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Southern LiterBEARy Portraits
Clyde Edgerton

Protrait by students of Mr. Priscilla Dollar's class,
Deep River Elementary School

by Lyman W.

Few who knew Clyde Edgerton during his childhood would have predicted that he would grow up to be an author. Odds would have been placed on his being either a professional baseball player or a rock musician; or, if his parents wishes would have been fulfilled, a missionary or concert pianist. He loved the amazing outdoor world. He loved to fish, and he hunted and hung out with his "good buddies". There was little indication that he had the slightest literary leanings.

Edgerton was born May, 20, 1944, in Durham, North Carolina, and then lived in the small community of Bethesda, which is located on the outskirts of Durham. He was the only child of Ernest and Truma Edgerton. Even though his immediate family was small, he lived near a total of 23 aunts and uncles and numerous cousins.

Edgerton's choice of English as a major in college at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill evolved slowly. Though he was a good student who enjoyed literature, his reading had been somewhat sporadic. During high school he recalls being impressed by Emerson, Thoreau, and Twain. But, after reading Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms as a college sophomore, he decided to be an English teacher.

Edgerton made a decision to be a serious writer of literature. In May, 1978, the Edgertons sat down and watched a writer read one her stories on TV. He had already been keeping a journal, jotting down ideas, feelings, and characters on paper. That night he wrote in his journal: "May 14, 1978 - Tomorrow I would like to begin to be a writer." It was the beginning of a career that resulted in 7 novels: Raney, Walking Across Egypt, The Floatplane Notebooks, Killer Diller, In Memory of of Junior, Redeye, and Where Trouble Sleeps. He received the Guggenheim Fellowship, a Lyndhurst Fellowship, and the North Carolina Award for Literature. Because of his ability to bring his literature to life, he continues to be very much in demand as a speaker and a reader of his own fiction.