Author

a headshot of Ann Patchett at her bookstore, Parnassus Books in Nashville
Heidi Ross/Harper Collins

Everyone has particular childhood memories that stand out and shape the story of who they are. But how reliable are these memories, and when should we let them go? These are some of the questions plaguing siblings Danny and Maeve Conroy, the two central characters in author Ann Patchett’s new novel, “The Dutch House” (Harper/2019).

a headshot of De'Shawn Charles Winslow
Julie R. Keresztes/Courtesy of Bloomsbury Publishing

Azelea “Knot” Centre is an independent, strong-willed woman who likes to live life on her own terms. She is an unabashed alcoholic who refuses to comply with societal norms, like marriage. Her next door neighbor, Otis Lee, is a close friend who tries to “fix” Knot by trying to convince her to settle down and live a more traditional life.

'We do this because the world we live in is a house on fire and the people we love are burning.'  - Sandra Cisneros
Courtesy of Keith Dannemiller

Sandra Cisneros is best known as the author behind the literary classic “The House on Mango Street,” a book that has been translated into over twenty languages. She has penned poetry, short stories, novels and essays. These days, beyond writing, the acclaimed author is spending a lot of time listening. 

Gene R. Nichol author of the book, 'The Faces of Poverty in North Carolina: Stories from our Invisible Citizens'
Elyse Ribbons / WUNC

Some day-to-day experiences alert people of poverty in their community: long lines at the food pantry, individuals asking for change near a freeway exit, or family members juggling multiple jobs. But legal scholar Gene R. Nichol believes that the experiences of day-to-day poverty experienced by more than one million North Carolinians are invisible to most. 

Many Americans know fascism as an authoritarian ideology which blossomed in early 20th century Europe — first with Italian dictator Benito Mussolini and later with Adolf Hitler and the rise of Nazi Germany. But historian Michael Joseph Roberto argues that while Mussolini and Hitler were capturing the world’s attention, a type of fascist ideology was also taking hold in the United States, although the system looked different.

Roberto says monopoly-finance capitalism and the dominance of big business over personal liberties is America’s own mutation of fascism. He articulates this argument in the book “The Coming of the American Behemoth: The Origins of Fascism in the United States, 1920–1940” (NYU Press/2018). Michael Joseph Roberto is a former professor of contemporary world history at North Carolina A&T State University, an activist and a former journalist.

Frank Harmon sketch of Wesley U.M. Church in Jacksonboro, South Carolina.
Courtesy of Frank Harmon

Frank Harmon has made a career of designing buildings that reflect their owners and the landscape. In 2013, the architect started a blog to celebrate the beautiful and often humble designs he encountered. The process for the posts was rather simple: 

Best-selling North Carolinian author Allan Gurganus.
Courtesy of Roger Haile

Allan Gurganus is a New York Times best-selling author whose work has been seen on both television and the Broadway stage. The TV adaptation of his novel “Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All” won four primetime Emmy awards, including a best supporting actress win for Cicely Tyson. He built much of his career telling stories of the old South, but in his early days Gurganus was an aspiring artist who studied painting at the University of Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. 

The 1960s was a time of great social change, and Frye Gaillard was there to capture it in his new book, 'A Hard Rain.'
Courtesy of Frye Gaillard

Prolific journalist and writer Frye Gaillard’s latest book takes readers back to a time of profound political and cultural change: the 1960s. Gaillard was a young teen in middle school at the start of the decade, and by the end he was working as a reporter. In those years he witnessed firsthand the power and dynamism of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr., both of whom were assassinated in 1968. 

Cover of the book, 'Sugar Run' by Mesha Maren.
Courtesy of Mesha Maren

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. 

Courtesy of Hal Crowther

Hal Crowther has a fascination with getting people’s stories right, especially after they are gone. It started with the death of his beloved great-grandmother Mary Ann Naylor Crowther. When the 94-year-old passed away, he realized that deceased people are often “defenselessness as others tell their stories and rank their accomplishments.” 

A map of the U.S. from Jacqui Castle's new novel, 'The Seclusion.'
Jacqui Castle / Inkshares

What if the United States built walls along its borders with Mexico and Canada? That is the premise of a new, young adult dystopian novel that imagines what an isolationist United States would look like in the year 2090. 

Cover image of Wedding Bell Blues, a new mystery novel by Ruth Moose
Courtesy Ruth Moose

An eccentric yet beloved, homeless bride-to-be, her freshly-murdered fiancé and an evasive white rabbit are some of the residents of Littleboro, North Carolina, a town where mysteries abound. They are also the conjurings of author Ruth Moose, that come to life in her new book “Wedding Bell Blues” (Minotaur Books/2016).

Host Frank Stasio talks with Moose about developing her cast of characters, and about picking up where her last book left off, a book she first wrote more than 25 years ago. 

"The Making Of A Racist"

Aug 17, 2016
Book cover of "The Making of a Racist," by Charles Dew
Charles Dew

Like any good historian, Charles Dew was trained to conduct his research in a scientific fashion, setting aside any personal perspectives in his scholarship.

But after more than 50 years of teaching Southern history, he finally turned inward. His new book describes his experiences growing up on the white side of the color line in the Jim Crow South.

Augusten Burroughs

Author Augusten Burroughs has a habit of making the private public. His memoir “Running with Scissors” (Picador/2003) traces his chaotic childhood with a mother with mental illness, and his eventual guardianship by her psychiatrist. His best-selling book “Dry” (Picador/2013) chronicled the painful outcomes of his drinking and drug use, and detailed his tumultuous journey to sobriety. Burroughs' newest book tackles an even more intimate topic: love. “Lust and Wonder” (St.

