Kind Words

Kind Words


“Thank you for a lovely story. It’s still hard for me to take in the fact that two generations have now read Mockingbird, which is most gratifying. Your kind words have made an old woman very happy.”

  Harper Lee
About Southern Journal
“Meeting Harper Lee”

"To darling Nancy Dorman-Hickson, my co-author, for your talent and sweetness–you went above and beyond with your dedication, resilience, and prowess."


Joanne King Herring, author
Diplomacy and Diamonds

“Nancy is a skilled collaborator and brings journalistic gifts to gathering and highlighting the people she writes about. She uses her considerable organizational skills to uncover, then place, just the right piece of information in just the right spot to enhance the client’s narrative. She is deadline focused and steady under pressure, always working toward the goal with polite determination. Her dedication, deadline-orientation and patience make working with her a pleasure. I recommend her and know she will be a blessing to any project she undertakes.”

  Adrienne Ingrum, Manuscript Editor,
FaithWords/Center Street,
Hachette Book Group


“Thank you for your kind words, your kind spirit, and for everything. … it’s crystal clear to me that you understand who I am and what this book is about. I don’t know how I got so lucky to get you.”

  Lauretta Hannon, author
Cracker Queen: A Memoir of Jagged, Joyful Life

“I smiled as I read your note in which you wrote, I hope that you were pleased with the Gatlinburg story… Pleased…?  I was ecstatic, Nancy!!  Such a well-written story and in such a highly-read publication as Endless Vacations… it doesn’t get much better than that!  In fact, I’ll have to count it as our best print of 2010; maybe we should start an award program…the Smoky Mountain Pulitzer!!”

  Walter Yeldell, tourism manager
Gatlinburg Department of Tourism
and Convention Center

“We LOVED the article! You really brought our mission and organization to life with your article on ‘A Matter of Trust.’ Our experience working with you was like a ‘homecoming.’ Your professional and very personable personality made our experience over the top and effortless. You gathered the information from many sources and did an incredible job of telling our story.”

  Julie Beach
Tennessee River Gorge Trust
Chattanooga, TN

“Mary and I and all of us here at Mary Engelbreit Studios enjoyed your story about Mary so much, and the photos are wonderful. Thank you so much for including her.”

  Katey Charles
Mary Engelbreit Studios

“I have read and enjoyed your magazine for many, many years but I don’t remember tear drops dropping onto an article before. Thank you for sharing the gift of Miss McCarty’s Amazing Grace with us. Many of us can never be the same again.”

  Sarah Gass, Southern Living reader
Knoxville, Tennessee

“I can’t imagine how often a journalist has the opportunity to write an article that will ultimately help, maybe even save a child’s life … You have caught the essence of my work & brilliantly portrayed it in words. It is a great talent and I can’t thank you enough. This exposure will go a long way towards helping me bring light and healing to many little souls.”

  Regina Marscheider
Spectrum Puppets
Virginia Beach, VA

“Have you ever read someone else’s story and been so moved and so motivated and so jealous that you wish you had written it yourself? That’s exactly how I feel this moment after immersing myself in the ‘Get Thee to the Nunnery’ story. Thank you for the retreat, thank you for the kick in the derriere, thank you for reaching out and reminding me about life, computers, writing, and the connectedness of what’s important.”

  Annette Thompson, travel editor
Southern Living magazine

“What a wonderful article! It’s hard to believe you could capture the essence of the collection [of items shaped like cheeseburgers] so well. Hmmm, now that it‘s out of the bag, I wonder if I‘ll hear from Jimmy Buffet‘s people…”

  Renee Grant Williams,
collector of cheeseburger items
Nashville, TN

“Nancy Dorman Hickson’s story ‘Get Thee to a Nunnery’ attracted a lot of attention, even nation-wide. We have had more than 100 direct inquiries about the kind of program which she described with such sensitivity…It was discussed at the national meeting of Retreats International in October–and calls came to that office at Notre Dame, too. Nancy evidently touched a chord of search in the hearts of lots of people.”

  Sister Eleanor Harrison, O.S.B.
Director, Benedictine Spirituality
And Conference Center
Cullman, Alabama to
SL Editor John Floyd

“I usually hold my breath when the media does something about us. But your article held the spirit.”


