Author Ellen Douglas has passed away at the age of 91. Douglas is best known for her 1973 National Book Award nomination for Apostles of Light. Douglas was 91 years old at the time of her death.
Douglas wrote under the pen name Josephine Ayres Haxton. Douglas in her later years said she took the pen name to protect her family. The author’s books dealt with issues of race and the roles of women, both controversial issues in her early years as a writer.
The famed author grew up in Hope, Arkansas and Alexandria, Louisiana but spent her summers in Natchez, Mississippi where her family roots extended for generations.
After graduating from the University of Mississippi in 1942, she would go on to craft a story about the mistreatment of residents at a home for the elderly, a story that would eventually be titled Apostles of Light.
Ellen Douglas passed away after suffering through an “extended illness.” The author will be buried in her native Nanchez.
Other works by Douglas include the 1979 novel The Rock Cried Out alongside her works A Family’s Affairs and Can’t Quit You, Baby. In many ways, Douglas was ahead of her time; for example, Can’t Quit You, Baby examined the relationship between a privileged white woman and a black woman well before The Help was even on Hollywood’s radar.
In 2008, the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters awarded the author with a lifetime achievement award.
Ellen Douglas is survived by sons Richard Haxton, Brooks Haxton, and Ayres Haxton.
Our condolences go out to Ellen Douglas’ family; the literary world has lost a truly talents and fearless author.