We welcome a celebratory guest post today from Marianne Gingher, editor of Amazing Place: What North Carolina Means to Writers. In this collection of twenty-one original essays, some of North Carolina’s finest writers ruminate on the meaning of place, untangling North Carolina’s influence on their work, exploring how the idea of place resonates with North Carolinians, and illuminating why the state itself plays such a significant role in its own literature. Contributors include Rosecrans Baldwin, Will Blythe, Belle Boggs, Fred Chappell, Jan DeBlieu, Pamela Duncan, Clyde Edgerton, Ben Fountain, Marianne Gingher, Judy Goldman, Stephanie Elizondo Griest, Randall Kenan, Jill McCorkle, Michael McFee, Lydia Millet, Robert Morgan, Jenny Offill, Michael Parker, Bland Simpson, Lee Smith, Wells Tower, and Monique Truong.
Listen to a podcast episode of WUNC’s “The State of Things” featuring Gingher and contributors Stephanie Elizondo Griest and Bland Simpson.
It seems fitting that I should document the AMAZING PLACEment of this wonderful book on the New York Times Bestseller List. Thursday, May 7, 2015, I got word it was named #8 by the New York Times Bestseller list for the TRAVEL category. Thanks first and foremost to all the fabulous writers in the book who made it such a hit that people are buying it and telling their pals to buy it! (It would make a dandy graduation present for the North Carolina literature lover in your house! OR simply the homesick-for-North Carolina grad or the grad that knows, to borrow our former Poet Laureate, Fred Chappell’s famous book title, he or she is “one of us forever.”)
I have been touring the state a bit and the response to the book has been genuinely warm and enthusiastic. Book signings sponsored by bookstores like the Regulator in Durham (at Motorco, a fun venue in downtown), Quail Ridge in Raleigh (my high school prom date was in the audience!), Scuppernong in Greensboro, the Bull’s Head Bookshop in Chapel Hill, and Park Road Books in Charlotte have allowed me to share the book’s many treasures. Thanks to some of the contributors who accompanied me on promotion: Michael McFee, Lee Smith, Jill McCorkle, Bland Simpson, Belle Boggs, Stephanie Elizondo Griest, Michael Parker, Fred Chappell, Jenny Offill, and Lydia Millet. It does take a village to convey the fabulous range of the book. Sorry, but I am going to eventually wear out the word “amazing.” Yet to come is a trip to Manteo and Duck’s Cottage Bookstore that I am eager to reschedule for June.
Below is what I hope will be the first of several AMAZING PLACE cartoons!
Marianne Gingher is professor of English and comparative literature at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and editor of Amazing Place: What North Carolina Means to Writers (2015) and Long Story Short: Flash Fiction by Sixty-Five of North Carolina’s Finest Writers (2009).