Durham is a hotbed of literary pursuits. With its historic African-American community along with the presence of North Carolina Central University, Duke University, the legendary Durham Bulls baseball team and the once prominent American Tobacco Company, there’s an unparalleled mix of ingredients in Durham that have fired the imaginations of many a writer.
Writers with a connection to this area: Julie Tetel Andresen, James Applewhite, Christina Askounis, Helen Bevington, William Blackburn, Michele Andrea Bowen, Kevin Boyle, Guy Davenport, Osha Gray Davidson, Angela Davis-Gardner, Ariel Dorfman, Clyde Edgerton, Peter Filene, John Hope Franklin, Laurel Goldman, David Guy, Pete Hendricks, Oscar Hijuelos, Judy Hogan, Zora Neale Hurston, Mac Hyman, Doris Iarovici, Frank Lentricchia, Michael Malone, Melissa Malouf, Katy Munger, Pauli Murray, Lawrence Naumoff, Gwendolyn M. Parker, Frances Gray Patton, Peggy Payne, Catherine Petroski, Henry Petroski, Deborah Pope, Joe Ashby Porter, Susie Ruth
Powell, Reynolds Price, Wendy Rountree, Lewis Shiner, Darrell Stover, William Styron, Eleanora Tate, Anne Tyler, Samm-Art Williams and Tom Wolfe
North Carolina Arts Council Literary Fellows: James Applewhite, Durham (poet, 1986); Angela Davis-Gardner, Raleigh (fiction writer, 1982 and 2004); and Peggy Payne, Apex (fiction writer 2002).
The transformation of Durham’s old tobacco warehouses into condos, retail and office space, and research facilities has put a new burnish on the red brick history of the city’s first incarnation as a factory town. The sweet molasses smell of tobacco is gone. Now Durham is best known for its excellent medical facilities and high tech enterprises. For the literary traveler, there are many riches ready to explore.
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