Spartanburg’s Susan Beckham Zurenda gives us the spring novel, “Bells for Eli” (Mercer, $25), set in fictional Green Branch, S.C., in the 1960s and ‘70s. It’s a tale of first cousins — a boy and a girl — and their devotion and forbidden love. Sandra Conroy calls it “a stunning debut.”
After teaching literature, composition, and creative writing to thousands of high school and college students for 33 years, Susan turned her attention to putting a novel in her heart on paper, the genesis of which started with a short story that won a fiction prize some years ago. She is delighted to present her debut novel, Bells for Eli, to readers on March 2, 2020. During her years of teaching at Spartanburg Community College and then as an AP English teacher at Spartanburg High School, Susan published short stories and won numerous regional awards such as the South Carolina Fiction Prize (twice), the Porter Fleming Competition, The Southern Writers Symposium Emerging Writers Fiction Contest, The Hub City Hardegree Contest in Fiction, Alabama Conclave First Novel Chapter Contest, and The Jubilee Writing Competition (twice). Since 2018, she has published six stories in literary magazines.