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Monday, September 15, 2014

Bull Spec officially retires as print magazine

Posted By on Mon, Sep 15, 2014 at 2:22 PM

For Triangle-based fans of science fiction, fantasy and horror, Durham’s Samuel Montgomery-Blinn has played a major role in raising awareness of and consolidating the rich local scene for these genres with his magazine and website Bull Spec since 2010. The INDY reported on it back when it was on its fourth issue in 2011. But after years of diligently promoting the books and films he loves, Montgomery-Blinn is cutting back … a bit. Bull Spec is officially retiring as a print periodical, though it will continue as a website and email newsletter.  The print version of Bull Spec has been a labor of love...

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Friday, July 18, 2014

Update: Valerie Macon resigns from Poet Laureate appointment after uproar

Posted By on Fri, Jul 18, 2014 at 1:42 PM

Valerie Macon, appointed by Governor Pat McCrory as North Carolina's poet laureate last Friday, resigned her appointment Thursday. The North Carolina literary community noisily—and almost unanimously—objected to the virtually unknown Macon's appointment on the grounds that she was substantially unqualified for the honor and that her inexperience undermined the integrity of the office of laureate as well as the literary tradition of the state. Macon has self-published two books and lacks teaching or program facilitation experience, which are core duties of the poet laureate. Past laureates have all been substantially published poets with national reputations and decades of teaching experience...

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Opinion: McCrory’s mean joke, a poet laureate who’s barely a poet

Posted By on Wed, Jul 16, 2014 at 11:06 AM

Update: Valerie Macon has resigned. Who the hell is Valerie Macon? That’s what poets in North Carolina are asking this week after Gov. Pat McCrory bypassed the established process for choosing the state’s poet laureate and appointed the unknown, inexperienced Macon to the post for the next two years. Typically, the North Carolina Arts Council handles the selection of a new laureate. They solicit nominations, convene a selection committee to review the poets against the position’s guidelines and recommend a finalist to the Governor, who announces the new laureate. But McCrory couldn’t bother with that. Ignoring the NCAC’s process,...

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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Video: Dave Yarwood performs on the theremin at Sean Michaels' Durham reading

Posted By on Wed, Jul 2, 2014 at 11:30 AM

Us Conductors, the debut novel by Said the Gramophone founder Sean Michaels, is a finely written fiction about the early electronic instrument called the theremin and its inventor's relationship with Clara Rockmore, perhaps the greatest thereminist of all time. (Read our in-depth interview with Michaels.) Three days ago, Michaels visited Letters Bookshop in Durham and gave an engaging reading to a surprisingly large Sunday-afternoon crowd. Michaels enlisted local thereminist Dave Yarwood to open by performing a classical piece, Camille Saint-Saëns' "Le Cigne" ("The Swan"), on the theremin, accompanied by a recorded piano track. The INDY attended the event to make this video of Yarwood's performance,...

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Monday, June 23, 2014

Audio: The sounds of summer on the day before the solstice

Posted By on Mon, Jun 23, 2014 at 1:21 PM

Last Third Friday, June 20, I attended the first Audio Under the Stars event at SPECTRE Arts, a small gallery near Golden Belt. In a preview in the INDY, I had described it as “The Moth, but prerecorded.” But with ambient sounds and music mixed in, it wound up feeling more like a bite-sized This American Life. Or, perhaps, This Durham Life, as the first installment, titled “Sound Solstice,” featured stories at least tangentially connected to summertime in the Bull City. Among a couple of dozen other people, I lounged on a coarsely woven blanket in the gallery’s small courtyard, drinking red wine from...

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Friday, June 6, 2014

Reading: Helen Pruden Kaufmann on growing up in Edenton during the end of Jim Crow

Posted By on Fri, Jun 6, 2014 at 2:26 PM

Helen Pruden Kaufmann’s memoir WHITE GLOVES AND COLLARDS (HPK Press) has been out for half a year but may have slipped under your radar, being self-published (though very professionally done). If you’re interested in intimate, humble, sharp-edged reports on Southern life during the Civil Rights Movement, don’t let it. The book mainly covers the author’s public school years (1956–1969) in Edenton, N.C., “The South’s Prettiest Small Town.” We also glimpse 2012, by which time Kaufmann has earned an American history degree from UNC-Chapel Hill and worked for a public school desegregation program in Massachusetts. There are personal coming-of-age conflicts, particularly the early...

