Chapel Hill in Plain Sight: Notes from the Other Side of the Tracks
Book Reading with Daphne Athas
Thursday, Jan. 27, 2011
5 p.m. Reception | 5:45 p.m. Program
Wilson Special Collections Library, Pleasants Family Assembly Room
Free and open to the public
Information: Liza Terll, Friends of the Library, (919) 962-4207
Author and retired UNC faculty member Daphne Athas will discuss her book Chapel Hill in Plain Sight: Notes from the Other Side of the Tracks in a reading Jan. 27. Friends of the Library and the UNC Creative Writing Program are the program sponsors.
Chapel Hill in Plain Sight traces the famous and lesser-known stories of the town and university during much of the twentieth century. Now in her 80’s, Athas landed on the far side of the tracks in Chapel Hill during the Great Depression, when her newly poor family relocated from Boston.
Athas’s essays range across the artistic, political, and intellectual landscape of the town she lived in. Her tales are peopled with well-known figures such as Richard Wright, Paul Green, William Faulkner, even Ava Gardner. She writes of bookseller Ab Abernathy, accused of using his shop to spread Communist propaganda, and Junius Scales, who later became the only American imprisoned for being a member of the Communist Party.
She also tells the stories of the unsolved murder in 1951 of Rachel Crook, who ran a fish-and-nut stand on the site of today’s Crook’s Corner restaurant, and of the haunted Gimghoul Castle.
Athas, who lives in Carrboro, retired in 2009 after 40 years teaching creative writing at UNC.
Her novel Entering Ephesus, from which she will also read, was included on TIME’s Ten Best Fiction List in 1971 and was a Cosmopolitan Book-Club selection. She is a two-time winner of the Sir Walter Raleigh Award and was a Fulbright Professor of American Literature at the University of Tehran.
In addition to her numerous books, Athas has published in many journals and periodicals including South Atlantic Quarterly, Transatlantic Review, Hudson Review, and others.
She will be introduced by author and UNC colleague Marianne Gingher, who edited Athas’s 2007 maverick grammar text, Gram-O-Rama: Breaking the Rules.
Copies of Chapel Hill in Plain Sight will be available for purchase and signing, courtesy of the Bull’s Head Bookshop.
- WUNC Radio’s State of Things interview with Athas (Dec. 20, 2010)