Born in Ecru, Mississippi Kenneth Holditch graduated from Southwestern University in 1955 with honors in English. He received his MA (1957) and his PhD (1961) in English from the University of Mississippi. His was the first PhD granted at Ole Miss.
He taught in the English department at the University of New Orleans from 1964 until his retirement in 1993. He is the author of a play Tennessee Williams and his Women which was chosen for dramatic readings at Lincoln Center in New York. He is co-founder of the William Faulkner Society. He was one of the founders of the Tennessee Williams Literary Festival in New Orleans and in Clarksdale. He created and led the Literary Walking Tour of the French Quarter beginning in 1974.
For several years, he published and edited the Tennessee Williams Literary Journal. He has written numerous essays about such authors as William Spratling, Lillian Hellman, John Kennedy Toole, and John Dos Passos. Book publications include Tennessee Williams and the South (2002), Galatoire’s: Biography of a Bistro with Marda Burton (2004), and The World of Tennessee Williams with Richard Freeman Leavitt (2011). He has edited many other books as well.
Among his awards are the Southern Fellowship Award from Duke University, Louisiana Teacher of the Year, the Lifetime Achievement Award from Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, the Tennessee Williams Delta Literary Festival Award, and the Columbus, Mississippi Tennessee Williams Scholar Award. His in-depth talks are carefully researched and highly provocative. But when he drifts away from his notes, the talk becomes something else—a work of art full of salient details and original anecdotes that only Kenneth could collect.
Writer Richard Ford says of Dr. Holditch: “Kenneth has written about, taught, given countless talks and lectures about not only Tennessee Williams, but Faulkner, Lafcadio Hearn, John Kennedy Toole, Kate Chopin, Berry Morgan, Eudora as well as people I don't even know about. I was moved this fall when he gave—on zoom—his yearly introductory talk to the Tennessee Williams events in Clarksdale. There's no stopping him. He's been a fountain of good works for a long, long time. A person of his talents, and dedication to Mississippi, doesn't come along every day.”