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Allan Gurganus’ ‘A Fool for Christmas’ Makes It To Print

Illustration of a pug in a santa hat.
Allan Gurganus
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''A Fool for Christmas'' (H&B Press/2019) includes watercolors by Allan Gurganus.

Fifteen years ago, Allan Gurganus gifted NPR listeners a 22-minute meandering tale from the perspective of a mall pet store manager during the holidays. The beloved North Carolina writer’s twinkle-eyed reading of “A Fool for Christmas” developed into a yearly tradition at The Regulator bookshop in Durham.

Now, the oral tradition lives on in a watercolor-illustrated and bound print chapbook on sale at independent bookstores and at Horse & Buggy Press. The novella is a collaboration between Duke Press, the Duke Special Collections that house Gurganus’ papers, Gurganus himself, and Dave Wofford of H&B Press. Host Frank Stasio talks with Gurganus, author of numerous books and winner of a Guggenheim fellowship and the Lambda Literary Award, about his modern fable. Dave Wofford joins the conversation to share the process behind designing the print-version of Gurganus’ now famous Christmas story. In addition to designing “A Fool for Christmas” (H&B Press/2019), Wofford curated a satellite gallery exhibition in downtown Durham.

Grant Holub-Moorman coordinates events and North Carolina outreach for WUNC, including a monthly trivia night. He is a founding member of Embodied and a former producer for The State of Things.
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.
Josie Taris left her home in Fayetteville in 2014 to study journalism at Northwestern University. There, she took a class called Journalism of Empathy and found her passion in audio storytelling. She hopes every story she produces challenges the audience's preconceptions of the world. After spending the summer of 2018 working in communications for a Chicago nonprofit, she decided to come home to work for the station she grew up listening to. When she's not working, Josie is likely rooting for the Chicago Cubs or petting every dog she passes on the street.