If you’ve fallen behind on your reading goals for the year, now’s the perfect time to catch up. Not only are there plenty of highly anticipated books coming out in September and October, ranging from novels to memoirs and biographies, but an exciting number of them are by authors based in or around the Triangle.
The fact that the North Carolina region is home to such creative talent shouldn’t come as a surprise; after all, with its strong literary scene and acclaimed writing programs, the Triangle has much to offer for both writers and readers. Some of the country’s most acclaimed authors across genres, like David Sedaris, Pauli Murray, and Charles Frazier, grew up or now live in the area—and plenty of new writers are following in their footsteps.
Below, we’ve rounded up some of our must-read fall books written by local authors, from moving historical romances to thrilling sci-fi mysteries.
Black Folk Could Fly by Randall Kenan (out now)
Although this powerful collection of essays by the late acclaimed writer Randall Kenan came out in August, we’re including it in our roundup as it deserves even more attention than it’s already gotten (including a recent illustration of Kenan on the cover of The New York Times Book Review). The Hillsborough-based Kenan, who passed away on August 28, 2020, was a dazzling talent, and this work demonstrates his unique Southern voice and literary force.
Lizzie Blake’s Best Mistake by Mazey Eddings (Sep. 6)
Rom-com fans, this one’s for you. North Carolina–based author Mazey Eddings’s new novel follows the love story of an unlikely pair as they tackle an unexpected pregnancy. Eddings’s previous book, A Brush with Love, earned strong praise for its fast pace, witty humor, and sweet romance, and this new work should be no different.
The author will be speaking about the novel at Quail Ridge Books on Sep. 10.
American Refuge by Diya Abdo (Sep. 6)
A powerful and extremely timely look at the lives of refugees arriving in the United States from around the world, Diya Abdo’s American Refuge will be a major conversation starter. Abdo is the daughter of Palestinian refugees and founded the organization Every Campus a Refuge to provide temporary shelter to refugee families using college resources. She’s based in Greensboro, where she teaches at Guilford College.
The author will be speaking about the novel at Flyleaf Books on Sep. 6.
History buffs won’t want to miss out on this one. In his newest work, UNC-Chapel Hill professor, bestselling author, and history podcaster Mike Duncan dives into the fascinating life and career of the Marquis de Lafayette. Learn all about the legendary figure’s journey during and after the American Revolution through Duncan’s compelling read.
The author will be speaking about the novel at Flyleaf Books on Sep. 21.
Chaotic Neutral by Ed Burmila (Sep. 20)
In his fascinating and timely new book, North Carolina–based politics writer and professor Ed Burmila explores the recent actions (or inactions—the subtitle of the book is “How the Democrats Lost Their Soul in the Center”) of the Democratic Party through President Biden’s election, the pandemic, and more.
The author will be speaking about the novel at Flyleaf Books on Oct. 13.
Island of Spies by Sheila Turnage (Sep. 20)
Award-winning children’s author Sheila Turnage was inspired by her childhood growing up in eastern North Carolina, where she explored the shipwrecks of Hatteras Island, to write her newest novel, the story of 12-year-old Stick Lawson. It’s a middle-grade spy mystery set during World War II, with enough intrigue to captivate even the most reluctant tween reader.
The author will be speaking about the novel at Quail Ridge Books on Sep. 19.
The Swill by Michael Keenan Gutierrez (Sep. 27)
Set at a 1920 speakeasy and following a hard-on-their-luck family dealing with changing politics and gangsters, The Swill promises to be a thrilling and entertaining page-turner. Its author, Michael Keenan Gutierrez, lives in Chapel Hill and teaches at UNC.
The author will be speaking about the novel at Flyleaf Books on Sep. 22.
Station Eternity (The Midsolar Murders) by Mur Lafferty (Oct. 4)
Love genre-bending reads? Then you’ll definitely want to pick up Durham author Mur Lafferty’s latest work, which combines a traditional detective mystery with space-set sci-fi. From murder to aliens, this novel truly has it all, and the Hugo Award–nominated Lafferty will hold your attention from beginning to end.
The author will be speaking about the novel at Flyleaf Books on Oct. 4.
The Ink in the Grooves: Conversations on Literature and Rock ‘n’ Roll Edited by Florence Dore (Oct. 15)
This unique, entertaining book features a mix of essays and interviews with novelists, musicians, and music writers that discuss the complex relationship between music and the literary world. Editor Florence Dore, both a writer and musician herself, teaches at UNC-Chapel Hill. The author will be speaking about the novel at Flyleaf Books on Oct. 27.
Nothing Sung and Nothing Spoken by Nita Tyndall (Oct. 18)
Nita Tyndall, a North Carolina–based writer and translator, is the force behind this highly original queer historical romance for teens set in Germany the summer before World War II. No matter your age, this book promises a story you won’t be able to set down.
The author will be speaking about the novel at Flyleaf Books on Oct. 18.
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