A Fabled Kingdom: Why Readers Love a Southern Setting in Fiction

Countless times I’ve been asked whether a story I’ve written could take place anywhere other than the South. My answer has always been that every story I write, no matter where it takes place, is set in the South. I don’t know how to tell a story any other way. In my fiction, I’m forever setting a table laden with buttermilk biscuits, served up to a melting pot of neighbors who pray for the bounty of their fields, who have long memories and deep roots, who trade ghost stories, long for transcendence, and carry a heartache for a homeplace that never stops haunting their dreams. These common themes compel me to write fiction, hoping to unspool some meaning for myself and my readers, and the allegory of a Southern setting never fails to get at the heart of the human mystery, at least for me.

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