Rebecca Wells (emeritus)

Rebecca, best known for Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, a 1996 New York Times best-selling novel that became a 2002 feature film, is a native Southerner and longtime Bainbridge Islander who relocated to Nashville in 2016.  

Rebecca's novels, which also include Little Altars Everywhere, Ya-Yas In Bloom, and The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder, have been translated into 28 languages and sold more than 6 million copies. The former stage actress is currently at work on a memoir.

"A big shot of grace returned me to the South. A band of muscular guardian angels airlifted me off of Bainbridge Island in Puget Sound, Washington, and dropped me gently on the shores of the Cumberland River," Rebecca told Deep South magazine in 2016.  

"I’d been away from the South for almost 40 years when I realized that it was time to return. For a long time, I was seriously ill with Lyme disease. I’m not the first one to say that illness is its own country, so I lived inside the country of illness on an island about as far as you can get from the state of Louisiana without falling into the Pacific Ocean. I got well and then my long marriage ended, and after three years of grieving and letting go, I was ready for not just a new chapter in life, but a brand-new book."

She added: "The South welcomed me back to people smiling and making jokes in line at the post office, to people cutting up and playing and wanting to just have fun, thank you very much. The Pacific Northwest is a rainy, misty place of water and mountains, and when I moved there, a kind of hip zen, definitely my kind of politics. I love the clean air and the smell of the water and the lights of the ferry at night and the sound of the boat horn in the fog and the temperate climate. I needed that for three decades. I needed the distance from the South in order to look at the South—or the South that I had internalized, the South that I had to dissect, shift through, take the best and leave the rest. I could not have written four novels that take place in Louisiana if I had not lived that far away from the South."

For more about Rebecca's life and work, go to