How can you return to a place that was once home? That question is at the center of the new novel “Sugar Run” (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill/2019). Protagonist Jodi McCarty was sentenced to life in prison for manslaughter when she was 17. Eighteen years later, she returns to her home in the Appalachian Mountains after her release, and on her way home Jodi meets and falls in love with a young mother named Miranda. She brings Miranda back to West Virginia and tries to get a fresh start while grappling with her past.
Host Frank Stasio talks to author Mesha Maren about her debut novel, her upbringing in West Virginia, and her father’s work with incarcerated women. Maren is the 2018-2019 Kenan Visiting Writer at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She will be reading from her book at Malaprop’s Bookstore in Asheville on Jan. 8, at Scuppernong Books in Greensboro on Jan. 10, and at Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill on Jan. 11.