Abandoned farmhouse western North Carolina
Julia Franks

Eight years ago, Julia Franks and her husband bought a farm in western North Carolina. At the time, the 1800s farmhouse on the land was still standing and when they walked in the doors, they were greeted by dozens of odd artifacts, including animal bones, locks of hair, insect hives, and even a jar with a fingernail in it. Franks is a high school literature teacher and lover of writing, so it was hard for her to not let her imagination run wild.

NaShonda Cooke

In 2010, humorist and blogger Ann Imig was looking for a way “give motherhood a microphone.” She coordinated an event in her hometown in Wisconsin where women from all walks of life gathered to share their stories about motherhood.  Now, writers from across the nation gather to continue this trend by sharing their experiences of mothering—the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Image of author Katharine Ashe with a fan at a romance convention.
Katharine Ashe

North Carolina is home to a strong writing community. The state’s writing world has flourished in part because of an equally-strong literary ecosystem of publishers, independent bookstores, and readers. The inaugural Read Local Book Festival celebrates this literary ecosystem in downtown Durham this weekend with workshops, author dinners, and more.

Headshot of 2014 Piedmont Laureate Carrie Knowles
Carrie Knowles


Carrie Knowles, the 2014 Piedmont Laureate, is tasked with encouraging North Carolina residents to come together to celebrate the art of writing.