Kenan Visiting Writer Julia Ridley Smith’s memoir in essays, The Sum Trifles, was recently published by the University of Georgia Press.
“Smith’s wise and moving memoir in essays, The Sum of Trifles, peels back the layers of meaning surrounding specific objects her parents owned, from an eighteenth-century miniature to her father’s prosthetics. A vintage hi-fi provides a view of her often tense relationship with her father, whose love of jazz kindled her own artistic impulse. A Japanese screen embodies her mother’s principles of good taste and good manners, while an antebellum quilt prompts Smith to grapple with her family’s slaveholding legacy. Along the way, she turns to literature that illuminates how her inheritance shaped her notions of identity and purpose.”
Smith’s book has received glowing reviews. Read a review from the local publication INDY Week here.
Smith joined the Department of English and Comparative Literature this fall as the Kenan Visiting Writer. Sum of Trifles is Smith’s first book, and Smith’s short stories and essays have appeared in the Alaska Quarterly Review, American Literary Review, Arts and Letters, the Carolina Quarterly, Chelsea, Ecotone, Electric Literature, the Greensboro Review, the New England Review, Southern Cultures, and The Southern Review, among other places.
Read our ‘Meet the Faculty’ story on Julia Ridley Smith here!