Map of NC

Map of NC

March 20, 2019

Jan Karon

Jan Karon was born and raised in Lenoir, North Carolina. From an early age she had a keen interest in writing, having penned her first book by the time she was ten. After moving around the United States, she eventually settled in Blowing Rock, where she was inspired to begin writing weekly stories about an Episcopal priest named Tim Kavanagh. These stories eventually became her first published novel: At Home in Mitford.

At Home in Mitford was just the beginning of Father Tim's adventures. Karon has gone on to publish fourteen novels about him and the fictional town of Mitford. Mitford was based on the town of Blowing Rock, North Carolina, a mountainous town and the perfect location for Karon's character-driven novels. Fans of the Mitford Years are invited to view the literary map's walking tour of Blowing Rock, which maps out the town through the eyes of Father Tim. Discover the real local businesses and parks which inspired Jan Karon, and learn more about a proud entry to North Carolina's literary heritage.

For those who haven't had the chance to experience Jan Karon's work can find At Home in Mitford and her other books at your local library or bookstore!

February 25, 2019

Pauli Murray

Before Black History Month ends, the North Carolina Literary Map would like to highlight the life and activism of Pauli Murray. Born in 1910, Murray was a civil rights activist whose activism preceded much of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s. She was born in Baltimore, but was raised in Durham, North Carolina. After leaving the state to attend school up at Columbia University, she returned when she attempted to apply to then-segregated University of North Carolina.

She was rejected, and in response wrote letters to President Roosevelt and other officials in protest. A few years later she and a female partner were arrested for sitting in the whites-only section of a bus. Both of these cases were considered by the NAACP, but ultimately the organization pulled out of representing her. Some speculate this was due in part to the fact that Murray had open romantic relationships with women and dressed in masculine clothing, occasionally presenting as a man. Despite resistance, Murray went on to become the first black deputy attorney general in California. Her critique of state segregation and the “separate but equal” facilities later influenced the court case Brown vs Board of Education. In addition to her contributions to black civil rights, she founded the National Organization for Women (NOW) in 1966.

Murray had been excluded from the discussion of the Civil Rights Movement and Feminist Movement, but there has been a recent resurgence of her interest in her and her work. In addition to her activism, she was an author and poet. You can read about her family history in the book Proud Shoes, which describes the lives of her ancestors who lived and worked in Durham. Fans of poetry can read her poems in Dark Testament and Other Poems. Those interested in learning more about Murray herself are invited to check out Song in a Weary Throat, an autobiography, or the oral history interviews available online via the “Oral Histories of the American South Project.”

February 11, 2019

Harriet Ann Jacob's 206th Birthday

Today, February 11th, is the birthday of abolitionist Harriet Ann Jacobs. She is best known for her moving autobiography, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. Her book, first published under the name “Linda Brent,” tells the story of the sexual abuse she suffered as the slave of Dr. James Norcom and her life after her escape.

For years after her escape, she hid in the home of her grandmother, Molly Horniblow, before finally fleeing North Carolina in 1842, eventually ending up in New York. She was later reunited with her children, and much of Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl recounted her attempts to free them.

Jacobs used her story to promote the abolitionist movement. Her book was one of the first to discuss the plight of female slaves, and was written to sway the hearts of Northern white women. After the publication of her book she continued to advocate for black Americans both in the United States and overseas. During the Civil War she nursed black soldiers by her daughter’s side, and after raised money for refugees from slavery.

More about her story and legacy can be found within the pages of Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. Visitors to Edenton, North Carolina can tour sites from her early life, including the site where Molly Horniblow's house once stood.

November 14, 2018

North Carolina Cooking

Thanksgiving is coming up fast, have you decided what you're serving this year? If not, why not consider some North Carolina recipes?

The NC Literary Map has a genre dedicated to Carolina cooking, where you can find special recipes from the mountains to the coast. You could try out Mama Dip's Kitchen, a cookbook written by famed cook Mildred Council. It features over 250 recipes, with everything from old-fashioned Southern chicken pie to traditional desserts. Or consider Victuals: An Appalachian Journey by Ronni Lundi, which features a collection of Appalachian recipes as well as information about the history and culture of the region.

You can find dozens of North Carolina cookbooks at the NC Literary Map which are sure to inspire your inner chef. If one looks promising, check it out at your local bookstore or library. Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

November 6, 2018

UNCG's Gorman and Smith Represent the North Carolina Literary Map at NCWN Conference

Dr. Keith Gorman, Head of Special Collections and Archives at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro and Kathelene Smith, UNCG's Instruction and Outreach Archivist and Assistant Professor represented the North Carolina Literary Map at the 2018 North Carolina Writers' Conference, November 2-4 in Charlotte, NC. The North Carolina Writers' Network connects writers across North Carolina with education, recognition, and critique opportunities and resources.

Below, Dr. Gorman is pictured with North Carolina playwright, actor, composer, and essayist, Shelley Stolaroff Segal.

October 31, 2018

Haunted North Carolina

Happy Halloween to our NC Literary Map followers!

Regardless of how you spend your Halloween, ghost stories are always an excellent way to get into the Halloween spirit. North Carolina is home to dozens of ghost stories, and one of the most persistent tales is the story of Lydia, the Phantom Hitchhiker. According to local tales, she haunted the stretch of road along the US 70-A south of Jamestown. Legend tells that she would ask for a ride home, and if accepted, would disappear upon reaching her destination.

For years this story has been passed around, and now authors Michael Renegar and Amy Greer explore the truth behind the tale. Uncover the story that lurks behind the legend with Looking for Lydia: The Thirty-Year Search for the Jamestown Hitchhiker today, and discover more ghost stories set in North Carolina at the North Carolina Literary Map.

September 25, 2018

F. Scott Fitzgerald's 112nd Birthday

Monday, September 24th, was F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 112nd birthday. Best known for his classic book, The Great Gatsby, those who haven’t had the chance to visit Western Carolina may not know that Fitzgerald had ties to our state.

During the summers of 1935 and 1936, Fitzgerald stayed in Asheville, North Carolina to rest after contracting tuberculosis. Western Carolina had become a popular destination for such getaways, as the mountain air was thought to be good for the lungs. Fitzgerald stayed at the renown Grove Park Inn, and rented out two rooms: one for working, the other for writing. The summers spent there were a low period in his life. Fitzgerald was reportedly trying to cure his addiction to gin with what was known as the “beer cure,” and wrote short stories to pay debts and bills. One story written at that time, “I’d Die for You (The Legend of Lake Lure),” was set in Western NC and featured a young actress who had come to the area to star in a movie. He left North Carolina in 1937, heading west to Hollywood with the hopes of reigniting his career. His wife, Zelda, remained in the southeast, traveling between Asheville’s Highland Hospital for treatment and her mother’s home in Montgomery, Alabama.

"I'd Die for You (The Legend of Lake Lure)" and other lesser-known Fitzgerald short stories can be read in the book I'd Die for You: And Other Lost Stories. Find it and other Fitzgerald classics at your local bookstore or library. The North Carolina Literary Map also now features a tour of Fitzgerald’s life in Western NC, that may serve as a guide for tourists or may be explored virtually. Discover more about our state's literary heritage today!