The Storied South

Voices of Writers and Artists

By William Ferris

Includes a CD of original interviews and a DVD of original film

288 pp., 8 x 9.5, 46 halftones, bibl., index

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-0754-2
    Published: August 2013
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-1-4696-0755-9
    Published: August 2013
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-4010-3
    Published: August 2013

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Awards & distinctions

A 2013 Okra Pick: Great Southern Books Fresh Off the Vine, Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance

The Storied South features the voices--by turn searching and honest, coy and scathing--of twenty-six of the most luminous artists and thinkers in the American cultural firmament, from Eudora Welty, Pete Seeger, and Alice Walker to William Eggleston, Bobby Rush, and C. Vann Woodward. Masterfully drawn from one-on-one interviews conducted by renowned folklorist William Ferris over the past forty years, the book reveals how storytelling is viscerally tied to southern identity and how the work of these southern or southern-inspired creators has shaped the way Americans think and talk about the South.

The Storied South offers a unique, intimate opportunity to sit at the table with these men and women and learn how they worked and how they perceived their art. The volume also features 45 of Ferris's striking photographic portraits of the speakers and a CD and a DVD of original audio and films of the interviews.

About the Author

William Ferris is Joel R. Williamson Eminent Professor of History and senior associate director of the Center for the Study of the American South at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. A former chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, Ferris is author of Give My Poor Heart Ease: Voices of the Mississippi Blues, among other books, and coeditor of the award-winning Encyclopedia of Southern Culture.
For more information about William Ferris, visit the Author Page.


"[A] wonderful work. Required for viewers and readers interested in Southern folkways and culture."--Library Journal starred review

"[A] rich collection developed over 40 years. . . . [A] moving and eloquent book."--Publishers Weekly

"Compiles decades' worth of deeply personal interviews with many of the South's greatest luminaries. . . . . And thanks to an included CD and DVD, their voices leap off the page and come to life."--Garden and Gun

"Ferris' idea of an essential South, layered by a narrative sensibility in music, literature and the visual arts, sings to the better angels of our nature. . . . Yet reading this remarkable book one realizes, too, that a brooding, unsettled nature about the South is still sadly with us."--New Orleans Magazine

"Not to be missed. . . . This collection is a triumph of intelligent and provocative conversation."--Jackson Clarion-Ledger

"Ferris offers a collection of his interviews with writers and artists he has come to know personally during 40 years of tramping around his native land."--Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Multimedia & Links

Keep up with the author on his Facebook page.

Follow the author on Twitter @WRFerris.

Read: In a guest blog post, Ferris describes his relationship with his mother and how her stories, no matter how far away, connect him to his family and continually ground him with a sense of identity. Read "Comfort in My Mother’s Stories".

Read In another guest blog post, Ferris explains how central storytelling is to a successful and fulfilling life in the South and, specifically, how it shows itself in art. Read "A Little Bit of Story in Everything."