Culture Influencers: Julianna Leachman

 Dr. Julianna Leachman, assistant professor of Literature, was recently awarded the Carson McCullers Society 2018 Outstanding Conference Paper Prize for her paper, “Hunchbacks and Idiots: Looking Towards Home in McCullers’ Ballad of the Sad Café and Dostoevsky’s The Idiot,” which she presented on the Marginalized Bodies and Alternative Affects panel at the biennial Society for the Study of Southern Literature (SSSL) conference in Austin, Texas in 2018. Dr. Leachman’s essay received the following commendation from the prize judges: “A truly impressive paper that says something new about McCullers’s most discussed work and themes. The comparison with Dostoevsky’s ‘The Idiot’ is convincing and provides an important and overlooked context for discussions of character, region, nonconformity and narrative silence.” In addition to a $100 honorarium, Dr. Leachman received public recognition though the Carson McCullers Society website, Facebook page and annual newsletter. This essay forms part of Dr. Leachman’s broader scholarship exploring the connections between literatures of Russia and the US South, which Carson McCullers identifies as a “cousinly resemblance” in her 1941 essay, “The Russian Realists and Southern Literature.”