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Happy birthday John Ehle! The author’s renowned novel “The Land Breakers” is reprinted

No mere novelist, Asheville-born writer John Ehle is considered “a master of the American language.” Among his 17 books, including both fiction and nonfiction, seven works of historical fiction were set in the Appalachian mountains. From that collection, The Winter People was made into a film of the same name, staring Kurt Russell and Lloyd […]

BETWEEN THE LINES: "It’s really about getting down to the basics of what Dickinson was about,” says Carol Kessler of her one-woman show about the poet. Photo courtesy of Kessler

“Emily Dickinson Unplugged” Chautauqua performance benefits Pan Harmonia

“Presentiment is that long shadow on the lawn / Indicative that suns go down,” wrote Emily Dickinson. “The notice to the startled grass / That darkness is about to pass.” The 19th-century poet lived in Massachusetts and was a prolific writer, but fewer than a dozen of her poems were published while she was living. […]

KNOW HOW: "We’ve all heard — and possibly given — the advice 'Write what you know,'" says Peter Turchi in his new book, A Muse and a Maze. "But that implies that one knows quite enough. … So the better advice might be, 'Know what you write.' And know it as deeply, as comprehensively, as possible. Then acknowledge the remaining mystery." Photo by Dana Kroos

Word problems: Peter Turchi’s book A Muse & a Maze explores the puzzles of writing

It’s been a number of years since Peter Turchi lived in Asheville — he’s now based in Houston — but Western North Carolina still finds its way into his writing. “I tend to write more about places that I’ve left,” says the former director of Warren Wilson College’s MFA program. “The stories that I’m writing […]

SHORE THING: The Canoe revisits the Titanic disaster from two points of view: a widow on board the ocean liner and a teenage boy living near the Chesapeake Bay.

Michelle Baker publishes non-traditional novel The Canoe

Local author Michelle Baker writes poems that sometimes reach 15 or 20 pages in length. But when one hit the 40-page mark, “I thought, ‘This isn’t going to stop anytime soon,’” she says. That poem grew and morphed and eventually became The Canoe, a novel that weaves together two lives touched by the sinking of the Titanic in 1912. Baker gives a reading and signing at Malaprop’s on Saturday, Nov. 15

GENEAOLOGY OF A SONG: From left, Wayfaring Stranger authors Doug Orr and Fiona Ritchie interview the late folk musician Pete Seeger. Photo by Darcy Orr

Wayfaring Strangers traces the evolution of Appalachian music

When Fiona Ritchie (the presenter of NPR’s long-running program, “The Thistle and the Shamrock”) first came to North Carolina, “people heard my accent and they’d say, ‘Oh, I’m Scots-Irish,’” she remembers. “I was confused. I thought they meant one parent was Scottish and one was Irish. It took me a wee while to realize this […]

NATURAL SELECTIONS: WNC-based authors (clockwise from top left) Kathryn Stripling Byer, Wayne Caldwell, Catherine Reid and Thomas Rain Crow speak about setting prose and poetry in wild places. Byer's photo by Corinna Byer, other photos courtesy of the authors

In quotes: Creative Perspectives on Wilderness writers panel

Six writers participated in a panel on Friday night as the final installment in the three-part Within the Lines: Creative Perspectives on Wilderness. The exhibit and monthly panel discussions, held at HandMade in America’s offices, celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. Friday’s discussion seemed especially poignant as the recent election put a number […]

NATURAL SELECTIONS: WNC-based authors (clockwise from top left) Kathryn Stripling Byer, Wayne Caldwell, Catherine Reid and Thomas Rain Crow speak about setting prose and poetry in wild places. Byer's photo by Corinna Byer, other photos courtesy of the authors

Regional writers panel celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act

Southern writing evokes a certain set of expectations, from Flannery O’Connor’s “Christ-haunted” prose to Gail Godwin’s glimpses into shifting society. But when talking about North Carolina writers, there’s one theme that returns again and again: place. From Charles Frazier’s Cold Mountain and Robert Morgan’s Gap Creek to Ron Rash’s Serena and Vicki Lane’s A Day […]