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Wilton Barnhardt 

When: Sun., Sept. 22, 3 p.m. 2013
In his introduction to 27 Views of Raleigh: The City of Oaks in Prose & Poetry, Wilton Barnhardt gives a vivid short history of our state's capital, from its early days in New Bern and the long, winding westward road it took to the home it found in ... Johnston County. Finally, the county we know today as a beacon of Southern style and moderation was carved out by a planter, Charles Lane, and named for Royal Gov. William Tryon's wife, Margaret Wake.

Along the way, we learn about the discerning taste of Gen. William T. Sherman, who elected to spare the city even after word came of Lincoln's assassination. (The retreating Confederate who took a potshot at Sherman was not spared, however.) Sherman may have marched on Raleigh from the east, but the 27 Views series of place-based writing has finally approached the city from the west. Coming after similar volumes on Asheville, Hillsborough, Durham and Chapel Hill, Eno Publishing has produced a 220-page book with musings and fiction by Raleigh authorities young and not-so-young.

Such News & Observer stalwarts as Rob Christensen and Andrea Weigl offer portraits of, respectively, old Raleigh (the Sir Walter Hotel, where political deals got done) and new Raleigh (chef Ashley Christensen). The book includes neighborhood-oriented essays (including one by INDY Week music editor Grayson Haver Currin), poetry by Lenard D. Moore and Dorianne Laux, and fiction by Angela Davis-Gardner, John Kessel and others. Quail Ridge speculates that this Sunday afternoon event with Barnhardt and many of the contributors will be the largest collection of authors in the store's history. —David Fellerath

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