Kitchen Table Writers Read at McIntyre’s

We’ve been talking about it for more than two years. First we thought we might read at the General Store Cafe. Then we thought Davenport and Winkleperry. Then, we thought, why not McIntyre’s Books, where the writers read?

Peter Mock checked the schedule. There was a Sunday afternoon open. Most writers could come. So we did it! Our first Kitchen Table Writers Recital with Reception. Parents and friends, professional writers, teachers, and fans of all kinds came to listen. We had been writing and revising for months — some of us for years. We had some good stuff to read, and the audience was riveted.

Some days a teacher gets to just sit back and enjoy. Today was one of those days!

Pen/Hemingway Recognition

Pen/Hemingway Recognition

Every writer has a dream award, the one that she knows would change life forever. Pen/Hemingway, an award for first fiction book, has always been one of those for me. It’s the kind of award that you can get only when you are starting out. Only first-time fiction writers are eligible. It’s a fairy tale award. A Cinderella story award. A happy ending for a first book, and a beginning for just one lucky writer a year–plus a powerful nod to finalists and honorable mentions.

Founded by Mary Hemingway in 1976 to honor her husband Ernest, and to recognize “distinguished first books of fiction,” the award is administered by the wonderful PEN organization for writers.

Some of my favorite writers have won this award, here are just a few:

1981 – Joan Silber for Household Words

1985 – Josephine Humphreys for Dreams of Sleep

1993 – Edward P. Jones for Lost in the City

The recognition that comes from this award starts careers, lets the world know you are writing something worth reading. Plus, how cool is it to have your name in the same paragraph with Hemingway’s?

Yesterday afternoon I got the confirmation that Accidental Birds of the Carolinas was selected for Honorable Mention for the Pen/Hemingway award.

I am still so excited that I’m not quite breathing right. Today I celebrate by calling friends, doing a little yoga, and taking the dog for a very long walk, a glass of wine with a friend. Tomorrow, it’s back to writing the next thing. But ahh, the sweetness will linger through my days. Thank you, Mr. Hemingway, and your lovely wife Mary.

To read about this year’s winner, finalists, and honorable mentions, see


Those Little Bookstore Tags

Those Little Bookstore Tags

Those Little Bookstore Tags

I have always loved those little notecards that slip onto the side of a book on display at a bookstore. A staff person has read the book and hand-written a mini-review–but only if they really love the book. You can peer at the neat square of text and get a sense of the soul of a bookseller. And a book!

Sometimes bookstores post these on line. Here are a few I was delighted to see attached to Accidental Birds of the Carolinas, first week after release! Thank you, Katherine Pinard, Nancy Olson, and Sarah Goddin.

McIntyre’s Fine Books, Pittsboro, NC

Wow! This story collection marvelously captures “home” (the Southern part of heaven) for so many of us who have migrated to North Carolina from afar. You feel the morning mist, smell the pungent woods, and hear the sweet birdsong. What a love song sung by a variety of (human) birds—each with its distinct, pure voice. Marjorie Hudson is a writer I’ve been waiting to find! Bravo!
— Katherine Pinard, bookseller at McIntyre’s

Nancy Olson, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC

This NC resident is one talented writer. The characters in these beautiful, connected stories are desperate for a place to be safe and they land in North Carolina for healing and renewal.  This is a fully satisfying book.”—Nancy Olson, owner, Quail Ridge Books, named Bookseller of the Year by Publishers Weekly in 2001

“It takes no time at all to fall in love with such a place, if you are paying attention,” says Elizabeth in the first of  these seven extraordinary stories (and one novella). The same can be said for this collection: Pay attention and you will fall in love. In each story someone ends up in Carolina for a different reason and finds something or someone unexpected. Marjorie Hudson is a gifted writer with a pitch-perfect sense of place that will resonate with anyone who has spent some hot days in the South. Her characters are full of heart and soul, ones who will latch on to you and not let go.—Sarah Goddin, General Manager, Quail Ridge Books

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