North Carolina Literary Review

This journal is both a scholarly journal and a literary magazine. It publishes poetry, fiction, and nonfiction by North Carolina writers, as well as interviews, articles, and essays about the state's authors, literary history, and writing culture.


No. 27, Annual

The Famous and Infamous
When I saw Margaret Maron pick up our call for submissions at the North Carolina Writers Conference last summer, I pounced. A retrospective on her Deborah Knott series, which she'd recently finished, would be just perfect for this issue's special feature...
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From Manteo to Murphy: A Writer's Personal Journey
MY SECOND AGENT had successfully sold several of my books set in Manhattan, so when I told him that I wanted to place a mystery in rural Johnston County, his first response was to fly down from New York to check it out for himself. As the ultimate cosmopolitan,...
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ALLAN GURGANUS is well known in the state of North Carolina and beyond for his excellent works of fiction, including Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All, White People, Plays Well with Others, and, most recently, Local Souls. (1) But many are now...
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A Moment on Hooper Lane: How We See, How We Are Seen: "Nothing Says Faith in the Future to the World as Powerfully as a People's Abiding Protection of the Clean Air, Clean Earth, Clean Water in Its Domain."
I. The first of March six years ago warmed to an unseasonably high seventy-eight degrees in Chapel Hill, an overcast day with wind out of the west, gusting to thirty. I stood out upon a front porch at the east end of Hooper...
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Transcendentalism in the Albemarle: The Case of W.O. Saunders
"I am persuaded that my office as a country newspaper man is not to try to drive a few individuals into doing right, but to try to hold up the torch to all the people that they may know the truth and recognize that which is for their greatest good."...
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"Into the Vast Unknown'? the Changing Ending of Paul Green's the Lost Colony
Start with a paradox. In the 1930s, local promoters tried to put Depression-era Roanoke Island on the map with a pageant about people who had gone off the map. Playwright Paul Green was commissioned to write The Lost Colony as the story of English attempts...
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Therese Anne Fowler and Maligned Women: Setting the Story Straight on Zelda Fitzgerald and Alva Vanderbilt Belmont
It was a dark, rainy Sunday afternoon in my lonesome North Carolina State University office as I sat writing this head note to an interview with one of my favorite North Carolina writers-and a favorite human being in general. Suddenly, a retweet came...
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When I opened Vivian Howard's Deep Run Roots cookbook, I wondered if she would come across as vivacious and as fresh and as honest on the page as she does in her PBS television show, A Chef's Life. (1) On her show, the camera courts Vivian: you see her...
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Bringing North Carolina Literary Treasures, Old and New, to Light
When he created the North Carolina Literary Review, Alex Albright had the wonderful audacity to invite A.R. Ammons to be "staff poet," and each of the issues under Alex's editorship include original Ammons poems. Not a North Carolina native myself, I...
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Orphans and Outcasts: The Novels of Angela Davis-Gardner
Angela Davis-Gardner has published four strong and highly lauded novels. They differ from one another in regard to settings, characters, and storylines, yet these elegant books share persistent thematic concerns. Each of them addresses outsiders, a personage...
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Allan Gurganus and His Dildoes
Several years ago, Margaret Bauer, that dynamo in whom all efforts in curating North Carolina's literary heritage seem to converge, asked me to speak at one of the many wonderful gatherings sponsored by East Carolina University and the North Carolina...
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Allan Gurganus: Two Tributes
Adapted from tributes at the North Carolina Writers Conference Rocky Mount, 29 July 2017 Allan Gurganus and the Idea of Home by Jane Holding When I first met Allan Gurganus in the summer of 1969, he was briefly home from the Navy. He had been gone...
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Seven Years ON A Farm
WE ARE ACCUSTOMED TO PLAYING IN OUR ONE-BEDROOM APARTMENT OR A SMALL BACK YARD. NOW, WE ARE TWO BIRDS LET OUT OF A CAGE, AND WE RUN IN CIRCLES AROUND MAMA. My father is beaming as we walk across a pasture washed in honeyed light. This summer afternoon,...
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The last time I visited my granddaddy in the nursing home at Black Mountain, I fed him a Frosty, little plastic spoonfuls he gummed and hummed around his tongue and his last few teeth. He was ninety, fully, finally relishing what he considered luxuries....
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No. 26, June

Writing + Art + Music = Creative Synergy
The discovery that Charles Frazier's Cold Mountain has been adapted into an opera inspired this year's special feature section topic: North Carolina Literature and the Other Arts. Particularly since the opera was a theme instigator, I was thrilled when...
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Cold Mountain: A Journey from Charles Frazier's Magnum Opus to Jennifer Higdon's Magnum Opera
FROM THE FIRST THOUGHT OF WRITING an opera to the highly anticipated world premiere, the journey of Cold Mountain by American composer and Pulitzer Prize winner Jennifer Higdon lasted approximately a decade. Although she is one of the most well-known...
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Miller Road
Winter had lost its hold on the pasture. The melted snow revealed brown and brittle remnants of milkweed and bull thistle, six months past their summer peak of strength and thickness, just dull footnotes of an old season. My brother and I stepped through...
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Special People and Special Collections
I have long known the value of a strong mentor, and I never pass up an opportunity (like right now) to express my appreciation of Dorothy Scura, who guided me as I launched my PhD program and then my career. I recognized similar appreciation of Betty...
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Betty Adcock: Two Appreciations
Adapted from tributes at the North Carolina Writers Conference Greensboro, 30 July 2016 "not afraid of the dark" by Noel Crook I'm honored to speak on behalf of Betty Adcock's students about what makes her remarkable, not just as a teacher of poetry,...
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A New Voice Tells an Old "Love Is Love" Story. (Miscellany)
As soon as Fiction Editor Liza Wieland recommended publication of Jim Coby's interview with Matthew Griffin, I read the author's debut novel, not wanting any spoilers as I edited the interview. So before you read the interview, do yourself the favor...
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Make Believe with Utter Conviction: An Interview with Garth Risk Hallberg
By any measure, Garth Risk Hallberg's novel City on Fire was one of the major literary events of 2015, garnering positive reviews from The New York Times and The New Yorker, a splashy profile in Vogue, and (perhaps the best indicator of New York publishing...
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