Some of you may know that my 2003 novel Where the Water-Dogs Laughed was fortunate to be shortlisted for next year's Together We Read (TWR) selection. TWR is the very fine regionwide program that promotes reading and the love of fine writing throughout Western North Carolina. On December 2 the winning book was announced. It is Robert Morgan's highly-acclaimed Boone, a life-and-times biography of famed frontiersman Daniel Boone, who if course is closely identified with our section of the state.
I applaud this choice. Robert Morgan is not only one of our very best writers (he's a poet as well as a novelist and biographer), he's a great and modest gentleman--a rare species these days when more than a few recognized authors have allowed celebrity to corrode their manners. One day I was interviewing Ron Rash, the award-winning and famously self-effacing writer who teaches at Western Carolina, and I asked him why he wears his fame so lightly. His reply? "We're fortunate in North Carolina to have a whole generation of writers who came before us, who show us how to behave." The names he mentioned as examples were Robert Morgan, John Ehle, Fred Chappell and Lee Smith, this past year's TWR winner.
I couldn't agree more. Congratulations, Mr. Morgan, and thanks for being the class act you are.