North Carolina Authors

University of Nebraska Press

M. Randal O’Wain’s memoir features standard ingredients of a classic country song: beat-up trucks, cigarette smoke, and a nostalgic father-son relationship. Yet at the same time, it manages to pull the rug out from under stereotypes of working class life in the South.

Violence soaks the pages of “Meander Belt: Family, Loss, and Coming of Age in the Working-Class South” (University of Nebraska Press/2019), not in gory detail, rather as a wry aftertaste.

Illustration of a pug in a santa hat.
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.

EPICENTER PRESS / 2017

When they got married, Weaverville residents Dennis and Christine McClure never dreamed they would write a book together. That was before they learned the harrowing tale of the construction of the Alaska Highway during World War II. The U.S. government feared an invasion from the north by the Japanese and needed a way to get troops and supplies to Alaska in eight months. Commanding Army officers were reluctant to hire black regiments for the project, but they needed the manpower.

Phillip Lewis

In the novel “The Barrowfields” (Hogarth/2017) a character named Henry grows up revering his literary father, a man who ensconced the family in a strange house on a hillside in western North Carolina. But his father’s dark unraveling pushes Henry away.

He abandons the sister and mother he had promised to protect and vows to stay away from his gloomy mountain hometown forever. But the ties of family and home prove stronger than Henry’s will to escape them both.