Doris June Waugh Biography


(Literary Essentials: Short Fiction Masterpieces)

Doris June Waugh Betts is the daughter of William Elmore and Mary Ellen Freeze Waugh. She was educated in the public schools of Statesville, North Carolina, and at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (1950-1953) and later at Chapel Hill (1954). On July 5, 1952, she married Lowry Matthew Betts, a lawyer. They had three children. Betts claimed that her childhood experiences as an Associate Reform Presbyterian have stayed with her. “The Bible is a strong source in my writing because I grew up in a strict religious family, strongly fundamentalist. Bible stories themselves are marvelous, really marvelous, background for a writer—a lot of the rhythms, to begin with, in the Bible are good for writers. And secondly, all these stories are very physical, very specific and concrete.” Betts taught English, including writing, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She received a Tanner Award for excellence in undergraduate teaching in 1973, the same year that Beasts of the Southern Wild, and Other Stories was nominated for a National Book Award. She and her husband bought a farm near Chapel Hill. Betts declined a nomination for chancellorship of the University of North Carolina but continued to teach.