This article originally appeared on SouthernLiving.com.
Southerners are a literature-loving group of people. We’re also a bunch of sentimental pack rats who never throw away the books that charmed us or even harmed us a little. Instead, we proudly display them on our bookshelves as a badge of honor to prove that we made it all the way through Faulkner’s lengthy and complex Absalom! Absalom! There are other novels that we’ll never get rid of because we’ve grown so intrigued with a character (and his future) like Binx from Walker Percy’s The Moviegoer. A strange fellow, yes, but we just can’t part with him. That would be like erasing that talented, but slightly off-course friend of yours from Facebook. You want to check in with them occasionally for clues that they are on the up and up. These are just two of the sentimental reasons for why there’s a predilection in the South to name our babies after our favorite Southern authors. We are also guaranteeing them a lifetime of easy icebreaker questions at a cocktail party and confusion in the Starbucks line. Alas, read along for our favorite baby names inspired by Southern authors.
A famed female Georgia writer, Carson McCullers wrote The Heart is a Lonely Hunter and Member of the Wedding.
Dora or Eudie
A nod to the acclaimed Mississippi writer Eudora Welty who wrote the captivating and highly visual novel Delta Wedding. It’s no surprise that she was also a talented photographer.
An obvious homage to the wonderfully quirky and Gothic Georgia-writer, Flannery O’Connor. She penned great short stories including “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” “The Life You Save May Be Your Own,” and endless others. If you don’t want to be so obvious, simply try Connor.
No list is complete without Harper Lee, the private genius behind To Kill a Mockingbird.
The first name of author Chopin, writer of Louisiana-based novel, The Awakening.
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The middle name of Robert Penn Warren, the Kentucky born author of the Pulitzer Prize winning All the King’s Men.
The surname of one of the greatest Southern writing clans of all time.
The last name of writer Katherine Anne Porter. Katherine Anne is too subtle of a reference in the midst of the double name monikers overwhelming Southern school directories. It works for boys and girls.
Not the Shelby from Steele Magnolias, but Shelby Foote who wrote the three volume set, The Civil War.
A cheeky ode to super writer of today, Donna Tartt.
Probably best to use this name if you live outside the state. Beware though, most people will assume you are following in Reese Witherspoon’s steps. However, those close to you will know how much you admire Tennessee Williams who created Blanche and A Streetcar Named Desire.
As in Percy. His best known novel is The Moviegoer with its memorable character Binx.
Wendell or Berry
Either the first or last name of Kentucky writer, Wendell Berry, would be a good start for raising a grounded child. Berry’s novels and short stories focus on the land.
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The oldest of the Percy clan, the Mississippi Delta planter wrote Lanterns on the Levee. He also raised his nephew Walker.
The powerful first name of Neale Hurston (two other great names), the author behind Their Eyes Were Watching God.