Letter to William Sutton

Erskine Caldwell (1903–1987) published twenty-six novels, sixteen collections of short stories, fifteen books of nonfiction, two children’s books, and a collection of poetry in a literary career that spanned seven decades. Born in Coweta County, Caldwell attended Erskine College and the University of Virginia,  beginning to write in earnest while at the latter. Two early stories caught the attention of legendary editor Maxwell Perkins, leading to the publication of Caldwell’s first book, the short story collection American Earth (1931). His two most notable titles are Tobacco Road (1932), considered by many critics to be one of the top one hundred English-language novels of the twentieth century, and God’s Little Acre (1933), which has sold over fourteen million copies. In 1984 Caldwell was elected to the fifty-chair body of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. According to the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame, his books have sold more than 80 million copies and have been translated into 43 languages. (Inducted as a charter member in 2000)