Sister Mary McGeeHee
Benedictine Spirituality and
Conference Center
Cullman, Alabama

“All of us at Vanderbilt Voice Center want to express our sincere appreciation for the marvelous article you wrote on the Voice Center. You did a wonderful job capturing the essence of the Center…We are especially grateful to you for your generous interview schedule and expertise in writing the story…For you I’m sure it’s just every day work, but we still appreciate the professional approach you took in every aspect. To date, we have had several organizations do special stories on the Voice Center, but yours is an example of how it should be done.”

  Robert H. Ossoff, D.M.D., M.D.
Executive Medical Director
Thomas F. Cleveland, Ph.D.
Director of Vocology
Vanderbilt Voice Center

“Since the magazine hit the newstands here in Tennessee, my phone has not stopped ringing. Each one tells me what a beautifully written article it is and how you managed to tell our story in such an entertaining manner. Your ability to use language is a rare gift indeed. (My wife) Mary, (our dog) Ziggy and I could not be more delighted with the outcome, although there is some question whether my true abilities can measure up to your wonderfully chosen words. This is a special article that will always remind us of the maturation of our dream–HGTV.”

  Ken Lowe
President/Chief Executive Officer
Home & Garden Television
Knoxville, TN

“Congratulations on as concise and solid a piece of reporting as this old ex-journalist has seen in a long time [Healing Hands at Hilton Head-Dr. Jack McConnell’s program].”

  Frank Karel, vice president, Communications
The Robert Wood
Johnson Foundation

Princeton, NJ

“Thank you so very much for sending a copy of the Progressive Farmer article [on the making of a beef commercial]. I found it charming, amusing and informative. Also, thanks for the picture.”

  Danny Ducovny, film director
Venice, CA

“Exhaustively researched; comprehensive in scope; smoothly written; enlivened with good quotes, illustrated with compelling case studies—I’ve never read anything on rural medicine and health care as good as this batch of stories.”

  Judge’s Evaluation for
American Agriculture Editors Association Competition
Submission: Rural Health’s
Vital Signs

“I just walked back into my office amazed at what the last 24 hours have held. It was so nice to meet and work with you these last two days. It was like being with an old friend.”

  Julie F. Beach
RiverTrust Gorge
Chattanooga, TN

“Thanks to you and Southern Living for such a terrific story! Great job! We just returned from a spur of the moment trip to Thailand. Now that you’ve ridden in [Ron’s open cockpit plane] Cloud Chaser, you should seriously consider an elephant ride!”

  Ron and Sue Lowery
Windsock Media
Chattanooga, TN


 “Refuse to accept [Nancy’s] resignation [from Southern Living]. Just tell her no. Southern Living is the only magazine in America where a writer can read a review of a book without finding their own blood in the water or their intestines hanging out on a clothesline to dry. Kindness to writers is a high and honored tradition at Southern Living and that tradition exists nowhere else on earth as Nancy will find out if she has a post retirement life as a novelist. Wish her Godspeed and send her my thanks, my thanks, my thanks.”

  Pat Conroy

“Well, the world of Southern letters will be a whole lot poorer because Nancy won’t be hovering over us all, placing her kind, thoughtful hand on our poor little books. It’s not easy to be a great book reviewer without tearing the writers down, without writing hit pieces–but Nancy has done it, and wonderfully well. She has brought her readers her very best, every month, year in and year out, never sugar-coating the problems in the books she reviews, but always looking for what is good and true and useful.”

  Mark Childress

“As a writer who is still early in his career, I want to thank you for being an advocate for those of us who are trying to establish a readership. Being featured in Southern Living was a highlight. In fact, when my publicist called to tell me that Slow Way Home was the selection of the month, I was driving to the next stop on the book tour and literally jumped in the seat of my car. As I told her, ‘This magazine is like the Bible in the South.’”     

  Michael Morris

“You have written lovingly of books and authors, inviting and encouraging readers to share your passion and joy in literature, and for that God himself will bend your wings over fair lands in the days ahead.”

