Writing for Raleigh’s WRAL, Jason Jeffries of Quail Ridge Books has compiled a list of ten classic novels by North Carolina writers. Fully half of these books were written by UNC alumni. The novels penned by alumni include Charles Frazier’s Cold Mountain, Kaye Gibbons’s Ellen Foster, Randall Kenan’s Let the Dead Bury their Dead, Jill McCorkle’s Life after Life, and Daniel Wallace’s Big Fish. All of these writers received degrees from the Department of English & Comparative Literature, and Kenan and Wallace are current ECL faculty.
Continuing the tradition of UNC alumnus Thomas Wolfe, these writers have elevated the language of the South and raised the profile of Southern literature. These novels have earned awards from organizations as diverse as the National Book Award, the New York Times, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the National Book Critics’ Circle, and the Ernest Hemingway Foundation.
Two of these novels have been adapted into highly successful Hollywood films: Frazier’s Cold Mountain (directed by Anthony Minghella and starring Jude Law, Nicole Kidman, and Renee Zellwegger); and Daniel Wallace’s Big Fish (directed by Tim Burton and starring Ewan McGregor, Albert Finney, Billy Crudup, Jessica Lange,and Marion Cotillard).
Undergraduates interested in the Creative Writing track in ECL should visit the program’s home page.