North Carolina Literary Review explores North Carolina ‘On the Map and in the News’

The 2018 issue of the award-winning North Carolina Literary Review opens with an essay by the acclaimed author of the 20-book Judge Deborah Knott mystery series. Margaret Maron describes traveling to many of the places that put North Carolina “on the map” as she researched the settings of the next court case she would send her character to adjudicatein “From Manteo to Murphy: A Writer’s Personal Journey.”

Cover of the 2018 North Carolina Literary Review, “On the Map and in the News” (Designed by NCLR Art Director Dana Ezzell Lovelace)

Cover of the 2018 North Carolina Literary Review, “On the Map and in the News” (Designed by NCLR Art Director Dana Ezzell Lovelace)

The collage on NCLR’s cover, designed by Dana Ezzell Lovelace, the review’s art director, reflects what draws people to North Carolina, including beach and mountain vacation spots.

Readers will meet Vivian Howard, chef, television personality and writer, who is putting tiny Deep Run, N.C., on the map with her PBS television show, “A Chef’s Life;” restaurant, Chef & the Farmer, in Kinston; and memoir, “Deep Run Roots.”

North Carolina sometimes draws attention for less savory reasons, but as NCLR editor Margaret Bauer notes in her introduction to the special feature section of the issue, “North Carolina writers do not shy away from difficult subjects.”

One example Bauer gives is Priscilla Melchior’s poem inspired by a Ku Klux Klan parade, which received second place in the 2017 James Applewhite Poetry Prize competition.

In an interview conducted by Appalachian State University English professor Zackary Vernon, Allan Gurganus, a writer whose books put Rocky Mount on people’s radar, advocates writers directing their talents toward political activism.

“We can communicate our alarm and our concern,” Gurganus said.

Bland Simpson does just that in his essay focusing on his concern about one of North Carolina’s most vital resources — water: keeping it safe to drink and worrying about it eroding the state’s shores, especially as the population continues to rise.

Other sections of the 2018 issueinclude former North Carolina Poet Laureate Fred Chappell’s analysis of Angela Davis-Gardner’s novels; Robert Wallace’s 2017 Doris Betts Fiction Prize story; John Thomas York’s Alex Albright Creative Nonfiction Prize-winning essay, selected by Our State editor Elizabeth Hudson; Susan O’Dell Underwood, finalist in the Albright competition; and finalists from the 2017 James Applewhite Poetry Prize competition, including the winning poem and an honorable mention poem, both by Christina Clark.

“It was another successful year of creative submissions,” said Bauer.

NCLR is sold in independent bookstores across the state and by subscription. To subscribe, visit A two-year subscription will include the 2019 issue, which will feature African American literature of North Carolina.


-Contact: North Carolina Literary Review,, 252-328-1537