Friday, January 15, 2016

J. Max McMurray

J. Max McMurray (b. Roanoke, Alabama, 28 September 1908; d. Roanoke, Alabama, 3 January 1966)

James Max McMurray was the youngest of five children of William Harmon McMurray (1868-1954) and his wife Correna Eldorado Reaves (1868-1937)  He had three older sisters and one older brother.

McMurray attended Auburn University and the University of Virginia, before finishing up at Delta State College, in Cleveland, Mississippi, in 1932. His first novel, and only published book, The Far Bayou, was published by Rinehart and Company in September 1951. Around the time of publication, McMurray wrote:  “Cleveland is in what a certain writer referred to as ‘the adorable Delta’, a country unto itself, and one that has attracted many races and creeds. It is in the Delta that I have spent most of my adult life, with vacations on the Mississippi and Alabama coasts. The Far Bayou was begun in Cleveland and finished in Attalla and Roanoke. I have published no other fiction.  I am now living in Roanoke and working on another novel.”  McMurray published nothing else, and died unmarried. Oddly, The Far Bayou is today collected primarily because its the dust-wrapper was designed by Philip Grushkin (1921-1998), one of the major New York book designers from the 1940s through the 1980s.

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