Gwinnett novelist wins award

By Jill Vejnoska

Lawrenceville writer Mary Anna Ogden Bryan recently won the prestigious 2014 Ferrol Sams Award for Fiction. The prize, part of the annual Mercer University Press Book Awards, comes with a publication contract for Bryan's novel, "Cardinal Hill."

Lauded by the judges for her "talent for description" and for a story that "speaks authentically to a specific time and place in the South," Bryan set her novel in a family full of secrets in the 1930s and '40s. The lead character, Margaret, lost her artist mother soon after she was born, and no one will tell her much about her. Her close friend, Lily May, daughter of the family's housekeeper hints at why  -- "....there may be stuff 'bout your momma folks oughtn't to know" -- but that's not enough to deter Margaret, who sets out to uncover her mother's dark secret while also trying to keep her own truth buried within.

Bryan grew up outside of Augusta, where she got an early start as a published writer, producing a weekly column of teenage news for the Augusta Chronicle. The former high school English teacher and mother of four grown children graduated from Agnes Scott College and completed graduate work at the University of Georgia.

"Cardinal Hill" will be published in spring 2016.