Asheville is home to many authors and literary wonders. I do not know if it’s the beautiful Western North Carolina mountains or the creative atmosphere that fosters the arts, but there are several writers who can call Asheville their home.
Probably the author that is most closely associated with Asheville is Thomas Wolfe who lived just blocks away from Biblio’s office steps, from 1900-38. He was born and buried in Asheville and probably his most famous work is Look Homeward, Angel. His famous contemporary, F. Scott Fitzgerald visited Asheville many times during the 1930s when Asheville was in its heyday. Fitzgerald stayed at the Grove Park Inn and his wife, Zelda who was a writer in her own right, died tragically in 1948 at Highland Hospital, a psychiatric facility located in a charming North Asheville neighborhood.
Then you have O.Henry who wrote the famous “The Gift of the Magi.” He married into an Asheville-area family and is buried in Asheville’s Riverside Cemetery. Carl Sandburg, who won the Pulitzer Prize and was famous for his biographies of Lincoln, lived his last 22 years on a farm nearby Flat Rock. Black Mountain College, located just minutes from Biblio, fostered a younger generation of poets including Jonathan Williams, Robert Creeley, Joel Oppenheimer, Robert Duncan and Charles Olson during the 1940s and ’50s.
More recently, novelist Charles Frazier gave the starring role to a special mountain located in Asheville. Cold Mountain tells an epic tale during the Civil War. It won the National Book Award in 1997 and was made into a movie in 2003. If you should decide to pay Asheville a visit, you can see this mountain from the Blue Ridge Parkway at mile marker 412. Wayne Caldwell was raised in nearby Enka-Candler. He writes eloquently of the natives in Cataloochee which is part of the Great Smokies. This inspired the 2007 novel, Cataloochee. Elizabeth Kostova now calls Asheville her home, as she has followed her grandparents’ footsteps. She is known for The Historian, the best-selling debut novel of all time; and more recently The Swan Thieves.
So, please share with Biblio your local literary heroes!