Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
1989 Florida Folk Heritage Award
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (Cross Creek) was a young journalist from New York when she moved to the Florida hammocks of Cross Creek in 1929. Rawlings became an orange-grower, a fisherwoman, hunter, and most importantly, a writer who celebrated her adopted home in novels and short stories. She discovered the rugged and proud lives of the Crackers and African Americans who were her neighbors. Combining this discovery with her talent as a writer, she made her first sale to Scribner’s magazine in 1931. She was a lifelong friend of editor Maxwell Perkins, and was friends with Robert Frost, Ernest Hemingway, Zora Neale Hurston, and Margaret Mitchell.
Rawlings was one of Florida’s most celebrated writers, having published The Yearling, South Moon Under, and Cross Creek about the people and the country of central Florida. More than the fame and fortune brought to her by the best-loved stories and novels, her life was enriched by the abiding love she had for her adopted land and its people. Rawlings is in the Florida Arts Hall of Fame and her home is open to the public at Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park. Rawlings did a great deal to tell the world about the folk culture of Florida through her internationally acclaimed books.