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Oral Histories

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Lillia Callum-Penso

The Greenville News

Lillia Callum-Penso was born 1981 in Atlanta, Georgia. Callum-Penso attended the University of Georgia and majored in journalism, with a concentration in magazine journalism. After graduating from college in 2004, she began working with a weekly newspaper in Greenville. Because of her background in magazine reporting, Callum-Penso became a features reporter. Multiple restructuring of the newspaper shifted her focus to a multiplicity of topics. Throughout her career, she has written features about everything from home and garden to fashion.

Writing features allows Callum-Penso to explore communities and learn more about people within her town in a new light. In 2015, the company restructured again, and they hired her as a food writer. In addition to her food beat, Callum-Penso works a rotating breaking news schedule and helps on larger reporting projects, such as reporting on the 50th anniversary of the desegregation of Greenville Public Schools. While she writes about food, Callum-Penso doesn’t consider herself an expert in food. Like her past experiences at The Greenville News, she is interested in what the people behind the recipes can tell us about the community identity. Throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic, Callum-Penso juggled responsibilities of parenting and work.

Date of interview:

Michelle Little


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The Southern Foodways Alliance drives a more progressive future by leading conversations that challenge existing constructs, shape perspectives, and foster meaningful discussions. We reconsider the past with research, scrutiny, and documentation.


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