Julia Dahl grew up in an interfaith household, which informs her work now as a novelist.
Chasi Annexy

Novelist Julia Dahl grew up in Fresno, California, as the daughter of a Jewish mother and Lutheran father. Dahl says contrary to her peers' assumptions, the experience did not confuse her as a child, but gave her a rare outsider's view of both religions.

A photo of Clyde Edgerton
Brent Clark

 

Author Clyde Edgerton has written 10 novels, a book of advice, and a memoir.  Three have been made into movies, and several have made it to the stage.

 

The North Carolina native has written about small-town bigotry, religious hypocrisy and greed but in a darkly comic vein with a focus on characters.  Edgerton is also a musician and a professor of Creative Writing at UNC Wilmington.

Mary Kratt in rhododendron at age 6
Mary Kratt

Historian and author Mary Kratt grew up in the countryside surrounded by trees, the occasional quail hunter and not much else. As a little girl she spent a lot of time on her own and became a keen observer of her surroundings and other people, and she says that’s exactly why she is a successful poet today. 

Kratt has authored six poetry books and a number of books and essays on Charlotte history.

Image of Michelle Miller, the author of 'The Underwriting,' a corporate satire of Wall Street and Silicon Valley.
Sasha Israel

Michelle Miller’s life has taken her from her hometown of Asheville to the depths of two important economic engines in America – Wall Street and Silicon Valley.

She studied business at Stanford, got a job at financial giant JP Morgan, and then gave it all up to become an author. She wrote a 12-part online serial last year, drawing on her experiences from the financial and tech worlds.

Image of Allison Leotta, who wanted to show the ways the criminal justice system does and doesn't work in her books.
Allison Leotta

Allison Leotta was a federal sex-crimes prosecutor in Washington D.C. for more than a decade. Every day when she came home from work, she would think to herself, “I can’t believe what I saw today…someone should write about this.”

She began writing in the mornings before work and at night when she got home. In 2011, Leotta left the Justice Department to write full-time. She has now written four novels about a prosecutor named Anna Curtis, and people often refer to Leotta as “the female John Grisham.”

Image of bookstore
Flickr/ Chris Alcoran

    

The digital age sparked a public discourse about the fate of the independent bookstore. 

Commercial giants like Barnes & Noble and Amazon loom large, but the American Booksellers Association (ABA) says the tides may be turning. They report that more than 400 new independent bookstores have popped up around the country since 2009. 

The ABA hosts its 10th winter institute in Asheville this week, featuring publishers, authors and booksellers from around the country. 

Ron Rash's new book Something Rich and Strange is composed of 34 of his best short stories written over the past 20 years.
http://www.harpercollins.com/9780062349347/something-rich-and-strange

    

Many know North Carolina author Ron Rash for his novel Serena which was  turned into a film starring Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper.

Expect to be good for nothing for a long time after you read Ron Rash. His writing is powerful, stripped down and very still: It takes you to a land apart, psychologically and geographically, since his fiction is set in Appalachia.

What would an author write on the "thank you" page of her novel if she was telling the truth? Pittsboro author Ruth Moose wrote the acknowledgments of her debut novel, Doing It At the Dixie Dew, with a candor atypical of many authors.

  

In his debut novel, Chapel-Hill based author Michael B. Jones explores a tumultuous relationship between a father and son who search for happiness and identity as their lives fall apart around them.

The Skin Collector book cover
hachettebookgroup.com

    

Needle phobia is a popular fear, so it is a natural place for a horror writer to start. Author Jeffery Deaver added darkness and poison to the mix in his new book, "The Skin Collector"(Grand Central Publishing/2014). The novel's villain kills his victims in New York City's subterranean tunnels by tattooing them with poison. Detectives try to decipher a message in the tattoos. Jeffery Deaver will be reading at Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill tonight at 7pm and at Quail Ridge Books tomorrow at 7:30pm. 

Author Wiley Cash smiling outside
photo by Tiffany B. Davis http://www.wileycash.com/

Wiley Cash's latest novel, "This Dark Road to Mercy," is set in his hometown  of Gastonia, N.C. 

Algonquin Books

    

William Faulkner may be one of the most well-known writers of the 20th century. But you might not associate his name with southern literature if not for Louis Rubin

Rubin helped develop the genre of southern literature in its own right. A well-respected writer, an adored teacher and the founder of the Southern Literary Journal and the Society for the Study of Southern Literature, Rubin is regarded as one of the icons of southern writing.

Tanglewood Books

  

John Stanley has been telling stories to his twin boys since they were old enough to listen.

When his children started reading chapter books, he kicked his storytelling up a notch and started writing a book. Stanley's debut work, "Mickey Price: Journey to Oblivion" (Tanglewood Press/ 2013), features children traveling to the moon. Host Frank Stasio talks with John Stanley about penning his first book.

http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1366560170l/17605531.jpg

    

For more than 25 years, author Allan Gurganus has written about the mystical town of Falls, North Carolina.

In his newest book, "Local Souls," the town undergoes its most modern transformation (Liveright, 2013). Gurganus returns to Falls with three different novellas that explore love, community, and family. Host Frank Stasio talks with Allan Gurganus about "Local Souls."

This week is Banned Book Week -- a time to reflect on censored works of literature.  Last week, the Randolph County Board of Education banned the novel “The Invisible Man,” by Ralph Ellison from school libraries.

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