Rooted: Charlotte magazine essay to be included in new book

Virginia Brown among list of writers in 27 Views of Charlotte: The Queen City in Prose & Poetry

A few years ago, I read the collection 27 Views of Chapel Hill, and the first words of the first essay, an introduction by author Daniel Wallace, went like this: “In the beginning, before there was anybody here at all—before Chapel Hill, before Carrboro, even before Historic Hillsborough; before Franklin Street, skinny lattes, even before Dean Smith—this postage stamp of soil we now occupy was just an undefined mass of pine trees, parakeets, possums, and dirt. It was not known for anything; it was not famous for anything; it was not named anything.”

I didn’t attend UNC. I’ve never lived in Chapel Hill. The only real time I’ve spent there was during my years as a sports writer, swooping in and out of the Smith Center or Kenan Stadium to cover games. But Wallace’s words made me feel something for the place, not necessarily because they were about Chapel Hill, but because they could be about any place. Every city or town was, at some point, just dirt. But what rises from that dirt, the trees and animals and plants and people and buildings and battles and stories—they make it a place. And when we, as individuals, look at a place, we see it through our own lens, with our own prejudices and life experiences in other places shaping our opinions on this place.

Eno Publishers built a series around that idea, pulling together 27 writers in Hillsborough and Durham and Raleigh and Asheville. And now, Charlotte. The publishing house will release 27 Views of Charlotte: The Queen City in Prose and Poetry in paperback in September, with a book launch at Park Road Books at 2 p.m. on September 27. Many of the 27 writers will be there, including one of our own.

Virginia Brown is an associate editor at Charlotte magazine, and her essay “Rooted,” a story about Charlotte’s trees that appeared in our August 2013 issue, is included in the 27 Views of Charlotte collection. We’re thrilled about this, not just because she works here, but because Virginia is a true Charlottean. She moved here when she was 2 years old. She graduated from East Mecklenburg High School. She’s a member of the Oratorio Singers of Charlotte. Perhaps no writer on our staff or in our network of freelancers belongs in a book about Charlotte more than Virginia.

We learned that her trees essay would be included in the collection a few months ago. But it became real yesterday, when the publisher sent her a photo of the cover and back cover. And there it was, “Virginia Brown.”

Also included in the collection are writers from The Charlotte Observer and Creative Loafing. And so is Bob Inman, a former WBTV news anchor who last fall penned an essay for our October issue titled, “Hello, from Up Here.”

This is just the start. Two other writers who contribute regularly to Charlotte magazine will have big news about books and/or collections later this summer and fall.

For now, though, join us in congratulating Virginia and all of the fine writers in 27 Views. We’re lucky to share this dirt with them.

Categories: The Buzz, Trade & Tryon