William Gay Archive

Photo credit: Original photograph by J. M. White. Photographic illustration by Paul Nitsche.

Photo credit: Original photograph by J. M. White. Photographic illustration by Paul Nitsche.

William Gay’s finely honed prose earned him a reputation as the Dean of Southern writers. He started writing as a teen and completed his first novel, still extant, in 1965, and wrote continuously until his death in 2012.

During this time he published three novels and three collections of short stories and left behind a large body of unpublished manuscripts. The archive of his handwritten notebooks includes numerous short stories and several novel drafts.

My involvement in the archive started with a correspondence with author and friend of William’s, J. M. White. Being the editor of Twilight, and having published two collections of short works by William, he is now overseeing the organizing and future publication of the archive. As a long time admirer of William’s writing, it is still sometimes hard to believe that I am on the team proofreading and editing the new works.  As to date I have helped edit Little Sister Death, The Lost Country, several unpublished short stories. Currently, the team and I are working on a novel entitled Stoneburner.

The original plan was for J. M. White to publish a few unknown short stories and excerpts of the unpublished novels in a book entitled This Ride's Not Over Yet, under the imprint Anamolaic Press.  The team and I had gotten the manuscript fully edited, laid out in book form, and even a cover was completed by myself. Talks between Dzanc Books then began to materialize, and it was decided that This Ride's Not Over Yet would cease to be.  Little Sister Death, and Gay's much anticipated novel The Lost Country, were acquired by Dzanc Books in July, 2014. In September, 2015, Little Sister Death was released.