The Oxford, Mississippi newspaper The Oxford Eagle, confirms
the death of writer Barry Hannah, author of Geronimo Rex and High Lonesome. Hannah was 67 and the head of the MFA program in creative writing at the University of Mississippi. He authored eight novels and short stories. He died just a few days before the Oxford Conference for the Book, which will now be dedicated to him and his work. The New York Timesreports:
The Lafayette County coroner told The A.P. that Mr. Hannah died Monday afternoon of "natural causes," but declined to elaborate until he had provided details to the author's wife, Susan. The coroner said the death was not under investigation.
Mr. Hannah's first novel, Geronimo Rex, the unsparing coming-of-age story of the high schooler Harry Munroe, was nominated for a National Book Award and won the William Faulkner prize after its publication in 1972. His 1996 short story collection, High Lonesome, was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, and his work is to be among the subjects of the coming Oxford Conference on the Book, which begins on Thursday.
The author Richard Ford, a friend, told The A.P.:
"Barry could somehow make the English sentence generous and unpredictable, yet still make wonderful sense, which for readers is thrilling. You never knew the source of the next word. But he seemed to command the short story form and the novel form and make those forms up newly for himself."