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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

"A lot of the writing process is just radically preferring something to something else." George Saunders on writing

Posted By on Wed, Jan 29, 2014 at 12:43 PM

In anticipation of George Saunders' reading at Duke on Tuesday, Feb. 4, we called him at his Syracuse home for this long conversation about the art of writing, the life of the modern author and the “misfires of empathy” that comprise Tenth of December. The full transcript is below. Click here to return to the story that appeared in print. INDY: You’re known for a very recognizable, particular style. Is there anything that sets Tenth of December apart from your prior books, in terms of process or outcome? GEORGE SAUNDERS: After my previous book, I felt a little—not exactly blank,...

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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Aaron Becker takes children on an illustrated Journey

Posted By on Wed, Jan 1, 2014 at 10:36 AM

Aaron Becker Journey Cover Aaron Becker has worked on such big-budget CGI-animated films as The Polar Express and A Christmas Carol. But for his first picture book, Journey (Candlewick Press, $15.99), he turned to a simpler, old-school format. Although he uses computer models of his landscapes to help figure out the look and lighting cues for his dream-like landscapes, the final results are less digital than manual. "The computer tends to be the beginning of the process, when I'm figuring out compositions, laying out scenes and stuff," says Becker on the phone from a visit to his family in...

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Friday, November 22, 2013

Author Jan Brett clucks up the Cinderella story with Cinders

Posted By on Fri, Nov 22, 2013 at 2:16 PM

If you ever want to get Jan Brett excited, ask her about her chickens. The award-winning author and illustrator’s tales often combine international settings and folklore with the interactions of the human and animal worlds. One such title was The Mitten. a retelling of a Ukrainian folk tale where forest animals come up with their own uses for a lost piece of winter clothing. Other tales have featured the likes of bears, dogs and hedgehogs that have received dozens of awards and reached the top spot on children’s bestseller lists. But she has a near-anthropological understanding of poultry that she’s...

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Saturday, October 19, 2013

Elizabeth George talks Inspector Lynley, not being British and more

Posted By on Sat, Oct 19, 2013 at 1:01 PM

For those who know Elizabeth George only from her Inspector Lynley novels or the BBC adaptations that air on PBS, you might be in for a shock when you see her at her upcoming appearances at McIntyre’s Fine Books and at Quail Ridge Books & Music. Though the novels are set in England and feature an extensive use of British culture and society, George herself is American born and raised, and has earned widespread acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic for her tales of the noble-born Lynley and his working-class partner Havers. As George prepared for the release of...

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Monday, October 14, 2013

Caldecott winner David Wiesner bends kids' brains with Mr. Wuffles!

Posted By on Mon, Oct 14, 2013 at 3:41 PM

If you don't know the name David Wiesner, ask your kids about "the book where the frogs fly around on lily pads" (Tuesday) or "the one where the Three Little Pigs break out of their story and go exploring" (The Three Pigs). Wiesner, who appears at Quail Ridge Books on Tuesday, Oct.15, has become one of the most acclaimed and best-selling authors of children's picture books, with three Caldecott Medals and two Caldecott Honors, for his left-of-center stories that take a surreal look at everyday objects and classic tales. Wiesner's latest book, Mr. Wuffles! (Clarion Books, $17.99), is no...

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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Dark is Rising author Susan Cooper on Harry Potter and studying with Lewis and Tolkien

Posted By on Wed, Sep 4, 2013 at 5:30 PM

Tsar Fedorsky Susan Cooper Susan Cooper was doing children's fantasy novels long before they took over seemingly all of fiction, and her famed five-book sequence The Dark is Rising has remained in print for more than four decades, with two of the book in the sequence receiving a Newbery Medal and Newbery Honor, the highest awards for children's literature. Cooper's long and varied career includes not only a bevy of children's fantasy novels, but also numerous works of journalism and several collaborations with the late actor Hume Cronyn (to whom she was married from 1996 until his death in...

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Thursday, August 29, 2013

"I'm not John Updike, and I never will be": Richard Kadrey has Kill City Blues

Posted By on Thu, Aug 29, 2013 at 5:02 PM

Photo via Harper CollinsRichard Kadrey With titles such as Aloha From Hell and Kill the Dead, it's clear that Richard Kadrey's "Sandman Slim" novels are not for the faint of heart, something that should be equally clear from just looking at the author. If the photo's not enough of a clue, Kadrey might be the most horror-author-looking horror author alive, an intimidating figure covered with elaborate tattoos, including runes burned scar-style into his knuckles. Of course, he's much nicer than he looks, or than his books would indicate. Kadrey, who'll be appearing on behalf of his latest novel, Kill City...

