Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

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Driving down from Amelia Island, it took us two hours to reach our destination, Cross Creek, the home of author Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, most famous for her Pulitzer-winning novel, The Yearling, published in 1939. It was a truly magical place, an old farmhouse where the author lived, nestled in a verdant surrounding of orange groves and an endless variety of flora and fauna. Chickens roamed the grounds, adroitly escaping the advances of the tourists.
When Rawlings and her husband left the North to come to this rustic Florida enclave in 1928, she was already an experienced newspaper journalist, but it wasn’t until she settled into Cross Creek that her imagination came alive and her creative writing began. Her new home allowed her to “discover the mystic loveliness of childhood again,” after suffering through “long years of spiritual homelessness.”
Rawlings basically created a new regional genre capturing the lives and voices of backwoods Floridians, her neighbors in the Cross Creek area. She always remained respectful of her subjects, never looking down on them, as she depicted their lives and environment in captivating language that made her fiction so significant to the American literary community.
Many distinguished literary guests visited Rawlings at Cross Creek. They included Margaret Mitchell, Sherwood Anderson, Maxwell Perkins and Zora Neale Hurston, the latter being received graciously despite the context of the Jim Crow South. Gregory Peck was a house guest when the film version of The Yearling was being shot on the premises.
Rawlings passed away in 1953, and the property is now owned and lovingly maintained by the state of Florida. If you are ever in the area “leave the impersonal highway, to stop inside the rusty gate and close it behind,” and enter Cross Creek, a place of beauty, wonder and fascination.

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