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...
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