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Hutchins Lecture: Bernard Powers, Thurs, Oct 27 at 4:30 pm

“Manners, Memory, and Murder in America’s Holy City”

Sometimes called the “Holy City,” Charleston, South Carolina is one of America’s oldest and most historic cities. It has won numerous awards for its residents’ politeness, and it has been chosen as a top destination for world travelers. However, the nation was shocked by the racially motivated murders that occurred at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in the summer of 2015. The reverberations of this tragic event were felt most powerfully across the South, where they amplified ongoing and crucial Powers1debates about the region’s understanding of history, memory, and race. In this lecture, Powers will examine the meaning of what happened in Charleston, the cultural introspection it triggered, and its ongoing significance for understanding life in the South today.

We_Are_CharlestonBernard E. Powers, Professor of History at the College of Charleston, has published numerous works on African American social and cultural evolution. His book Black Charlestonians: A Social History 1822-1885 (University of Arkansas Press, 1994) won a Choice Award for Best Academic Books. Powers also served as associate editor for The South Carolina Encyclopedia (Columbia: USC Press, 2006), and he recently co-authored We Are Charleston: Tragedy and Triumph at Mother Emanuel (Thomas Nelson, 2016).

This lecture, to be held in the Pleasants Family Room at Wilson Library, is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.

Monique Truong on Food, Literature, and Immigration, Fri, Oct 28 at 12:00 pm

truongJoin us in the Hitchcock Room at the Sonja Haynes Stone Center as we welcome Monique Truong back to the Old North State. Her lecture is titled “Writing Plenty / Writing Hunger / Writing North Carolina.” The talk will begin with Truong’s first meal in the U.S., eaten in a refugee relocation camp in 1975, and will explore the “magical thinking” relationship that she formed toward food during her girlhood in Boiling Springs, NC.

Born in Saigon, South Vietnam in 1968, Monique Truong is a novelist and essayist based in Brooklyn. She is the author of the national bestseller The Book of Salt (2003) and Bitter in the Mouth (2010). Her novel The Sweetest Fruits is forthcoming from Viking Books. Translated into 14 languages, her novels have garnered her a Guggenheim Fellowship, the American Academy of Arts and Letters’ Rosenthal Family Foundation Award, and the New York Public Library Young Lions Award, among other honors. She is currently the Harman Writer-in-Residence at Baruch College, CUNY. A graduate of Yale University and Columbia University School of Law, Truong is also an intellectual property attorney.

She is also a contributor to the forthcoming 21C Fiction Issue of Southern Cultures, which you can preview here.

bitterinthemouthThis lecture is co-sponsored by the Creative Writing Program, the Department of English and Comparative Literature, the Carolina Asia Center, the Center for Global Initiatives, the Institute for Arts and Humanities, the Food For All campus theme, and Southern Cultures, as well as UNC Libraries’ North Carolina Collection and Southern Historical Collection.

Southern Cultures: 21C Fiction Issue Launch, Sat, Oct 29 at 7:30 pm

fiction-cover-border-newIn a Southern Cultures essay published in 2000, Jerry Leath Mills came up with a “single, simple, litmus-like test [to gauge] the quality of southerness in literature . . . Is there a dead mule in it?” We were curious if Mills’s hypothesis held up, so we brought the question to some of our favorite authors. Join Jill McCorkle, Megan Mayhew Bergman, Jamie Quatro, and others as they continue the conversation started in our pages. Toast that talk and the new 21c Fiction Issue with the Deader Mule, a special cocktail from 21C Museum Hotel.

This issue launch in downtown Durham–one of several events planned for the month of October to honor southern writers and stories, past and present–is free and open to the public.

October Has Come Again: Sun, Oct 30 at 2:00 pm


In his 1935 novel Of Time and the River, Thomas Wolfe wrote, “October had come again, and he would lie there in his mother’s house at night, and feel the darkness moving softly all about him, and hear the dry leaves scampering on the street outside, and the huge and burly rushes of the wind. And then the wind would rush away with huge caprice, and he could hear it far off roaring with remote demented cries in the embraces of great trees, and he would lie there thinking: October has come again—has come again.”

bookmark_octoberIn honor of Wolfe’s birthday month, this literary symposium will feature a lecture by award-winning novelist and short story author Tony Earley followed by short readings from new works by Minrose Gwin, Randall Kenan, Mesha Maren, Julia Ridley Smith, and Monique Truong. These acclaimed authors will discuss the state of southern literature in the twenty-first century.

The symposium, co-sponsored by the Blythe Family Fund, the North Carolina Collection, the Southern Historical Collection, and Southern Cultures, will be held in the Hill Ballroom at the Carolina Inn from 2:00-4:30 pm. Admission is free and open to the public, but seating may be limited. Please RSVP here

Tell About the South: John Shelton Reed, Tues, Nov 1 at 12:30 pm


Mark your calendars! The godfather of southern sociology and pitmaster par excellence will join us to discuss “Barbecue and Politics, and Vice Versa.” John Shelton Reed is a co-founder of the Center for the Study of the American South and a founding editor of Southern Cultures. Reed has written or edited twenty books, including 1001 Things Everyone Should Know About the South and Holy Smoke: The Big Book of North Carolina Barbecue, both written with his wife, Dale Volberg Reed. His most recent publication is Barbecue: A Savor the South Cookbook.

Barbecue will, of course, be served. This event is free and open to the public, but RSVPs to will be greatly appreciated.