Winthrop professor & novelist Scott Ely has died

11/01/2013 11:07 PM

11/01/2013 11:16 PM

A Winthrop University professor, novelist and Vietnam War veteran died Thursday after a series of illnesses, according to information provided by his family.

Scott Ely, a longtime English professor at Winthrop and an acclaimed author of several books and anthologies, was 69.

He and his wife, retired Winthrop English professor and poet Susan Ludvigson, split their time between homes in Rock Hill and France after Ely joined the campus community in 1987.

Ely wrote hundreds of short stories and was known for his sniper novel “Starlight” which he wrote from his experience as a soldier in Vietnam.

Other notable works include “Pitbull,” “A Song for Alice Loom,” “Plumb’s Bluff,” “The Dream of the Red Road,” “The Elephant Mountain” and “Eating Mississippi.”

Ely was born in Atlanta and raised in Jackson, Miss. He earned degrees from the University of Arkansas, including a master’s in fiction where he used “Starlight” as his thesis.

His career awards include an invitation to residency at Chateau de Lavigny in Switzerland; a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship; the Rockefeller Fellowship to Bellagio, Italy; and the Charles J. Finger Award in Fiction by the University of Arkansas Press.

One of his short stories, “Lady of the Lake,” was featured in an edition of the Best American Short Stories. His stories were featured in publications such as “The Antioch Review,” “The Southern Review,” “Shenandoah,” “Gettysburg Review,” “Kansas Quarterly” and “The Ohio Journal.” His works received starred reviews in the New York Times, Publisher’s Weekly, The Washington Post, Kirkus Reviews and Booklist.

Ely “taught generations of South Carolina students,” said Gregg Hecimovich, Winthrop’s chair of the English department.

“He was a consummate artist and very successful writer. He’s greatly missed.”

A drop-in event for faculty, staff, students and friends of Ely will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. on Sunday at his Rock Hill home, 330 Marion St.

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