  Sonny Brewer

“Nancy, after my seventh book was reviewed in Southern Living, my husband finally believed I was a real writer. See what wonders you have performed!”

  Ann B. Ross

“I will miss [Nancy], but if she sneaks up and knocks me off a bestseller list someday, I’m gonna be really mad. Seriously, thank you for all the care and consideration you have given to writers, and readers.”

  Rick Bragg

“Thank you so much for all the years you’ve spent making Southern books a part of Southern Living and reminding people that Southern books are part of Southern life.”

  Elizabeth Dewberry

“It was a pleasure to be interviewed by you. You wrote a remarkably wonderful article. I wish you much happiness and success with your writing.” 

  Sue Monk Kidd

“I hope I took the time from tour hell to say how much I appreciated the SSG [Same Sweet Girls] article! I’ve heard lots of good things about it.”

  Cassandra King (Sandra Conroy)

“I just wanted to thank you so much for doing a fantastic job with the river piece–you are the only interviewer who ever got it all right! I appreciate your interest and really enjoyed our talk.”

  Lee Smith, author
The Last Girls

“An L.A. producer, Blue Andre, read your review and immediately ordered the book from After reading it, she found a way to get in touch with me to discuss possible film rights. A couple of months later, Columbia Tri/Star optioned the novel. All the while, I kept thinking: ‘I’ve got to remember Nancy in my will.’”

  Mary Kay Remick, author
Searching for Blanche


"Great presentation handled with grace and style, and humility. Down to earth speaker willing to share information to help anyone writing a book or telling a story."

  Pat Taylor
Sonshine Writers Member
Hueytown, AL

"Your approach in presenting yourself and how you got involved in this book project was so people-friendly, warm and encouraging—especially to a new (late life) ‘writer.’"

  Wanda Rutherford
Sonshine Writers Member
Hueytown, AL

“Wonderful presentation—extremely informative and interesting, with a good dose of entertainment value.”

  Alabama Media
Professionals attendee

“Ghostwriting & Co-Writing”

“Presentation was very well done—informative and inspiring. The book [Diplomacy and Diamonds] sounds fascinating and I’m looking forward to reading it.”

  Alabama Media Professionals attendee
“Ghostwriting & Co-Writing”

“Thank you so much for visiting with our magazine writing class today. I’m glad I was able to gain some insight from someone who has extensive magazine writing experience.”

  Amanda Marsh
East Tennessee State University student

“The students are so enamored with you! They were reviewing the things they learned and kept talking about how much they admired you, loved your tips, etc. Guess you’ll have to be a regular speaker at ETSU (East Tennessee State University) now!!”

  Deborah Lowery
Freelance Journalist and Teacher
Mountain Home, TN

“Once again, we had a fabulous Writers’ Weekend at the Biltmore. Our three guest authors (David Baldacci, Billie Letts, & Nevada Barr) were delightful. Nancy Dorman-Hickson did a wonderful job helping to host the event. In her role she spoke about Southern Living and introduced the authors–she did a great job. As always, her help with and support of this event made it truly a stellar experience for our guests.”

  Teresa W. Lux,
director of marketing

Southern Living

“I just wanted to express again my delight with the weekend at the Biltmore Estates. It was one of the best experiences I’ve had in a very long time, and I was extremely impressed with the work you achieved.”

  Terry Kay, author

“Wanted to thank you for inviting me, and Rita, to Southern Living’s excellent event at The Biltmore. It was far more enjoyable and inspiring than I imagined it would be…You did an outstanding job with your introductions and your presentation, as well.”

  Peter Jenkins, author
Walk Across America

“You’re a fantastic person! Thanks so much for taking such good care of Paulette and me all weekend and making us feel so special.”

  Robert Inman, author
Writers Weekend presenter

"Hope these photos bring back fond memories of your visit to Savannah…and time spent with the Publishers Association of the South. We greatly appreciate your taking time out of your busy schedule [to speak to our group]…and your talent!”

  Pat Sabiston, president
Publishers Association of the South


“You’ve been on my get-in-touch-with-list for a week. You could have really chewed me out for not making that piece work—lots of editors would have. Instead, you went out of your way to let me know you appreciated the leg work I put into it—something you certainly weren’t obligated to do. My life would be a lot easier if there were more editors like you out there.”

