Literature

Dorothy Managan, 93, served as an Army nurse in Tacoma, Wa. after World War II. She recently added her life story to her medical record at the Asheville, N.C. VA Medical Center.
Jay Price / American Homefront

 

For many health professionals, treating patients is a matter of assessing their ailments, making a diagnosis and prescribing treatment where it is required. Then it is on to the next patient. But a new program in VA medical centers aims to make connections between medical professionals and their patients through narratives.
 

Byrd book cover shows a tree and bird
dzancbooks.org

After a whirlwind reunion with a childhood friend, Addie Lockwood finds herself unexpectedly pregnant. Never aspiring to motherhood, she chooses adoption without telling the father. But even before the child is born, Addie feels compelled to write letters to him.

The story is the premise of Byrd (Dzanc Books/2014), a new book by Raleigh-based author Kim Church.

woman lying on the grass
mainstreetrag.com

Walt Disney's fairy tale adaptations are known for their neat, happy endings. But in their original states, these tales were rife with darkness and despair. 

Writer and poet Maureen Sherbondy embraces the gloom in her new book, "Beyond Fairy Tales: Poems in Concrete & Flesh" (Main Street Rag Publishing Company/2014). For example, Sherbondy's Rapunzel loses her hair to chemotherapy.

What the Prince Doesn't Know

By Maureen Sherbondy

Two months ago the mammogram revealed
a lump, and days since then have passed.

She can no longer throw her hair over the wall
for him to shimmy up beneath the star-scarred sky.

In a nauseous-chemo blur, clumps of golden thread
fell from her head to the tower's cold stone floor.

Still, the witch keeps her here, caged and ill, the left breast
completely gone. Her head a pale bald egg.

So when the Prince yells up to her, Rapunzel, throw down your golden hair, she hides beneath the sterile sheets.
 

Girl in the Road book cover
crownpublishing.com

Author Monica Byrne was reading a poem that included the words "ocean" and "bridge," when something just clicked. She couldn't get the idea out of her head: a pedestrian bridge so long it spanned the Arabian Sea. The vision formed the basis of her debut novel, "The Girl in the Road" (Crown Publishing/2014), which is set decades in the future.

The novel combines months of research and travel with numerous autobiographical details. It considers the different ways people recover from trauma.

Learn more about Monica and her work here.

book cover with a canoe on a river
lightmessages.com

  

"The 53rd Parallel" (Light Messages Publishing/2013) is the first novel in a series about the historic, yet little known, contamination of the English River. It was the largest mercury poisoning event in North American history, bringing devastation to the many Ojibway people native to the area. 

Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial kickoff to summer, and that means the tantalizing prospect of having more time for reading stretches ahead of us — long, lazy summer days curled up with a book.

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. 

black book cover with neon lighting lettering and Eiffel Tower in background
harpercollins.com

  

It was a photograph of two women at a table, one in a dress and one in a suit, that inspired Francine Prose's latest novel. The suited woman is Violette Morris, a French athlete turned Nazi collaborator. Mixing history with fiction, "Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932" (HarperCollins, 2014), imagines Morris' life through multiple narrators.

The North Carolina Literary Arts Festival logo
lib.ncsu.edu/literaryfestival/

In the pre-digital era, storytellers were a specific category of individuals who regaled live audiences with their tales. Now, anyone with a smart phone or a YouTube account can be a storyteller who reaches audiences across the globe. What is the future of the art of storytelling?

The North Carolina Literary Festival asks that question of a panel of experts this Saturday at 12:30 pm in the James B. Hunt Jr. Library at North Carolina State University. 

Veteran salutes other veterans
flickr.com

  

The complexities of war do not fit neatly into a poem or a novel. Writers grapple with how to address conflict responsibly, honestly and creatively. An April 12th panel at the North Carolina Writers' Network Spring Conference at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro will examine the challenges of writing about war. 

Not The End, But The Beginning Book Cover
NCCU

Brian McDonald taught at Jordan High School for 13 years before he became interested in the history of the school. And when he looked, he found a school that grew up along with the Civil Rights Movement. His new book; “Not the End, but the Beginning: The Impact of Race and Class on the History of Jordan High School” (NCCU/2011), explores the history of the high school. 

Che on My Mind book cover
dukeupress.edu

In her new book, Che On My Mind (Duke University Press Books, 2013) Margaret Randall, renowned poet and activist, considers the power and the limitations of Che Guevara as a symbol. She will read at the Internationalist Bookstore and Community Center in Chapel Hill tonight at 7 p.m. 

