Mimi Herman, author of The Kudzu Queen, will be joining us at Hub City Bookshop to discuss her novel with Culley Holderfield, author of Hemlock Hollow! You won't want to miss these North Carolina authors while they're here. Meet us at the bookshop on Thursday, April 13th, at 6 PM!
The Kudzu Queen
“Funny, sad, and tender… Mimi Herman has written a novel that possesses a true and hard won understanding of the South.” —David Sedaris, author of Happy-Go-Lucky
Fifteen-year-old Mattie Lee Watson dreams of men, not boys. So when James T. Cullowee, the Kudzu King, arrives in Cooper County, North Carolina in 1941 to spread the gospel of kudzu—claiming that it will improve the soil, feed cattle at almost no cost, even cure headaches—Mattie is ready. Mr. Cullowee is determined to sell the entire county on the future of kudzu, and organizes a kudzu festival, complete with a beauty pageant. Mattie is determined to be crowned Kudzu Queen and capture the attentions of the Kudzu King. As she learns more about Cullowee, however, she discovers that he, like the kudzu he promotes, has a dark and predatory side. When she finds she is not the only one threatened, she devises a plan to bring him down. Based on historical facts, The Kudzu Queen unravels a tangle of sexuality, power, race, and kudzu through the voice of an irresistibly delightful (and mostly honest) narrator.
Past and present, love and loss intertwine in a magical mountain hollow. Holderfield's love of place shines in his sensitive descriptions while his storytelling enthralls the reader.
—Vicki Lane, author of And the Crows Took Their Eyes.
Caroline McAlister, college professor and life-long skeptic, is reeling from the loss of her father and her marriage. Her once promising career has come to a standstill. When her father bequeaths the family cabin to her, it comes with a ghost who haunted her childhood. When she discovers a century-old journal in the attic, she awakens the voice of Carson Quinn. The journal reveals Carson's love for the same hollow that enthralled Caroline growing up. A little sleuthing uncovers rumors that the kind, curious boy in the journal grew up to murder his brother. Caroline plunges into the project of exonerating Carson, only to find herself in the throes of a personal past she's spent her life trying to avoid. Hemlock Hollow is about how we forever haunt the places we love and how they haunt us in return.
Mimi Herman is the author of The Kudzu Queen, Logophilia and A Field Guide to Human Emotions. Her writing has appeared in Michigan Quarterly Review, Shenandoah, Crab Orchard Review, The Hollins Critic, Prime Number, and other journals. She has performed her fiction and poetry at Why There are Words, Symphony Space, and Raleigh Memorial Auditorium. Mimi is a member of the AWP Board of Directors, a Warren Wilson MFA alumna, a Kennedy Center Teaching Artist and a Hermitage Artist Retreat Fellow. She co-directs Writeaways writing workshops in France, Italy, Ireland and New Mexico. Youcan find out more about her at www.mimiherman.com.
Culley Holderfield learned to love storytelling on the porch of a cabin in the mountains of North Carolina. After graduating from UNC-Chapel Hill, where he studied creative writing with Doris Betts, he ventured to South America, Africa, and Europe. He has worked as a trail guide, a group home parent, freelance writer, and farm worker. For the past 20 years he has worked in community development finance. When not writing, he spends his time hiking, paddling, and wandering the outdoors. His short stories and poetry have appeared in a variety of publications, including Wildfire Magazine, Literally Stories, Yellow Mama, 2Leaf Press, Scarlet Leaf, Kakalak 2016 and 2020, Dime Show Review, and Floyd County Moonshine. Hemlock Hollow is his debut novel. He lives in Durham, NC.