Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021 - Signing line 5:30, Talk begins at 6:00 pm
Scroll to the bottom of this webpage to purchase your copy of Fight Songs.
This will be an in-person event, with a video recording posted after the event. Flyleaf will offer seating for up to twenty-five in-person guests, with priority access given to folks who purchase the book. If you preorder a copy through Flyleaf, please use your order comments to indicate whether you would like 1 or 2 seats held for you at the in-person event. We will contact you to confirm the reservation prior to the event.
Ed Southern, lifelong fan of the Wake Forest University Demon Deacons, the smallest school in the NCAA's Power 5, set out to tell the story of how he got tangled, in vines of history and happenstance, with the two giants of his favorite sport: the Crimson Tide and the Clemson Tigers. He set out to tell how a North Carolina native crossed the shifty, unmarked border between Tobacco Road and the Deep South. He set out to tell how the legendary Paul “Bear” Bryant, from beyond the grave, introduced him to his wife, a Birmingham native and die-hard Alabama fan.
While he was writing that story, though, 2020 came along.
Suddenly his questions had a new and urgent focus: Why do sports mean so much that so many will play and watch them in the face of a global pandemic? How have the South’s histories shaped its fervor for college sports? How have college sports shaped how southerners construct their identities, priorities, and allegiances? Why is North Carolina passionate about college basketball when its neighbors to the South live and die by college football? Does this have anything to do with North Carolina’s reputation as the most “progressive” southern state, a state many in the Deep South don't think is “really” southern? If college sports really do mean so much in the South, then why didn’t everyone down south wear masks or recognize that Black Lives Matter, even after the coaches told us to?
Fight Songs explores the connections and contradictions between the teams we root for and the places we plant our roots; between the virtues that sports are supposed to teach and the cutthroat business they've become; between the hopes of fans and the demands of the past, present, and future.
A native North Carolinian, Ed Southern has been Executive Director of the North Carolina Writers' Network since 2008. He is the author of four books, including the short story collection Parlous Angels. His shorter work in a variety of genres has appeared in storySouth, the North Carolina Literary Review, The Dirty Spoon, the NC 10x10 Play Festival, South Writ Large, the Asheville Poetry Review, and elsewhere. In 2015 he received the Fortner Award for service to the literary arts in North Carolina. He lives in Winston-Salem.
Daniel Wallace is the J. Ross MacDonald Distinguished Professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he directs the Creative Writing Program. He is the author of the novels Big Fish, Ray in Reverse, The Watermelon King, Mr. Sebastian and the Negro Magician, The Kings and Queens of Roam, and Extraordinary Adventures.