Mesha Maren and Randall O'Wain: What Southern Writing Means Right Now

Mesha Maren & Randal O'wain in Conversation on 5/25!

The authors this evening will be discussing the current condition of Southern literature in this event held on Crowdcast.

The $5 ticket gets you:

  • admission to the event (30-40 minutes including audience Q&A
  • $5 off coupon for your next purchase of books from

New to Crowdcast? Here's a guide!

“Maren is masterly at describing America’s modern wastelands, the blasted towns not yet and maybe never-to-be the beneficiaries of rehabilitation and reoccupation. […] You can almost see Maren — like Raymond Chandler — cutting each typed page into three strips and requiring each strip to contain something delightful (startling simile, clever dialogue, brilliant description) offered to the reader as recompense for a world that presses up against you all raw and aggressive and dangerous. A language that fully owns its power to capture just that “heart-wild magic.”

--Charles Frazier is the author of Cold Mountain and Varina and a winner of the National Book Award.

"Randal O’Wain’s memoir, Meander Belt, is more than the heart-wrenching story of a working-class southern family in the last decades of the twentieth century and the first decade of the twenty-first. In and through the struggles he and his family experience, O’Wain reveals the insidious effects of class and status on the most intimate aspects of American life. Meander Belt combines riveting storytelling with implicit emotional, psychosocial analysis; the result is the rarest of all books—a deeply thoughtful page-turner". 

—Alan Shapiro is the author of Reel to Reel, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and Night of the Republic, a finalist for the National Book Award. 

Mesha Maren is the author of the novel Sugar Run (Algonquin Books). Her short stories and essays can be read in Tin House, The Oxford American, The Guardian, Crazyhorse, Triquarterly, The Southern Review, Ecotone, Sou’wester, Hobart, Forty Stories: New Writing from Harper Perennial, and elsewhere. She was the recipient of the 2015 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize, a 2014 Elizabeth George Foundation grant, an Appalachian Writing Fellowship from Lincoln Memorial University, and fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and the Ucross Foundation. She was the 2018-2019 Kenan Visiting Writer at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is an Assistant Professor of the Practice of Creative Writing at Duke University and also serves as a National Endowment of the Arts Writing Fellow at the federal prison camp in Alderson, West Virginia.

Randal O'Wain holds an MFA from Iowa's Nonfiction Writing Program. He is the author of Meander Belt: family, loss, and coming of age in the working class south (American Lives Series, 2019) and Hallelujah Station and other stories (Autumn House Press, 2020) His essays and short stories have appeared in Oxford American, Guernica, The Pinch, Booth, Hotel Amerika, storySouth, among others.

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Staff Pick Badge
Sugar Run: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781616209810
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Algonquin Books - October 8th, 2019

Meander Belt: Family, Loss, and Coming of Age in the Working-Class South (American Lives ) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781496213310
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: University of Nebraska Press - October 1st, 2019