  Freelance writer 
Knoxville, TN

“Thank you for the great editing you did on the Mary Jo’s Cloth Store article for the June issue of Southern Living. Your suggestions made a difference, and I appreciate you taking the time to work with me. I look forward to working with you in the future.”

  Freelance writer
Charlotte, NC

“Thanks for handling things so quickly and efficiently. Paul [Ruffin’s] Southern Journal on the Big Top Circus lady was a great find by you, and thanks for that, too.”

  Dianne Young, executive editor
Southern Living magazine

“Just wanted to express my appreciation for the extra measure of kindness and patience you have shown to me during my try at a Southern Journal story. I am sure dealing with sensitive, over-anxious writers all day can be a challenge! Your helpful suggestions and encouragement made this experience so much easier than I imagined.”

  Mary Kim Bryan Glover, circulation
Southern Living magazine

“I don’t think a day has gone by since last March that I haven’t thought of you with the deepest gratitude in my heart. I hope you have felt a glimmer of it despite my communication negligence. My business has flourished in ways I never would have suspected. I don’t worry about the phone ringing…ever!”

  Terri McClernon, owner
The Food Fairy
Chapel Hill, NC


“Called ‘America’s Deadly Harvest,’ the series on farming accidents was cited by the judges as an ‘outstanding example of analytical and expository journalism that brings exceptional clarity, interpretation and insight to its subject.”

  Time Warner internal publication
Regarding National Magazine Award nomination for farm safety series

“As you probably know, our magazines have been nominated for nine National Magazine Awards, which is quite a feat. In fact, it’s the most nominations ever garnered by one magazine company. So we decided to run the attached as a full-page ad in The New York Times and AD Age. The editorial staffs of Time, Money, People, Life, Entertainment Weekly and Progressive Farmer deserve our praise and our gratitude. We know you join us in congratulating them. As the ad says, they have made all of us proud.”

  Reg Brack & Jason McManus
Time Warner, Inc.


“Everyone at Southern Progress Corporation was very proud of the Rural Education series. To win an Oscar in Agriculture makes it even more special. Boyd Kidwell, Nancy Dorman-Hickson, and Des Keller did an excellent job writing this series as did all the PF staff members that helped put it together. Please congratulate your entire staff for the continuing great job they do to make Progressive Farmer the best agricultural magazine in the country.”

  Don Logan, vice president
TimeWarner, Inc.

“It was announced in New York today that Progressive Farmer’s series on Farm Safety has been selected as a finalist in the National Magazine Awards. This is the most prestigious magazine competition in America. The series was entered in the Public Interest category against all magazines—including the giant-circulation weeklies. [Other finalists in this category are Family Circle, US News & World Report, New Yorker, and American Health.]”

  Tom Curl, editorial director
Progressive Farmer magazine

“I was working on a profile about Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley. While doing some background work, Grassley’s press secretary told me about a bill the senator was sponsoring called the ‘Farmer/Reservist Fair Treatment Act.’ It was written by Sen. Howell Helfin [R-AL] to help farmers serving in Operation Desert Storm. The bill protects a farm’s acreage base, offers a temporary waiver in meeting conservation requirements, prohibits foreclosure, and permit’s a spouse or close relative to sign up for farm programs in the absence of the farmer/reservist. Heflin got the idea for the bill after reading your story [‘Gulf Crisis Hits Home: The Ones Left Behind’]. It’s not often that a story forces such immediate action. I’ve heard you all did the story under a pretty deadline, but obviously real good has come from it.”

  Dan Miller, regional editor
Progressive Farmer

“Last Friday in New York, Progressive Farmer received a Merit Award from the American Values Community Action Network for the series on rural education. This was a nationwide competition involving journalistic coverage of issues relating to quality of American life. Progressive Farmer competed against many large-circulation consumer magazines that entered articles about subjects such as school drop-outs, drugs and alcohol, etc. Progressive Farmer was the only farm magazine that received an award.”

