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LES Symposium set for October 26

Observations and activism from the 1940s, 50s, and 60s are perfectly relevant today. Throughout her career as a writer and humanitarian, Lillian Smith examined how the arts engage people around issues of social injustice, segregation, and isolation. The family home of Lillian Smith in Clayton, Georgia, is now an educational center operated by Piedmont College.
Through presentations and conversation with special guest speakers and artists, this symposium will celebrate the life and works of Lillian Smith. MORE INFO

Two screenings of Lillian Smith Documentary planned in September

On September 17, Michał Choiński--Assistant Professor of American literature in the Institute of English Studies at the Jagiellonian University—will present “Between the ‘Twilight Zone’ and ‘Intellectual Deafness on Lillian Smith’s and Katharine Du Pre Lumpkin’s Southern Social Autobiographies.” Choiński’s talk will be followed by a screening of Hal Jacob’s documentary Lillian Smith: Breaking the Silence. The event will take place on September 17 from 1:30-4 PM in the Swanson Center screening room at Piedmont College in Demorest.

Choiński is the author of Rhetoric of the Revival (2016, V&R) and his book Southern Hyperboles is coming out with LSU in 2020. His debut poetic pamphlet Gifts Without Wrapping will be published by the Hedgehog Press in the UK this year.

Jacobs is a documentary filmmaker from Atlanta. His documentary Mary Crovatt Hambidge: Wanderer, Weaver, Utopian led him to his work on Lillian Smith. During screenings of that film audience members asked him if he had heard of Smith, and these questions led him, three years later, to research and produce the documentary on Lillian E. Smith. 

There will be a screening of Hal’s documentary at the Decatur Book Festival also on August 31: There will be a screening in Athens on September 19:

You can see a preview of the documentary Breaking the Silence, along with more information about the project, at the film’s website at

Teutsch to lead LES Center

Dr. Matthew Teutsch, who is currently lecturing at the University of Bergen in Norway as part of the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program, has been named Director of the Piedmont College Lillian E. Smith (LES) Center.

A native of Bossier City, Louisiana, Teutsch’s academic work explores how African-American authors imagine and represent the South in their works.

The LES Center, located in Clayton, Georgia, is the former home and property of Lillian E. Smith, a famed and sometimes controversial author who explored social injustice, segregation, and isolation in the 1940s South until her death in 1966. Through a generous donation in 2013, Piedmont College acquired the property, which is used as an artist retreat and educational center.

Teutsch has served at the Ernest J. Gaines Center at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette (ULL), an international center that focuses on the work of the African-American author. While there, he collaborated on day-to-day operations of the center, worked with archival materials, generated grant support, and participated in outreach. Teutsch, who will also teach part-time, earned his M.A. from the University of Louisiana-Monroe and Ph.D. from ULL. He succeeds Craig Amason, the center’s founding director.

“Dr. Teutsch has a unique and broad skillset that is well suited for the LES Center,” said Piedmont President James F. Mellichamp. “He will work to expand the reach of the center, which is a wonderful cultural and educational resource for the college.”

Teutsch will begin his work in May and move to the area with his family during the summer.

“I am excited about continuing the work that Lillian E. Smith started to fight social injustice,” said Teutsch. “I look forward to building, with the advisory board, upon the solid foundation that Craig Amason constructed during his time at the center.” 

Sarah Browning Wins 2019 Writer-in-Service Award

The LES Center is pleased to announce the winner of the 2019 Lillian E. Smith Writer-in-Service Award. Sarah Browning served for ten years as the executive director of Split This Rock, a national organization she co-founded based in Washington, D.C., the mission of which is to cultivate, teach, and celebrate poetry that bears witness to injustice and provokes social change. She was the associate director of The Fund for Women Artists (now WomenArts), providing fundraising and other support to women in theater and film. She was also the director of Amherst Writers & Artists Institute, which offers creative workshops and leadership development for low-income women and youth. Ms. Browning will receive a $500 honorarium, a $500 travel stipend, and a two-week residency at the Center. Congratulations, Sarah Browning!


LES Fellow presents paper at Southern Studies Conference

Emily Pierce, a Lillian E. Smith Fellow at Piedmont College, presented a paper last week at the Southern Studies Conference at Auburn University in Montgomery. Her presentation was titled "Personal and Societal Traumas in Lillian Smith's Killers of the Dream" and was part of a conference panel called Trauma in Southern Literature. Emily's paper is part of her senior capstone project, a requirement for her upcoming graduation as a Lillian E. Smith Scholar in May, 2019.
"The conference itself was a great experience," Emily said. "I attended panels discussing moments in Southern history as well as photography, art, and creative writing. Overall, it was an incredible experience, and I'm excited to continue my research as I finish up this project for capstone."

Web-based Resources to Accompany New Book on Lillian Smith

A new anthology of Lillian Smith’s work is being published by the University of Georgia Press in September, 2016.  Bringing together short stories, lectures, essays, op-ed pieces, interviews, and excerpts from her longer fiction and nonfiction, A Lillian Smith Reader offers the first comprehensive collection of her work and a compelling introduction to one of the South’s most important writers. The book is edited by Margaret Rose Gladney and Lisa Hodgens. The book is published in association with Piedmont College, which is also hosting a webpage to accompany the book containing a variety of electronic resources associated with Lillian Smith’s life and work. Here you will find audio files of Lillian Smith reading from her own work, along with photographs, text documents, video clips and more.


LES Scholars Program 

Piedmont College recently created a new academic program called the Lillian E. Smith (LES) Scholars Program. This program encourages students to fully explore the values and convictions that shaped the life and work of this great humanitarian. By developing skills of critical and creative thinking, enhanced by real-life experiences far beyond the classroom, LES Scholars emerge from this program with a heightened sense of empathy, innovation, and personal responsibility – qualities useful for a number of occupations in non-profits and human services. 

LES Scholars will be recognized for their achievements at Commencement. They will also be presented with a framed certificate and will be included in an alumni affinity group. Piedmont College is seeking donations for scholarships for the LES Scholars. We are grateful for annual donations that will support these exceptional students as well as major and planned gifts that can endow the scholarships in perpetuity.  Please contact Craig Amason, director of the LES Center, at if you are interested in supporting our students.



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