Remembering novelist Anne Rivers-Siddons

Photo of Anne Rivers Siddons from the New York Times

The College of Liberal Arts at Auburn University is saddened by the passing of distinguished alumna, Anne Rivers-Siddons. Siddons was a novelist well-known for Heartbreak Hotel and Peachtree Road, among others. Siddons passed away at the age of 83 on Sept. 11, 2019, from a brief battle with lung cancer.

Siddons graduated from Auburn in 1958 with a degree in illustration and a minor in English and aspirations to be an illustrator and layout designer. Instead, she enjoyed an illustrious career as a writer and published 21 novels, most of which were set in Atlanta or surrounding areas. Heartbreak Hotel fictionalized her days at Auburn during the tumultuous civil rights period. The novel recounts the event of her firing from The Auburn Plainsman as a columnist and gives detailed insight into the Auburn experience of the past. The book was also adapted into the film “Heart of Dixie,” in 1989. 

In 2013, Siddons was recognized with the first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award from Auburn’s Women’s Leadership Institute (WLI). The award recognizes an Auburn University alumna who has achieved national acclaim over a lifetime of successful and sustained contribution to culture through arts, humanities, business or politics.

According WLI Director Dr. Barbara Baker, Siddons was selected because of her long and successful career as a writer, and because of her literary and artistic depictions of the South, Southern life, and particularly Auburn University.

“Anne Rivers-Siddons left us the great gift of having memorialized Auburn campus life and her own role as an exceptional student leader during desegregation in the mid 1950s,” Baker said and added that, “re-reading Heartbreak Hotel is a wonderful way to remember this outstanding alumna.” 

To view the obituary for Anne Rivers-Siddons, click here.

Last Updated: September 20, 2019