Thursday, November 19, 2009
We are fortunate to have so many wonderful writers in North Carolina. And one of my very favorites is Fred Chappell.
Tonight Fred read from his new book, Ancestors and Others, a collection of stories, at Quail Ridge Books. The story he read was set in the mountains of North Carolina, a fictionalized account of his childhood experiences of hunting on Christmas Day. It was funny, poignant, suspenseful, and as true to human nature as any story you'll read.
The book contains stories about the places and people of his childhood sprinkled with science fiction. There are three stories about Christmas. In trying to pin down a theme of the stories, his editor had him cut several of the originals. He said that in the end he hoped that by putting the Christmas stories in he had tied everything--traditional and speculative--together in a neat bow. He laughed.
We laughed too at his wonderful sense of humor as he answered questions and recounted something that happened when he and his wife Susan went to the Czech Republic earlier this year.
Fred was our Poet Laureate and he represents the finest North Carolina has to offer. If you ever have a chance to hear him read from his stories or poems, please make every effort to do so. He's a genius posing as a home-town boy.