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Cornelius, Kay 1933-

CORNELIUS, Kay 1933-


Born January 14, 1933, in Memphis, TN; married an aerospace contracts specialist; children: two. Ethnicity: "Caucasian." Education: George Peabody College of Vanderbilt University, B.A.; Alabama A & M University, M.Ed. Politics: "Independent." Religion: "Southern Baptist." Hobbies and other interests: Knitting, travel.


Agent c/o Author Mail, Chelsea House Publishers, 1974 Sproul Rd., Ste. 400, Broomall, PA 19008. E-mail [email protected]


Teacher in Huntsville, AL, 1956-86; teacher at a magnet school, 1986-90; writer.


Romance Writers of America, Authors Guild, National League of American PEN Women, Novelists, Inc., Alabama Writers Conclave, Alabama Writers Forum, Phi Delta Kappa, Delta Kappa Gamma.

Awards, Honors

Sullivan Award, Peabody College, 1952.


A Matter of Security, Barbour Publishing Co. (Ulrichsville, OH), 1995.

A Nostalgic Noel, Barbour Publishing Co. (Ulrichsville, OH), 1998.

Twin Willows, Barbour Publishing Co. (Ulrichsville, OH), 1999.

The Supreme Court, Chelsea House Publishers (Philadelphia, PA), 2000.

Francis Marion: The Swamp Fox, Chelsea House Publishers (Philadelphia, PA), 2001.

Chamique Holdsclaw, Chelsea House Publishers (Philadelphia, PA), 2001.

Edgar Allan Poe, Chelsea House Publishers (Philadelphia, PA), 2002.

Emily Dickinson, Chelsea House Publishers (Philadelphia, PA), 2002.

Pennsylvania, Barbour Publishing Co. (Ulrichsville, OH), 2002.

Love's Gentle Journey, Barbour Publishing Co. (Ulrichsville, OH), 2002.

Toni's Vow, Heartsong Presents (Uhrichsville, OH), 2003.

Anita's Fortune, Heartsong Presents (Ulrichsville, OH), 2004.

Mary's Choice, Barbour Publishing Co. (Ulrichsville, OH), 2004.

Alabama (novel collection), Barbour Publishing Co. (Ulrichsville, OH), 2004.

The Bell Witch Phenomenon, Barbour Publishing Co. (Ulrichsville, OH), 2005.

Contributor to anthology Promises and Prayers for the Military, Barbour Publishing, 2004. Contributor to periodicals, including Alabama Heritage, Tennessee Historical Quarterly, Tennessee Encyclopedia of History, Alabama Writing Teacher, Alabama Writers' Forum, Journal of Doublespeak, Event, Daily Blessing, Peabody Post, and Alabama Alitcom.

Work in Progress

Summons to the Chateau d'Arc, for Five Star.


Young-adult author Kay Cornelius has had a passion for words ever since she was a little girl growing up in the south. Today she is the author of novels for both adults and younger readers as well as works of nonfiction reflecting her interest in history. Her books include the juvenile biographies Francis Marion; The Swamp Fox and Chamique Holdsclaw as well as the historical novels Love's Gentle Journey, Anita's Fortune, and Twin Willows, all of which are Christian romances. Carolyn Janssen, writing in School Library Journal, praised Francis Marion for its "lively" narrative focusing on the man who led the British cavalry into the muck and mire of a South Carolina swamp during the American Revolution.

Prior to writing full time, Cornelius worked as an English teacher up until her retirement in 1990. She also wrote test units for the PSAT and College Board specialized-subject achievement tests, as well as reviewing the Board's English literature examination. As she told Something about the Author: "Like most authors, I was read to long before I started to school. Born Southern, I was surrounded by natural storytellers, and since my father ran the local 'picture show,' I also absorbed hundreds of movies. I loved working with words and finding new ways to express myself, so it was only natural that after winning a four-year college scholarship for a 750-word essay in a national contest, I should major in English and become a teacher.

"While I continued to write sporadically, my present writing career grew out of my participation in the National Writing Project at Auburn University in 1981. The intensive writing led me to combine my love of historical research and story-telling to produce my first novel, Love's Gentle Journey. Since its publication in 1985, it has been almost constantly in print. After I retired from teaching in 1990, I started writing full-time. I approach each new project with prospective readers in mind. I want my work to be entertaining as well as informative and inspiring.

"It's satisfying to conduct writing workshops and mentor authors. I tell them writing is hard work, but seeing their name in print on something that will live on after they are gone is well worth the effort."

Biographical and Critical Sources


Publishers Weekly, January 18, 1999, review of Twin Willows, p. 336.

School Library Journal, July, 2001, Carolyn Janssen, review of Francis Marion: The Swamp Fox, p. 118.


Heartsong Presents Web site, (October 22, 2004).

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