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Thursday, May 2, 2013

From Iron Man to Funky Winkerbean, a guide to upcoming comic book events in the Triangle

Posted By on Thu, May 2, 2013 at 2:35 PM

This Friday Iron Man 3, which was partially filmed in Cary and throughout North Carolina, will blast into theaters after already taking in $200 million internationally. While it's the biggest comic-book-related event in the Triangle, it's not the only one, as a series of local and national creators are headed through the area during the next few months. These events help emphasize the variety and diversity of the medium. Image via FCBD siteSaturday sees the annual Free Comic Book Day event, where comic book retailers provide sample books created by publishers designed to hook new readers of all ages. Though...

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Friday, April 26, 2013

"The world's best artist" Mitch O'Connell brings modern kitsch to Raleigh

Posted By on Fri, Apr 26, 2013 at 1:47 PM

Image provided by Mitch O'Connell Mitch O'Connell's colorful, crazed pop-art illustrations have appeared everywhere from the cover of Newsweek (four times) to a recent full-page story in The Wall Street Journal, but you'll have to forgive him for hoping for a good-sized turnout at his appearance at Nice Price Books in Raleigh on April 27. "I’ll be in North Carolina meeting my fiancé’s father," says O'Connell, on the phone from his home in Chicago. "My only goal is that hopefully a respectable line is in place to impress him. "So I impose this responsibility on the people of Raleigh—hopefully it’s...

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Monday, March 18, 2013

Local playwright Monica Byrne lands major book deal with first novel

Posted By on Mon, Mar 18, 2013 at 9:10 PM

D.L. AndersonDurham playwright Monica ByrneCrown Publishing Group, a division of publishing giant Random House, has signed a major book deal with Durham playwright Monica Byrne for the rights to publish her first novel, The Girl in the Road, in 2014. Details of the arrangement were released over the weekend on the website for Publishers Marketplace, an industry publication. “I wanted to scream,” Byrne recalls when she received news of the agreement at the end of last week. “[My agent] was excited, everyone was so excited, and so pleased by the deal, which was considerable.” Crown signed what Byrne characterized as...

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Monday, March 4, 2013

In its last week before closing, Nice Price Books partners with Chapel Hill Library

Saturday & Sunday

Posted By on Mon, Mar 4, 2013 at 4:44 PM

Photo by Jeremy M. LangeA patron browses through Nice Price's selections.For those who've been following our coverage of the closing of the original Nice Price Books in Carrboro, there's one more chance to get some of their inventory this weekend. According to a news release, Nice Price has partnered with the Friends of the Chapel Hill Library for a benefit bag sale on March 9 and 10. Nice Price will donate 20 percent of sales to the Friends of the Chapel Hill Library, with books priced at $10 a bag on Saturday and $7 a bag on Sunday. Records, CDs...

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Monday, February 18, 2013

Brandon Sanderson finishes Robert Jordan's bestselling Wheel of Time Series with A Memory of Light

Posted By on Mon, Feb 18, 2013 at 12:24 PM

Imagine if J.K. Rowling had died before finishing Harry Potter, or if (as some fans fear) George R.R. Martin passes away before completing A Song of Ice and Fire, the bestselling series that’s also the basis for HBO’s Emmy-winning Game of Thrones. Now imagine you’re the one who has to come in, bring the epic to a satisfactory conclusion, resolve dozens of dangling plot threads, all while dealing with a passionate and demanding fan base who’ll never let you forget it if you fail. That was the challenge set before young writer Brandon Sanderson when he was called upon to...

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Three years after the earthquake, Durham's Jonathan M. Katz talks Haiti relief, the media and Sean Penn

Posted By on Wed, Feb 13, 2013 at 12:47 PM

Zach HetrickJonathan M. Katz Journalist Jonathan M. Katz, who currently resides in Durham, was the only full-time U.S. reporter in Haiti at the time of the 2010 earthquake. His experiences, not just during the immediate aftermath of the quake but over the next few years of relief efforts, are recounted in his new book, The Big Truck That Went By: How the World Came to Save Haiti and Left Behind a Disaster (Palgrave Macmillan, $26.00), which he'll read tonight at Durham's Regulator Bookshop at 7 p.m. The book has received widespread acclaim for its insight into post-earthquake Haiti, and during...

