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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The story's all around you

 “I always tell my students, 'If you walk around with your eyes and ears open, you can't possibly live long enough to write all the novels you'll encounter.'” – Jill McCorkle

Born on this day in 1958 in Lumberton, NC, Jill McCorkle has established herself as one of America’s pre-eminent short story writers – and that coming despite the fact that she really only wanted to be a teacher “and maybe a novelist.”  Now a professor at North Carolina State University, she studied with a group of writers who have all had great successes and who have “rubbed off on one another” in their careers.  Before her current stint at NC State, she also taught at Tufts, UNC, Duke, Harvard and Bennington, but always finding time to do writing for herself, too.  In the process she’s amassed an amazing body of work and won numerous awards, including the prestigious "Dos Passos Prize."

And while her short stories continue to shine – particularly stories like Going Away Shoes – she recently released a wonderful novel, Life After Life, about the residents of a retirement center.  I can guarantee you all the emotions when reading this wonderful book.

Jill McCorkle
“For years, I felt I was a novelist, but now I know I can write short fiction,” she said.  I work in a way that is not linear or chronological at all, even with the short story.  I will just be writing bits and pieces, and then when I have all the pieces on the table, that for me is when it feels like the real work begins.”

And, as any writer knows, also the fun.  Happy writing!

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