Rivenbark, Celia

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Rivenbark, Celia

PERSONAL:

Born in Duplin County, NC; married; husband's name Scott; children: Sophie.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Wilmington, NC. Office—Sun News, P.O. Box 406, Myrtle Beach, SC 29578. E-mail—[email protected]; [email protected]

CAREER:

Journalist. Sun News, Myrtle Beach, SC, news reporter and freelance columnist. Also worked as a reporter and photographer for the Wallace, NC, Enterprise, and Wilmington, NC, Morning Star.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Nonfiction Book of the Year Award, Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance, for We're Just Like You, Only Prettier: Confessions of a Tarnished Southern Belle; James Thurber Prize nomination, 2001, for Bless Your Heart, Tramp, and 2005, for We're Just Like You, Only Prettier; recipient of numerous awards for journalism, including a national health journalism award.

WRITINGS:

Bless Your Heart, Tramp, Coastal Carolina Press (Wilmington, NC), 2000.

We're Just Like You, Only Prettier: Confessions of a Tarnished Southern Belle, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2004.

Stop Dressing Your Six-Year-Old Like a Skank: And Other Words of Delicate Southern Wisdom, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2006.

SIDELIGHTS:

Humorist and journalist Celia Rivenbark is best known for her three collections of syndicated columns and essays based on the writing she has done for the Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Sun News: Bless Your Heart, Tramp; We're Just Like You, Only Prettier: Confessions of a Tarnished Southern Belle; and Stop Dressing Your Six-Year-Old Like a Skank: And Other Words of Delicate Southern Wisdom. Her work focuses on the vicissitudes of Southern life, ranging from marriage and motherhood to the weather and your child's day at school. ‘Rivenbark has a wicked sense of humor and a sharp observational eye,’ declared Shannon Bloomstran on Bookreporter.com. ‘I feel that I finally have some insight into the personality of my mother-in-law, born and raised in the heart of North Carolina. I'll have to try out my newfound knowledge the next time we go to visit her ‘and them's.’"

Rivenbark was raised in rural North Carolina. ‘Her grandparents' house, just across the ditch,’ as stated in an article posted on her home page, ‘had the first indoor plumbing in Teachey, NC, and family lore swears that people came from miles around just to watch the toilet flush.’ Early experiences with the Raleigh, North Carolina, News & Observer gave her an ambition to become a newspaper reporter. After several years of college, she went to work for the Wallace, North Carolina, Enterprise. After an additional eight years, she moved on to the Wilmington Morning Star. Finally, ‘having met and married a cute guy in sports,’ according to an article posted on her home page, ‘Celia found herself happily knocked up at age forty and, after twenty-one years, she quit newspapering to stay home with her new baby girl."

Rivenbark's syndicated column ‘From the Belle Tower,’ emerged from her new life. Her first collection of columns and essays, Bless Your Heart, Tramp, sets out her observations about local and national culture and about being a first-time mother at age forty. ‘Her wit,’ wrote Joyce Dixon in the Southern Scribe, ‘will have you holding your sides as she recounts southerners in rare snow storms, womanless wedding events, and beer can attire.’ ‘Rivenbark's observations,’ Library Journal contributor Audrey Snowden stated, ‘are quirky and entertaining but rarely scathing."

In We're Just Like You, Only Prettier, Rivenbark continues to reveal her vision of Southern living. ‘Her humorous view of life in the modern South mixed with traditions of hospitality,’ Joyce Dixon explained in her Southern Scribe review of the book, ‘will have you howling and turning the page.’ ‘The most mundane situations become laugh-out-loud scenarios,’ declared a Publishers Weekly contributor. ‘Rivenbark is a hoot, and her book will be best enjoyed while listening to the Allman Brothers Band and eating ‘a plate of, what else? collards and cornbread.’"

Stop Dressing Your Six-Year-Old Like a Skank deals with one of the most contentious issues facing mothers today: struggling with their daughters over choice of clothes. ‘I just went off on the notion that these clothes are inappropriate, these hoochie-mama Las Vegas showgirl clothes marketed to kids who are as young as seven,’ Rivenbark told Macleans interviewer Kenneth Whyte. ‘There were all these sequined, sparkling midriff tops, lots of fishnet, shirts saying things like Jailbait, Made Ya Look or Juicy on the bottoms of the pants.’ It was, she concluded, ‘pretty disgusting.’ ‘This is a hilarious read,’ opined a Publishers Weekly critic, ‘perhaps best enjoyed while eating Krispy Kremes with a few girlfriends."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Library Journal, April 1, 2006, Audrey Snowden, review of Bless Your Heart, Tramp, p. 94.

Publishers Weekly, November 3, 2003, review of We're Just Like You, Only Prettier: Confessions of a Tarnished Southern Belle, p. 64; June 12, 2006, review of Stop Dressing Your Six-Year-Old Like a Skank: And Other Words of Delicate Southern Wisdom, p. 41.

ONLINE

Bookreporter.com,http://www.bookreporter.com/ (October 8, 2007), Shannon Bloomstran, review of We're Just Like You, Only Prettier.

Celia Rivenbark Home Page,http://celiarivenbark.com (October 8, 2007), author biography.

Macleans Online,http://www.macleans.ca/ (October 8, 2007), Kenneth Whyte, ‘Interview with Celia Rivenbark: The Columnist and Author of Stop Dressing Your Six-Year-Old Like a Skank, Talks."

MotherReader,http://www.motherreader.com/ (October 8, 2007), review of Stop Dressing Your Six-Year-Old Like a Skank.

Southern Scribe,http://www.southernscribe.com/ (October 8, 2007), Joyce Dixon, reviews of Bless Your Heart, Tramp and We're Just Like You, Only Prettier.