Greenville boasts “more published writers per capita” than any other town in the nation. Shelby Foote, historian, novelist and narrator/writer of PBS’s widely acclaimed Civil War series was born here. Poet and biographer William Alexander Percy, novelists Walker Percy, Ellen Douglas and Beverly Lowry and PBS commentator Hodding Carter III also grew up here. William Faulkner was a frequent visitor (and occasional resident) when another Greenville author, Ben Wasson, served as the Nobel Prize winner’s literary agent. Hodding Carter won the Pulitzer Prize as Editor of Greenville’s Delta Democrat Times. Bern Keating is Greenville’s most prolific penman with more than two dozen books and hundreds of articles in publications ranging from National Geographic to Playboy. The Percy Library Writers’ Exhibit is open to the public and contain artifacts chronicling our rich literary heritage. You have read their great works, now see the places that inspired them.
The park was established by Alice Bell Garden Club in 1946 and features the first arboretum registered in Washington County. The courtyard with its raised landscaped bed is an esthetic, secluded respite with benches, birdhouses, and butterflies. The Greenville Writer’s Garden features garden quotes from authors, such as William Alexander Percy, a premier writer of Greenville.
Arguably the most recognizable memorial in the Greenville Cemetery is The Patriot honoring Senator LeRoy Percy. Commissioned by Percy’s son, author and poet William Alexander Percy, the statue known as The Patriot is a life size bronze figure of a knight in armor against a wall of marble created by Mrs. Malvina Hoffman, a noted sculptor of New York.
Greenville’s extraordinary literary tradition has shaped more writers than any town of its size in the country. In the 20th century, more than 100 published writers called Greenville home. The Writers’ Exhibit houses original manuscripts and documents the accomplishments of Shelby Foote to Walker Percy.