North Carolina Fiction
The United States Postal Service issued a stamp honoring Thomas Wolfe (1900-1938) in 2000! He was a pioneer in American autobiographical fiction, starting with his first novel Look Homeward Angel (1929). Call Home the Heart (1932) by Olive Tilford Dargan (1869-1968) was a major proletarian novel of that time and reprinted in 1983 by the Feminist Press. In 1964, John Ehle (1925-2018) published The Land Breakers. It became the first in a series of seven historical novels that together tell the story of Western North Carolina. Fred Chappell’s first novel, Dagan was awarded the Best Foreign Book of the Year Award by the French Academy in 1972. A large number of the best Appalachian writers were his MFA students at UNC-G. Gail Godwin is the author of seventeen novels – three of which were finalist for the National Book Award. In 1997 Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier won the National Book Award. It became a Hollywood movie in 2003. Robert Morgan won the Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2011. Gap Creek (1999) was his break-out novel, a Winfrey Oprah selection and New York Times best seller. Ron Rash’s crowning achievement was winning the 2010 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. Serena (2008) became a Hollywood movie in 2014. Ron Rash's most accomplished student, so far, is David Joy whose three novels, starting with Where All Light Tends to Go (2015), have been finalists for eight book awards. There is only room here to mention Wayne Caldwell, Pamela Duncan, Terry Roberts and other excellent contemporary Western North Carolina novelists.
-- George Brosi