The story behind the man: First-ever Horace Kephart biography explores a complex man and momentous life

Horace Kephart has been dead for 88 years, but his name and his story still pull an undercurrent through Western North Carolina. 

Kephart is acclaimed as the father of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, an outdoorsman gifted with an adventurous soul, and the author of such staples of regional literature as Our Southern Highlanders and Camping and Woodcraft. He’s derided, too, as a man with a severe drinking problem, a shirker of family responsibility and an outsider who profited off of sometimes less-than-flattering depictions of the locals. 

Author with Bryson City roots publishes RBG biography

Born of the same generation but in different parts of the country, Jane Sherron De Hart and Ruth Bader Ginsburg traveled on oddly similar parallel paths. Those paths would eventually cross as De Hart’s 15 years worth of research on the Supreme Court Justice recently became the most comprehensive biography of Ginsburg’s life and law career.

Tapping into the past, present of Appalachia

In the six or so years I’ve lived and worked in Western North Carolina, the amount of craft breweries in our region has literally quadrupled. And as someone who has written extensively about craft beer, industry trends and so forth, it’s pretty impossible to keep up with it all. 

Bullock murder case remains unsolved after 55 years

Ronnie Evans tries to remember his cousin as the beautiful and spunky woman pictured on the cover of his new book — the sparkle emanating from her party dress and her eyes — but the image he can’t get out of his head is the one of her lying on a cold slab following her autopsy in 1963. 

“I see these beautiful photos of her and realize she’d be 95 today if she lived, but I also saw her on a slab after the autopsy was done,” he said. “That and knowing how it happened to her — to know what she was subjected to — that’s why I’ve kept searching for answers.”

Catch him if you can: David Joy releases highly-anticipated third novel

If you didn’t know him, you wouldn’t even notice him.

Sitting by himself at the counter of the Innovation Station in Dillsboro one recent sunny afternoon, David Joy sips on a heady craft brew, the blonde ale to be specific (his favorite). The sparkling new second location for Innovation Brewing (based out of nearby Sylva), Joy is fiercely loyal to the indepently-owned/operated company, a loyalty akin to the hardscrabble characters of his wildy fascinating and acclaimed novels.

A life stranger than fiction: Local author releases novel of true-life confessions

As Royal Phillips packs up her belongings that signify the last 20 years she’s spent in Waynesville and prepares for her next chapter in Palm Springs, California, she can’t help but to feel like her life has come full circle — and what a crazy circle it has been. 

Walking in someone else’s story: Swain students find common ground with NYC students

On the surface, students in Swain County grow up worlds apart from students in New York City. 

New pictorial book on Cherokee released

Images of America: Cherokee, Anna Fariello’s new pictorial history book, will be presented during a special event at 6:30 p.m. Friday, March 16, at City Lights Bookstore in Sylva. The book is part of a popular series that highlights cities and towns throughout the country. Fariello’s long career has focused on preservation and working with historic photographs. 

This must be the place: ‘I ain’t getting rich now but I’m gettin’ more than by’

The solidarity was evident.

Sitting onstage this past Monday at Nantahala Brewing in Bryson City, I conducted another episode of “Smoky Mountain Voices,” where local characters and officials are interviewed during an extended face-to-face conversation. It’s in an effort to learn more about the people and places that make Western North Carolina such a unique and cherished region.

The quandary that is book shelving

The books have once again piled up in stacks up to three feet high in many corners of the house. It’s time to get organized. Easier said than done. Un-shelving and reorganizing and re-shelving books is tricky business, with multiple options that can be endlessly fascinating and frustrating. But it’s an innocent species of self-therapy that I look to — for the most part.

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