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Friday, July 7, 2023

'Pay attention! Your novel's right there!'


 “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 in Lumberton, NC on this date in 1958, McCorkle is not only one of America’s pre-eminent short story writers, but also a longtime writing professor -- most recently at North Carolina State University.   Before that current stint, she also taught at Tufts, UNC, Duke, Harvard and Bennington, but has always found time to do writing for herself, too.  In the process she’s won numerous awards, including the prestigious "Dos Passos Prize."

While her short stories shine – particularly stories like Going Away Shoes – she also wrote 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.


McCorkle says she follows an unusual writing style.   “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.”

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