Fanning the Spark: A Memoir by Mary Ward BrownFanning the Spark: A Memoir by Mary Ward Brown

Fanning the Spark: A Memoir

byMary Ward Brown

Paperback | May 15, 2016

Pricing and Purchase Info

$33.75 online 
$37.50 list price save 10%
Earn 169 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Not available in stores


In 1986, after years of publishing stories in literary magazines and periodicals, Mary Ward Brown published her first book, the story collection Tongues of Flame. It soon received regional and national attention, and the following year won the PEN/Hemingway Award for fiction. Mary Ward Brown was sixty-nine years old. Though she would go on to write and publish many more stories and a well-received second collection, It Wasn’t All Dancing, Mary Ward Brown’s late acclaim hardly hints at the rich and varied life that prepared the way for her success.
Fanning the Spark is the story of her life as a writer—her upbringing in rural Alabama; the joys of college, marriage, and motherhood; the sorrows of becoming a widow; and a lifelong devotion to writing, writers, and literature, and the company of those who shared those loves, nurturing and feeding her interior life in the face of many challenges, losses, and obstacles, both emotional and material.
Here, in prose every bit as eloquent, evocative, and incisive as her stories, are her remembrances of loved ones; her letters fraught with worry to her son in Vietnam; periods of emotional isolation and unbidden silence; her invaluable friendships with renowned writers, editors, and agents; her love of community and place; and immeasurable delight with every award, speech, and public reading, the many recognitions she has garnered late in life. Above all, it is the story of the competing demands of art and of life, the constant struggle between her need to write and the practicalities of family, duty, and day to day living.

In addition to publishing two acclaimed collections of short fiction, Mary Ward Brown received the PEN/Hemingway Award for Fiction, the Hillsdale Prize for Fiction from the Fellowship of Southern Writers, and the Lillian Smith Book Award. She lived in the village of Hamburg, between Marion and Marion Junction, Alabama, in the same hous...
Title:Fanning the Spark: A MemoirFormat:PaperbackDimensions:166 pages, 8 × 5 × 0.7 inPublished:May 15, 2016Publisher:University of Alabama PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0817358668

ISBN - 13:9780817358662


Editorial Reviews

"Mary Ward Brown is one of our nation's great secrets, and with each book she's gotten better. This one, so much more personal, lets her fans see both how she came to be the writer she is and where so many of her stories came from. It's a cause for celebration to hear from her again, with the echoes of her previous works still ringing with beauty, a soprano singing into a valley, a songbird into the hills. Join me in rejoicing, for she is a rare and distilled talent." —Tom Franklin, author of Pachers and Hell at the Breech