About Vereen M. Bell
Vereen M. Bell (5 October 1911 – 26 October 1944) was an American novelist and naval officer, who was killed on active duty during World War II.
Born in Cairo, Georgia, he graduated from Davidson College in North Carolina in 1932.
Bell wrote the novel Swamp Water set in the Okefenokee Swamp, which was originally published in 1940 as a serial in the Saturday Evening Post. The novel was successfully adapted as a film (B&W) of the same title in 1941 and again as a color film, Lure of The Wilderness, in 1952. Previously he had edited magazines and written short stories.
Bell continued writing during his service in the navy. In May 1944 he was observed pecking at a typewriter in a stateroom aboard the Gambier Bay. The working title of his last work was The Renegade Queen.
During World War II Bell was a lieutenant assigned to Composite Squadron VC-10 aboard the USS Gambier Bay (CVE-73) as an intelligence officer. On the day of the attack by Kurita's Center Force, October 25, Bell rushed to the ready room to put on his flying gear but was ordered by Commander Huxtible to remain on board. Bell survived the sinking of the Gambier Bay but succumbed to exposure and delirium sometime during the evening of the 26th.
Davidson College today awards the Vereen Bell Award for creative writing in his honor.