Jill McCorkle Biography


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Jill Collins McCorkle is an important member of the third generation of twentieth century southern writers. Her ties to the landscape and cultural distinctiveness of the South stem from her upbringing among storytelling family members in the small town of Lumberton, North Carolina, where both her father, John, a postal worker, and her mother, Melba, a medical secretary, had extended family. McCorkle’s sense of language and natural representation of conversations among characters reveal her ties to the oral tradition of southern literary figures such as Mark Twain, Zora Neale Hurston, and Joel Chandler Harris.

McCorkle earned a B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1980. Her professors included fiction writers Max Steele and Lee Smith as well as the highly respected southern literature scholar Louis D. Rubin, Jr., all of whom played vital roles in her development as a writer. She graduated from the Hollins College Masters Program in Writing in 1981, earning the Andrew James Purdy Prize for her fiction. Her first two novels were published simultaneously by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, a publishing house established by Rubin in 1982. Rave reviews led to McCorkle’s teaching creative writing classes at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and at Duke University in 1986.

Upon her marriage to Dr. Daniel Shapiro, a graduate of the University of North Carolina medical school, McCorkle moved to Boston, where...

(The entire section is 542 words.)


(Short Stories for Students)

Jill Mccorkle Published by Gale Cengage

Jill Mccorkle was born July 7, 1958, in Lumberton, North Carolina, to John Wesley Jr. and Melba Ann (Collins) Mccorkle. She studied creative...

(The entire section is 316 words.)


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Bennett, Barbara. “‘Reality Burst Forth’: Truth, Lies, and Secrets in the Novels of Jill McCorkle.” The Southern Quarterly: A Journal of the Arts in the South 31, no. 1 (Fall, 1997): 107-122. Explores the dominant theme of lies and self-delusion in five novels.

Bennett, Barbara. Understanding Jill McCorkle. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2000. After providing an overview of McCorkle’s life and influences on her work, Bennett analyzes themes, characters, sense of place and language, and use of popular culture in the long and short fiction.

Pembroke Magazine 34 (2002). This Jill McCorkle special issue includes an interview with McCorkle plus ten essays on her work.

Pierce, Todd. “Jill McCorkle: The Emergence of the New South.” Southern Studies 5, nos. 3/4 (Fall/Winter, 1994): 19-30. Traces the influence of the past and the focus on ordinary, middle-class people and popular culture in McCorkle’s first books.

Walker, Elinor Ann. “Dizzying Possibilities, Plots, and Endings: Girlhood in Jill McCorkle’s Ferris Beach.” In The Girl: Constructions of the Girl in Contemporary Fiction by Women, edited by Ruth Saxton. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1988. Analyzes McCorkle’s appropriation of earlier biography and fiction in the novel’s protagonist’s probing of female roles and her identity formation. The argument applies to other woman and girl characters in McCorkle’s fiction.