Monday, March 27, 2017

Manly Wade Wellman: The Voice of the Mountains


Manly Wade Wellman never penned an autobiography, despite the fact he published 500 stories and articles, won the World Fantasy Award and Edgar Allan Poe Award, and even edged out William Faulkner to win the Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine Award in 1946.

Yet, in one of his most famous short stories, Wellman did reveal how he must have seen himself throughout his career, from a crime reporter for The Wichita Eagle, to Assistant Director of the WPA’s Folklore Project in New York City, and finally as “the dean of fantasy writers.” In “The Desrick on Yandro,” the protagonist, John the Balladeer, has to sing for his supper to a group of “ladies and men in costly clothes.” Confident and entertaining despite his modest attire and outsider ways, John charms the crowd with forgotten classics, including “Rebel Soldier.” Like John the Balladeer, Manly Wade Wellman was a rustic but worldly singer of old ballads, as well as a walking, talking ambassador and promoter of traditional Southern culture wherever he went.


  1. Good article. Don't know if you've read the Wellman stories before, but if you haven't, Baen Books has a collection of the Silver John stories, which are among his best works. Another one of his works well worth reading is Rebel Boast: First At Bethel, Last At Appomattox, based on the diaries of five Confederate soldiers.

    1. Rebel Boast: First At Bethel, Last At Appomattox

      Thanks and must be Tar Heels! :)