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Friday, February 1, 2013

Kim Harrison on The Hollows

Posted By on Fri, Feb 1, 2013 at 1:43 PM

Kate ThorntonKim Harrison After nearly a decade and 11 novels in her best-selling urban fantasy series The Hollows, author Kim Harrison admits that the characters "almost seem real" to her. "I know them better than a lot of my neighbors," says Harrison in a call from a hotel in Houston on her latest book tour. The author will appear at Quail Ridge Books and Music on Saturday, Feb. 2. "I’ve spent almost 10 years with most of the characters in the books, and know what they will and won’t do—but it’s most exciting for me when they do something I...

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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Black Hawk Down author Mark Bowden talks The Finish: The Killing of Osama bin Laden

Posted By on Wed, Oct 31, 2012 at 7:16 PM

Journalist Mark Bowden’s books have covered everything from D-Day to cyber war to NFL football to the intense military action of Black Hawk Down, the basis for the Oscar-winning film of the same name. Now, he’s chronicled a recent and harrowing event in international history with The Finish: The Killing of Osama bin Laden (Atlantic Monthly Press), a chronicle of the 10-year battle to find the notorious terrorist. We spoke recently with Bowden, who appears at Quail Ridge Books & Music in Raleigh on Thursday. INDY WEEK: It’s only been a little over a year and a half since bin...

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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Award-winning NCSU alum Kij Johnson returns to Triangle with new book

Posted By on Tue, Oct 9, 2012 at 9:41 AM

Kij Johnson's appearance Tuesday night at Quail Ridge Books & Music to promote her new short story collection At the Mouth of the River of Bees (Small Beer Press, $16) is something of a homecoming for the award-winning writer of science fiction and fantasy — it's a return to the city where she recently completed her MFA in Creative Writing at N.C. State University, and completed her novella "The Man Who Bridged the Mist," which recently won both of science fiction's top awards, the Hugo and the Nebula (the story is available for free online). Johnson, who is now Assistant...

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Sunday, October 7, 2012

Stephan Pastis talks Pearls Before Swine and the future of newspaper comic strips

Monday at Quail Ridge Books

Posted By on Sun, Oct 7, 2012 at 12:20 PM

Provided by Andrews McMeel PublishingPearls Before Swine CoverAs the mind behind the hit newspaper comic Pearls Before Swine, Stephan Pastis appreciates the time he's able to get away from the drawing board and interact with his fans. "When you’re a cartoonist, you basically see nobody," says Pastis, who appears at Quail Ridge Books and Music Monday night, in a call from his home in Santa Rosa, Calif. "You’re in a room by yourself, and you know that people see the strip, but the reality to the people reading it is very different from your reality — it’s like being a...

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Monday, October 1, 2012

Emma Straub talks classic Hollywood with "Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures" at Flyleaf Books tonight

Posted By on Mon, Oct 1, 2012 at 3:14 PM

Photo by Sarah ShatzEmma Straub's decision to do a signing for her debut novel Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures (Riverhead Books, $26.95) at Flyleaf Books at 7 p.m. tonight was sealed earlier this year when she casually stepped into the bookshop while in town for a show with the Magnetic Fields. “The most amazing thing happened—when I walked in the door, I saw a copy of my galley, which was brand new, on the desk," says Straub on a call from her book tour. "And then Land Arnold, one of the owners, looked up at me and said, ‘We were...

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Friday, June 22, 2012

Boneshaker author Cherie Priest talks steampunk at ConTemporal in Chapel Hill

Posted By on Fri, Jun 22, 2012 at 9:47 AM

Photo by Libby BulloffCherie PriestWhy should you head to ConTemporal, the Chapel Hill-based science fiction convention that focuses heavily on the retro-futuristic concept of steampunk? We’ll let the con’s literary guest of honor Cherie Priest tell you why. Steampunk, for those not in the know, is a branch of science fiction that postulates what would have happened if modern or futuristic technology had been created in the past, using the technology and materials available at that time, e.g. steam engines, zeppelins and the like. It’s become a particularly popular subset of science fiction fandom, with many fans creating steampunk-themed outfits...

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I've been to the last 2 NC ComiCons in Durham. It's a great event, but the panels are kind of …

by Ruby Sinreich on NC Comicon and Oak City Comicon Consolidate Brands as New Competition From Florida Looms (Arts)

Also, don't miss Illogicon this weekend http://illogicon.org/ - it's another great fan event!

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