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Author Elizabeth Spencer, 92, Offers Advice For Young Writers

In 1960, Elizabeth Spencer became a southern literary icon with the release of her novella, "The Light in the Piazza." The film version of the book starred Olivia de Havilland.

More than fifty years after her acclaimed Italian love story, Spencer is still writing.  Her newest collection of short stories is "Starting Over" (Liveright, 2013).

All of the narratives in the book stem from her two southern homes: Mississippi and North Carolina.

Spencer is widely admired by writers around the country. She says, though, that a writer must always have faith in his or her own gifts:

"Oh my heavens, I was brought up in a next of the finest writing in the world! William Faulkner was nearby and Eudora Welty was actually a friend of mine in Jackson. So how do you write against such a tide as that? Well, you don't. You just try to be yourself and write the best you can." -Elizabeth Spencer on The State of Things With Frank Stasio

Elizabeth Spencer moved to Chapel Hill in 1986 and taught creative writing at UNC-Chapel Hill until her retirement. Her first book was published in 1948.

Spencer reads at The Regulator Bookshop on January 16th.

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Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.