novels AGAINST THE RUINS and SOUTHERN EXPOSURE are rooted in the Southern storytelling tradition. Born in a small town near Charleston, the author grew up in Columbia, South Carolina, in the historic inner-city Elmwood Park neighborhood, in the days before its lovely present gentrification. It was there, at age 10, that this daughter of a high school English teacher and granddaughter of a landscape painter, decided to become a writer. Her mother, who taught in the South Carolina public schools for 41 years, had an exceptional singing voice and her father is a decorated veteran of World War II, both influences upon her writing.
After earning her BA in English, appearing in a number of college theatre productions, she landed an editorial job in publishing in New York. At Doubleday she worked for highly-respected editor Betty Prashker, noted for publishing important feminist writers. Before and after New York, the author was a staff writer for THE STATE newspaper in South Carolina and for THE RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH in Virginia, reporting on the arts and writing book reviews. (Not to mention an enlightening month writing obits.)
She left journalism to obtain an MA in English/Creative Writing in Virginia, then completed her Ph.D. coursework at the University of Tennessee. While teaching English in a Catholic high school for girls, she was nearly fired for teaching rock music as poetry. Later she began teaching college English and creative writing, especially fiction writing, publishing stories and essays in literary journals. Next came SOUTHERN EXPOSURE, which garnered excellent reviews, was selected by The Literary Guild, and was nominated for the PEN Hemingway Award.
THE WRITING LIFE
Linda Lightsey Rice has published stories and essays in a number of literary journals; most recently her work has appeared in "The American South" anthology published in Germany. At the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, she was Artistic Mentor of both the Inroads Series and the Mentor Series, and was awarded the Minnesota Writers Career Initiative Fellowship. She has read from her work in all parts of the US and in Ireland. (This includes a reading in a bowling alley and another in a coffee shop that was part car wash. Very interesting honorariums.) Following her commencement address at the University of South Carolina/ Allendale, a scholarship was named in her honor.
She has taught writing at the University of Tennessee, St. Catherine University, and the Chautauqua Institution. She was Writer in Residence at Lenoir Rhyne University and has given presentations/workshops for Virginia Commonwealth University's MFA program, the University of Wisconsin BFA program, the East Tennessee Association of English teachers, the keynote address for Women's History Month at Spartanburg Methodist College, writing workshops at Hiwassee College and Roane State Community College, among others. At Lander College she delivered the lecture "Talking Back to William Faulkner," which was funded by the South Carolina Humanities Commission. She has won a Jerome Foundation Travel and Study Grant, and artistic awards/ fellowships from Virginia Commonwealth University, the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation of New Mexico, and the Hawthornden Castle International Retreat for Writers in Scotland. She received a teaching award from the Loft Literary Center, and in 2004 was awarded the McKnight Foundation Fellowship in Creative Prose.
The author has lived in South Carolina, North Carolina, New York, Virginia, Tennessee, Ohio, and has spent extended periods in New Mexico, New Orleans, and Ireland. She currently lives in Minneapolis and in the Southeast.
In a VERY previous life, Linda Lightsey Rice was a "HoJo Girl" (waitress at a Howard Johnson's restaurant, complete with checked apron) and lasted almost a month as the "housemother" (at age 23) of a group home for pre-teen hoodlums.
The author is a member of the Human Rights Campaign, the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, the National Organization for Women, the Author's Guild, and Kappa Delta Sorority. She's an advocate for tighter gun control and for environmental protections. She collects musical instruments, is obsessed with Virginia Woolf and the novels of Edna O'Brien, loves snowy weather and dusty antique shops and 1940s black-and-white movies, once wanted to be a painter, loves old buildings and live theatre and sportscars, adores the wide open spaces of the American West and England's lush greenness, and often depends for sanity on Kieran, the "perfect" golden retriever.
Linda Lightsey Rice offers manuscript review/editing and tutoring/coaching for all level writers. She hosts private writing workshops in Minneapolis and is also available for weekend workshops and for speaking about writing, about women's issues and creativity, and about mental illness and creativity. She has published articles about literary voice, about artistic apprenticeship, about artists as teachers, about race and sex in writing, and has given workshops on voice and storytelling and on the relationship between depression and writing. She offers ongoing mentoring for novelists and memoir writers.
"Linda Lightsey Rice understands well the extremely subtle and largely overlooked psychological dynamics in teaching creative writing." --Carol Bly
All text and images © Linda Lightsey Rice