Gwin has been a writer all of her working life, starting out as a newspaper and wire service reporter and working in Mobile, Atlanta, Nashville, and Knoxville. The Queen of Palmyra, her first novel, was selected as a Barnes & Noble "Discover Great New Writers" book and by IndieBound as an Indie Notable book. The Women's National Book Association selected it as one of 13 "Great Group Reads" for 2010. It was hailed by Lee Smith as "the most powerful and also the most lyrical novel about race, racism, and denial in the American South since To Kill a Mockingbird," and Jill McCorkle calls it "a brilliant and compelling novel ....The beauty of the prose, the strength of voice and the sheer force of circumstance will hold the reader spellbound from beginning to end."
Wishing for Snow, Gwin's memoir about the convergence of poetry and psychosis in her mother's life, published in 2004, was hailed by Booklist as "eloquent" and "lyrical"--"a real life story we all need to hear." It is coming out in paperback in June 2011 from HarperCollins. As a literary critic, she has written three scholarly books (one a CHOICE book of the year) and is a coeditor of The Literature of the American South, published by W.W. Norton, and the Southern Literary Journal. Gwin teaches at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is working on a book on Mississippi civil rights activist Medgar Evers and a collection of stories called Sweethearts.
Gwin's reading and discussion is co-sponsored by the International Student & Scholar Center, the Women's Resource Center, the Women's Studies Program, and the Departments of English and Portuguese.