Terry Kay, author of ‘To Dance With the White Dog,’ dies

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April 29 2021 07:00 pm

Terry Kay, a native of Georgia who won fans at home and abroad for his novels set in the South, has died. He was 82.

His death on Saturday was announced on his Facebook page. A post on the page October 25 said Kay had been diagnosed with Stage 4 liver cancer. His daughter, Heather Kay Flury, confirmed the news toThe Atlanta Journal-Constitution. She did not immediately respond to a Facebook message seeking comment on her father’s death.

Kay was born in Hart County, Georgia, on Feb. 10, 1938, one of 12 children. After graduating from LaGrange College, he began his career in journalism at the weekly Decatur-DeKalb News. He later worked at the Atlanta Journal as a sportswriter and a film and theater critic.

Kay was perhaps best known for his 1990 novel “To Dance With the White Dog,” which helped establish him as one of the South’s leading writers. According to Kay’s website, the book was inspired by the author’s parents. It is the story of an octogenarian and a mysterious white dog that comes to live with him following his wife’s death. The book earned Kay the Outstanding Author of the Year award in 1991 from the Southeastern Library Association. In 1993, it was presented as a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie for CBS television and sold 2 million copies in Japan.

Kay’s first novel, published in 1976, was “The Year the Lights Came On,” which was inspired by Kay’s recollections of electricity arriving in his rural farming community. “The Valley of Light,” published in 2003, won both the 2004 Townsend Award and the Best Fiction Award from the Georgia Writers Association.

He also received the Georgia Writers Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011 and was inducted into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame in 2006.

Kay’s website says translations of the author’s fiction have been published in Japan, Korea, Spain, Portugal, France, Germany and elsewhere.

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