I am often asked why there are so many important writers from North Carolina. There may be more well-known fiction writers and poets per capita from North Carolina than any other state, unless it’s Mississippi. My short answer is this: Thomas Wolfe. Once Wolfe achieved such great fame in the 1930s, other young North Carolinians got the idea that writing was an opportunity, a real possibility. The same is probably true of Faulkner and Mississippi. Once a region or state has an extremely famous writer, other writers are likely to follow. But the recognition and encouragement North Carolina has given its writers is a factor also. When I was a student at NC State and UNC-Chapel Hill in the 1960s, the was a feature almost every Sunday in the Raleigh News & Observer about one North Carolina writer or another: Frances Grey Patton, Guy Owen, Reynolds Price, Doris Betts, Romulus Linney. It was assumed at both UNC-Chapel Hill and UNC-Greensboro that among the students there would be important future writers.