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Authors of the Southeast Project
Featured Author

Gloria Houston

Born in Marion, NC on November 24th, Gloria Houston grew up at Sunny Brook Store, her parent's country store, near Spruce Pine, NC. She is the daughter of Ruth, who was a storekeeper, as well as a homemaker and mother; and the late J. Myron Houston, who was a storyteller, an historian, a farmer and a storekeeper.

Gloria's childhood memories are steeped in rich Appalachian culture and manners. "I was saturated with language, the language of everyday conversation and stories almost from birth. I heard the language of every stratum of society as customers came and went. Those experiences provided a rich language background," says Gloria. "My father taught me family stories and local history. These influences have had a profound effect on both my stories and writign style. Family stories are an especially strong part of my work."

"I had written all my life, and finally in 1976 decided to try to get my work published. It was not an easy task," she says. Following 54 rejections of My Brother Joey Died, it was published by Messener in 1982. That same year she received a Master's Degree in English education from the University of South Florida.

Gloria began teaching at USF while working toward a Ph.D., and continued to write. This project turned out one of her best, The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree. Finally the publishing industry realized her literary talent. The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree would be followed by seven other books. Soon to be eight, with the release of her latest book scheduled for Winter 2000.

Currently, Gloria is Author-in-Residence and Visiting Assistant Professor, in the College of Education, at Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, North Carolina. Her books have won more than 40 national awards and one international award. She has been named a Distinguished Educator by the International Reading Asociation, and sits on the international Board of Governors of Computer Pals Across the World (CPAW), a network with world peace through communication as its goal.

To learn more about Dr. Houston, go to:

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Updated 5/16/02