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“I saw her sitting by herself at a writer’s conference one time after I’d published my first novel, and I took my little glass of white wine over to sit with her,” Shearer told AP. “She held up her glass of bourbon instructionally, and then eyed my white wine sardonically, and said, `You got to do better than that.’”

Douglas was writer-in-residence at the University of Mississippi from 1979 to 1983. One of her creative writing students was Larry Brown, an Oxford firefighter who later wrote “Big Bad Love” and other gritty novels set in the South. Brown died in 2004.