  Tom Curl, editorial director
Progressive Farmer

“Congratulations on your recent recognition as the best in the business—Oscars in Agriculture winner. We know the competition is always fierce which should make you proud of this award. Of equal importance to the honor you received for outstanding effort, is the quality of reporting issues, thinking, and writing you bring to your daily work.”

  Robert Pritchard, pr manager
Dekalb-Pfizer Genetics

“Undoubtedly the most attention getting piece [Dangerous/Deadly Harvest article] I have ever seen in close to 20 years of reading Progressive Farmer. I am sure many lives will be changed for the better due to this outstanding piece and the one to come next month.”

  Andrew Giesen,
Progressive Farmer reader

Defiance, MO

“Your article on America’s Deadly Harvest was read in our home with many tears. My sister’s husband was fatally wounded while on his way to cut wood for their home wood burning stoves. He was 40 years old. Oh, how we miss him! I sat down with our two oldest sons today and read every word of your article to them. I wanted them to understand how easy it can be to get killed. Thank you for your timely article. I hope everyone reads them and it moves them into action too. Also, I handed the magazine to my husband, opened to page 23, and asked him to read the letter you provided. Maybe he will listen. God bless you.”

  Tina Fenley, PF reader
Muscatine, Iowa

“I just read your article in Progressive Farmer and I am almost shaking. Just last week I let my young son ride on the tractor with me while I was mowing. I was almost through mowing and he had walked to the end of the lane and just wanted a ride back with Dad. I let him hop up and sit on the fender of my old 9N Ford, where he would be ‘safe.’ We continued to the barn without incident. This will never happen again at my place. Be assured you have possibly saved the life of my child and countless others.”

  Mike McRae
Progressive Farmer reader

“Working with you was one of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve had as editor of Progressive Farmer. Your professionalism, attention to detail, ability to meet deadlines, and high quality of work all contributed to this enjoyable experience. I particularly appreciated your efforts in the farm safety arena and with Countryplace. Your excellent work with the farm safety section led directly to the farm safety camps. Contributions from individuals must be measured by more than mere collections of articles. Also, we must measure a person by what they bring to the table with their work ethic, their ability to work with others, and their character. In each of these cases, you maintained the highest standards.”

  Jack Odle, editor
Progressive Farmer magazine

“It is a special pleasure to let you know that your entry, ‘Rural Health’s Vital Signs,’ has been selected for recognition as a winner in the highly competitive magazine category of the Oscars in Agriculture program.”

  James F. Evans
Office of Agricultural
Communications and Education

University of Illinois at

“Let me be the first to congratulate you for having won the BMC [Baptist Medical Centers] Excellence in Health Reporting Award for Best Series.”

  Bill Gerdes, director
Corporate Media Relations

“Hats off to the Progressive Farmer staff for an arresting and impactful treatment of farm safety. Sometimes an editor’s weapon should be shock value. This was one of those times and it worked.”

  Earl Ainsworth, Editor
Farm Journal
(Progressive Farmer’s competition)

“While reading the September Progressive Farmer, I became progressively shocked, angered, prayerful, and tearful…and finally, deeply thankful! Thank you for telling these shocking stories. The issue was an eye-opening, shocking, disgusting, frustrating, angering, sickening…and, thankfully, a powerfully hard-hitting issue.”

  Jim Adams, Progressive Farmer reader
Pink Hill, NC

“Enclosed is a copy of my back-to-school section, with many credits to UAB. The briefing with UAB professors coordinated by Nancy Dorman-Hickson was, as you all said, very, very, very useful. Without it, I honestly don’t know what else would have gone in the edition.”

  Amy E. Cates
LifeStyles Editor
Daily Mountain Eagle
Jasper, AL

“Thank you for an outstanding job recently in handling the public relations for the UAB Accounting Department. You have covered special graduates, special donations, special students, me… I am delighted at the number of outlets that have run your articles and the quality of your work. The ultimate was in getting the Mayor to proclaim last week as Accountancy Week. Your writing of the Resolution was a work of art. It’s almost unbelievable that a non-accountant could recognize what should have been included. I have felt for the last month that you worked for us exclusively.”

  Loudell Robinson, Ph.D., CPA, CMA
Chair and Professor
UAB Department of Accounting