Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, was born on August 8, 1896. At the age of 11, she had a story published in the Washington Post. She later said that no amount of money or acknowledgement of her writing, including her 1939 Pulitzer Prize, would mean as much to her as that $2 cash prize.
She attended the University of Wisconsin from 1914-18, where she majored in English, wrote plays, and performed on stage. After graduating with a B.A. Degree, she moved to New York, married writer Charles A. Rawlings, and worked as a reporter for various magazines.
In 1928, Marjorie fell in love with a place in Northern Florida called Cross Creek. It was her inspiration, her love, her sanctuary. Here, she wrote her first novel, South Moon Under, which was published in 1933, the same year that she divorced Charles. Rawlings’ literary acclaim happened after the publication of The Yearling, “the story of young Jody Baxter’s coming of age in the big scrub country which is now the Ocala National Forest in Florida.” The Yearling won the Pulitzer Prize in 1939 and was made into a movie in 1946, starring Gregory Peck and Jane Wyman.
Rawlings writing was greatly influenced by authors Henry David Thoreau, and her friends, Ernest Hemingway, Thomas Wolfe, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Robert Frost, and Margaret Mitchell. She married Norton Sanford in 1941. Her final book, The Sojourner, was published in 1953. She died in December of that same year from a cerebral hemorrhage.
Can you feel the wind and hear the birds as you read this passage?
“Every pine tree, every gallberry bush, every passion vine, every joree rustling in the underbrush, is vibrant. I have walked it in trouble, and the wind in the trees beside me is easing. I have walked it in despair, and the red of the sunset is my own blood dissolving into the night’s darkness. For all such things were on earth before us, and will survive after us, and it is given to us to join ourselves with them and to be comforted.”