The Southern Homes of Famous American Authors
Many of the United States’ most widely read and deeply loved writers were either born in the South or made their home in the South—and some did both. The homes of famous writers are the places they got their start and spent their childhoods, or the places they did their work in later years. Whether they uprooted and moved elsewhere or returned home to rest and write, these spots are storied because of the poets, novelists, and playwrights who once lived there. From Key West to New Orleans to Monroeville to Asheville, there is no shortage of literary landmarks across the region. Take a look at the homes of some of the country’s most famous writers, Southern and otherwise, that can be found in our region, and see where some of your favorite books were written.
Pat Conroy’s childhood home can be found in Atlanta, Georgia. The late author’s ranch-style South Carolina home, which is nestled in the Lowcountry on Fripp Island, was recently put up for sale. Many of the furnishings of that residence have been rehomed at the Pat Conroy Literary Center.
Faulkner’s famous residence, Rowan Oak, is located in the Mississippi college town of Oxford. The property gets its name from a tree of myth and folklore, though the property has its own distinctive arboreal features. The entry, which is lined with towering cedars, is unmistakable.
Key West, Florida
Though Hemingway was born in Illinois, he made his home in Key West for a time. His former home on Whitehead Street is now known as The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, and it is open to visitors who come to see where Hemingway wrote. Another draw is the opportunity to glimpse the six-toed cats that live there.
Zora Neale Hurston
Fort Pierce, Florida
Anthropologist and writer Zora Neale Hurston was born in Alabama and moved with her family to Eatonville, Florida, when she was a child. As an adult, Hurston lived and studied in New York, and she returned to Florida, the state of her childhood home and a setting of her novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, in the 1940s.
Harper Lee’s Alabama hometown was the inspiration for the fictional Maycomb, the setting of her 1960 novel To Kill a Mockingbird. As a child, her next-door neighbor and close friend was Truman Streckfus Persons, the young writer who would soon become known as Truman Capote.
The author of Gone with the Wind made her home in Midtown Atlanta in an apartment located at 979 Crescent Avenue. The structure is now open to visitors as the Margaret Mitchell House and Museum, which is operated by the Atlanta History Center.
Flannery O’Connor’s Milledgeville home is known as Andalusia Farm. The writer lived there from 1951-1964 alongside her peafowl (the property’s second most famous residents). Andalusia is now maintained and operated by Georgia College, and it’s open to the public for tours.
Mark Twain’s childhood home is located in Hannibal, Missouri, on Hill Street, which is just a stone’s throw from the Mississippi River. Twain, then known as Samuel Langhorne Clemens, lived in the house from 1844 to 1853.
Eudora Welty’s Jackson home is located at 1119 Pinehurst Street, just across the street from Bellhaven University. The house and its gardens, which Welty tended with care for decades, is open to visitors for tours.
Key West, Florida
Tennessee Williams spent many years in Key West. He made his home at 1431 Duncan Street, where he wrote every day. While living there, he also produced a number of paintings, some of which are on display in museums and galleries, while others are privately held.
Asheville, North Carolina
The Thomas Wolfe House is a historic Victorian home in downtown Asheville, North Carolina. Located at 52 North Market Street, the property is the childhood home of the novelist and now serves as a memorial and museum.