Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings used to play “Story Lady” in Washington, D.C., as a girl, making up stories to tell the boys from her neighborhood. As an adult, she and her husband moved to Cross Creek, Florida, where she fell in love with the unique people of south Florida and their hearts in the face of hardship, poverty, and starvation, which she immortalized in her memoir Cross Creek. Like Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Rawlings helped focus the nation’s attention on an area previously disregarded as a “wasteland” through her O’Henry award-winning short stories, like “Gal Young Un” and “The Black Secret,” and her novels—South Moon Under, The Sojourner, and the children’s classic, The Yearling. The Yearling shows Rawlings at the top of her craft, with her beautifully rendered story and sense of place winning a Pulitzer prize award in 1939. The Yearling was made into a film that received both critical and popular acclaim; both the novel and the film are regarded as classics for their sensitive portrayal of life in the Florida Everglades.
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- This is an excerpt from The Book of Awesome Women, by Becca Anderson