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About Barbara    

A North Carolina Life

I grew up in the small town of Asheboro, North Carolina, in a region where both my paternal and maternal families had lived for generations. They were Quakers and Methodists, farmers and preachers, good old boys and bridge-players. From my father's side of the family, I heard stories about boyhood mischief, Indians on the family tree, rheumatic fever, war, death, and sadness; from my mother's side, tales of Annie Oakley, daily train rides, long-buried shrapnel, and love letters that crossed the ocean. I carry inside me a small part of all those people and all those stories.

My love for stories began with my parents' reading to me and keeping our house filled with books. Santa Claus brought them; the Easter Bunny left them in our baskets; they came as birthday presents; we saved our allowance for the latest number of Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, Happy Hollisters, and Brains Benton. Summers we'd make it through scorching hot afternoons and evenings without air-conditioning stretched out in lawn chairs reading. When I started writing my own stories, my parents were my first audience. My brother and sister, who've lived most of my stories with me, are my first, best readers today.

Since then, my writing journey has taken me into many genres—fiction writing, plays, poems, dramatic monologues, essays, and music—but the purpose has remained the same: to tell the story of a people, a region, and a way of life, and to attempt to portray a complex South, rich with history and tradition, but plagued by heartache and frailty. Hopefully in my words, a reader will discover not just the Southern experience but the universal human one that transcends region, dialect, and culture.

Awards:
NC Arts Council Artist Fellowship in Writing, 2001-02, 2007-08
Cleveland State University Poetry Center First Book Prize, 2006
Linda Flowers Prize, NC Humanities Council, 2004
Oscar Arnold Young Award, Poetry Council of NC, 1999
Zoe Kincaid Brockman Award, NC Poetry Society, 1995

Education:
B.A. in English (UNC-Greensboro)
M.F.A. in Creative Writing (UNC-G)
M.A. in English (American Lit), the University of Kentucky

Books:
Piece Work
        (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2007)
Sherry's Prayer
       (NC Humanities Council
       as part of NC Crossroads, 2004)
Los Hijos (Longleaf Press, 2002)
Unravelings (Longleaf Press, 1998
Snake Dreams (Nightshade Press, 1994)

"May you always walk in sunshine
Slumber warm when night winds blow
May you always live with laughter
For a smile becomes you so

. . . . .

And may you always be a dreamer
May your wildest dream come true
May you find someone to love
As much as I love you."

—Larry Markes / Dick Charles (and the McQuire Sisters)

 

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