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home : news : e-news August 16, 2022

4/29/2013 7:00:00 AM
Southern Storyteller Gives Program At Jonas Library
Tamara Wilson talking about the seven qualities a Southern story has. (Photos by Kirk Herbertson)
Tamara Wilson talking about the seven qualities a Southern story has. (Photos by Kirk Herbertson)
Dr. Jennifer Sackett, Lincoln County head librarian, introducing the guest speaker for the night. 
Dr. Jennifer Sackett, Lincoln County head librarian, introducing the guest speaker for the night. 
+ view more photos

Kirk Herbertson
Photo Journalist

“What Makes a Southern Story Southern” was the topic by special guest speaker Tamra Wilson at the Charles R. Jonas Library in Lincolnton Thursday night. The program was sponsored in part by a grant from the North Carolina Humanities Council.

Wilson said “A Southern Story has to have these six or seven qualities – 1. Place, 2. Race, 3. Religion, 4. Alcohol or Booze, 5. Missing Parents, 6. The Chifforobe, and/or 7. Culture of Honor (‘in the South there’s just more folks who need killing’ – a quote she used by Sheldon Hackney).

Examples she used that illustrate these qualities were Gone with the Wind, The Andy Griffith Show and To Kill a Mockingbird.

“To write about a place you have to know the place” Wilson said.

She ended her talk by saying “ the more qualities they (stories) have the more successful they are.”

Wilson received her degree from the University of Southern Maine in Portland. One of the papers she wrote to receive her degree was titled “Southern Selves – The Child as a Narrator” (for example in To Kill a Mockingbird the character “Scout” was the narrator).

Two books she suggested to the audience that were good reads were The Cousins War by Kevin Phillips and Born Fighting by James Webb.

More Southern writers can be found at a website that is dedicated to the School of Southern Literature (

Tamra Wilson, MFA is the author of Dining with Robert Redford and Other Stories, short fiction about small-town life. A native of Illinois Wilson has lived in Catawba County, N.C. for 34 years. She has spent most of her career writing and editing. For the past seven years, she has penned a weekly column about books and the public library where she works. Her creative work often explores themes of family conflict, belonging, and obsession with celebrity. She has published widely in a variety of anthologies, magazines and journals, including North Carolina Literary Review, Epiphany, Our State, The MacGuffin, Southern Women’s Review and Crossroads Journal of Southern Culture. She is a 2012 finalist for the Elizabeth Simpson Smith Award, the Machigonne Fiction Award and the Porter Fleming Nonfiction Competition. She is also a three-time winner of the Children’s Story Competition sponsored by the Charlotte Writers Club. A Fellow at the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, Wilson was part of the 2002 Blumenthal Writers & Readers Series. She is an alumna of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and the University of Southern Maine.

To, learn more about Tamra Wilson or to contact her or order her book go to

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