WILLIAMS, Leslie Walker

Author Tags: Fiction

Born and raised in Savannah Georgia, Leslie Walker Williams moved to Vancouver where she became the author of The Prudent Mariner, winner of the Peter Taylor Prize and the Morris Hackney Literary Award. This novel revolves around a 1913 lynching and the postcards that were made of this event, and what occurs when a nine-year-old girl named Riddely Cross discovers these postcards among her late grandfather's belongings sixty years later. "The postcards force her to question what she has been taught about the world, the South, and her family—and what she has not. The mysteries of the lynching postcards start to unravel after her widowed grandmother, Adele, moves in with the family. Afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease, Adele speaks only to murmur the occasional insult or curse. Nonetheless, she and Riddley become companions of a sort, based largely on their common affinity for silence, wandering, and the nearby river. When Riddley develops a friendship with her neighbor Carver, an artist and iconoclast, the connections between the postcards and Riddley’s family gradually come to light, and a series of tragic events begins to unfold." The story originates from the imagination of a white girl in coastal Georgia in 1913 who imagines a romance between her elder sister and a black laborer, inadvertently leading to the man’s lynching.


The Prudent Mariner (University of Tennessee Press 2008) $29.95 1-57233-641-2

[BCBW 2009] "Fiction"