Born in Magnolia, Mississippi, to William and Elizabeth Lacy, Martha Lacy attended Whitworth College for Women in Brookhaven from September 1941 to June 1943, earning an associate’s degree. She then married Robert Sherrill Hall Jr. and went on to have three children. Her conventional start in life and profession, including her first publication, An Historical Sketch of Magnolia, Mississippi (1956), belied the dedication to southern writing that she demonstrated through her influence as an editor for Louisiana State University Press from 1968 to 1978 and subsequently as managing editor. Among her projects at the press was the Pulitzer Prize–winning novel A Confederacy of Dunces (1980) by John Kennedy Toole. She retired from the press in 1984.
Hall’s power of storytelling came to light with the publication of Call It Living: Three Stories (1981) and the subsequent collection Music Lesson (1984). Her finest literary achievement can be found in the short story collection The Apple-Green Triumph, and Other Stories (1990), published by Louisiana State University Press. The title story earned an O. Henry Award in 1991, bringing her national recognition. Originally published in the Virginia Quarterly Review (1990), “The Apple-Green Triumph” describes the main character’s journey in her late husband’s ancient British sports car, a Triumph, to retrieve her errant younger brother, who is returning to Mississippi for his twin sister’s funeral. Hall skillfully uses Welty-like humor in both character development and dialogue and creates strong southern female characters.
She died on 1 November 2009.
- Martha Lacy Hall obituary, www.charlestonfunerals.com
- Whitworth College for Women Archive, Lincoln-Lawrence-Franklin Regional Library, Brookhaven, Miss.