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It’s here: “Somewhere Safe With Somebody Good” is Jan Karon’s first Mitford novel in nearly a decade.

Fall’s around the corner, and area writers are gearing up with sex, a belligerent newspaperman and a woman who wants to drive Elvis’ muscle car back to Graceland.

The best short stories ask you to lend a hand in figuring things out. Unless, of course, the writer tacks on a neon message: Now, see here, life is a struggle. The writers here are too smart for that.

Gov. Pat McCrory didn’t go through the NC Arts Council in picking Valerie Macon as the state’s the new poet laureate. The Fuquay-Varina resident, who has self-published two books of poems, wants to work with the homeless.

Lee Smith, Mark Ethridge III find inspiration in packets of letters.

The hero of this novel is Ella May Wiggins, the young mother of five who led overworked, underpaid co-workers to strike at Gastonia’s Loray Mill in 1929.

New books, and a couple of my faves, to take to the beach this vacation season. My recommendations include the true story “A House of Sky” and Elizabeth Gilbert’s novel, “The Signature of All Things.”

Charlotte’s cigar-puffing Harry Golden promoted integration in the 1950s. A marker in the Elizabeth neighborhood of Charlotte ewill be unveiled Sunday.

Kudos to Gina Atkins, first place; Ryan Herrera, second; Leah Mell, third; Christina Jaquith, honorable mention. And special kudos to Marva Hutchinson.

The remarkable author from Chapel Hill is 92. She won an award for her short stories.

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Dannye Romine Powell
Dannye Romine Powell has published three collections of poetry (University of Arkansas Press) and a non-fiction book, "Parting the Curtains: Interviews with Southern Writers" (John Blair).
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