Book cover of Love Illuminated shows a cartoon couple
Harper / www.harpercollins.com

"Modern Love" is a New York Times column that features personal essays on issues of the heart. After editing submissions for a decade, Daniel Jones has read more than 50,000 intimate stories of love and loss. He compiled the wisdom of those narratives into a new book, "Love Illuminated" (Harper Collins Publishers/2014) and he will speak at Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill on March 24th at 7p.m. 

The Deepest Secret by Carla Buckley
carlabuckley.com / Random House

 

Buckley explores this relationship and the lengths a mother will go to in order to protect her son in her newest novel, The Deepest Secret (Random House; 2014). Host Frank Stasio talks with Buckley about the mother-son relationship and her writing.

Jennifer Ho, English professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
englishcomplit.unc.edu / UNC-Chapel Hill

When Jennifer Ho went to the hospital for testing on a lump in her breast, she encountered the image often associated with breast cancer: the pink ribbon.

A nurse led the UNC English professor to an exam room. She recalls, "And then I saw a tote bag with UNC hospital's name on it and the pink ribbon. And I had this immediate visceral reaction. And I'm walking with the nurse. And I said something I can't repeat on the air." Ho said, "I hate those *** pink ribbons."

Drew Perry's new book Kids These Days looks at the anxieties of parenthood.
Algonquin

    

When North Carolina author Drew Perry and his wife were having conversations about having children, he was utterly terrified. 

In 1960, Elizabeth Spencer became a southern literary icon with the release of her novella, "The Light in the Piazza." The film version of the book starred Olivia de Havilland.

More than fifty years after her acclaimed Italian love story, Spencer is still writing.  Her newest collection of short stories is "Starting Over" (Liveright, 2013).

All of the narratives in the book stem from her two southern homes: Mississippi and North Carolina.

The Pied Piper is a tale as old as the Brothers Grimm, but the Walltown Children’s Theatre is re-imagining it for their latest production. It’s called “Indigo Blue,” and it’s the brainchild of local playwright Howard Craft. Frank talks with Craft, along with the theater's director Cynthia Penn, and actors Max Rose and Eileena Boyce.

Murverse.com

Travel guides can help the ordinary humans navigate locales near and far, but what about those monsters banished to the nether regions of human imagination? Well, for those creepy crawlies, there is a service that will help guide them through the underworlds of planet Earth. At least, that’s the premise of Mur Lafferty’s novel, “The Shambling Guide to New York City,” (Orbit/2013). Host Frank Stasio talks with North Carolina writer Mur Lafferty about her new novel.

  

The Road From Gap Creek

More than 12 years ago, Robert Morgan’s “Gap Creek” (A Shannon Ravenel Book/2013) catapulted to the top of the New York Times Bestseller list. Oprah selected it for her book club. Fans loved the characters and their struggles in Appalachia. Robert Morgan promised a sequel and more than a decade later, he brings readers back to Gap Creek in his latest book, “The Road From Gap Creek” (A Shannon Ravenel Book/2013) .

Bill Ferris' new book, The Storied South: Voices of Writers and Artists, presents 40 years of interviews and photographs.
UNC Press

For decades, Bill Ferris documented Southern African-American folklore.  His latest book The Storied South: Voices of Writers and Artists presents material from 40 years of interviews with writers, scholars and artists who reflected southern culture in their work.

 


http://www.piedmontlaureate.com/2013piedmontlaureate/biography.html

    

John Claude Bemis is the first ever Piedmont Laureate for Children’s Literature.  In the post-Harry Potter age, more critics consider children’s books valuable works of literature with a reach that extends beyond young audiences. 

Branford Marsalis, Arlie Petters, and Juliana Makuchi Nfah-Abenyi join the State of Things for the roundtable conversation.
Laura Lee

On this week’s roundtable, a jazz great, a leading string theory mathematician and an accomplished writer share their diverse perspectives on the latest headlines. They’ll discuss a range of issues from the latest Middle East update to the challenges facing minorities in higher education. 

Jim Minz
ktempest, via Flickr.com, Creative Commons

 

Today's State of Things show is a rebroadcast of an interview with Jim Minz.  The program originally aired on April 1, 2013.

Jim Minz’s childhood in small-town West Bend, Wisconsin prepared him for two things: game shows and science fiction.

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