A hairdresser, a secretary, a preacher and a wrestler stand in the sun in a line of fellow pilgrims. They come from small towns in every nook and cranny of the South, their home-cooked lunches in hand, to seek the counsel and blessings of their patron saint, St. Elvis of Tupelo. While they gather together at the gates of Graceland, the pilgrims swap stories – some poignant, some silly, and only a few related to Elvis – to pass the time.
These tales are recounted in “Going To Graceland” (St. Andrews University Press/2018), a new collection of short stories by beloved North Carolina author Ruth Moose. Moose drew the inspiration for these glimpses into the lives of small-town Southerners from local newspaper clippings and her memories of the characters she encountered in her hometown of Abermarle, North Carolina.
Guest host Anita Rao talks with Moose about rekindling her love of short story writing and her mission to portray working-class Southern characters with empathy and nuance. Moose will read from her new collection at 3 p.m. on Saturday, July 13 at Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill.