About the author

Naumoff

Lawrence Naumoff is a novelist and teacher in the Creative Writing Program at the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill. He is the winner of a Whiting Award, a Thomas Wolfe award and many other literary prizes. His novel, Taller Women, a cautionary tale, was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year in 1992.

A collection of short stories titled The Cashmere Sweater and Other Stories is now an e-book. It’s the first group of stories Naumoff has written that is purely about childhood. It’s on the Kindle and Nook site, and also downloads for other digital readers, and your pc.  Also the collection titled The Beautiful Couple and Other Stories is now an e-book.

His comic novel is called:  The Longest Mobile Home in the Blue Ridge Mountains.  It’s purely humor, and the main character, Jimral Isenhour, is straight out of a mountain folk tale, though exaggerated even beyond that.  That novel is a Kindle book, and there is more about it on the Kindle page.  It’s also available for most other digital readers, including on a pc, etc.

His previous novel, A Southern Tragedy, in Crimson and Yellow, is about the Hamlet, North Carolina chicken plant fire of 1991. The fire exits had been locked by the owners to keep the workers from stealing. 26 workers died, and the tragedy captured the attention of the media as well as everyday citizens. A well-known photograph was taken of a set of kicked, soot smudged footprints on the inside of a fire exit door. The novel won the 2005 Sir Walter Raleigh Award for “the best work of fiction by a North Carolina author.”  It’s on Kindle, also.

U.S. publications:

The Night of the Weeping Woman, 1988, Morgan Entrekin/Atlantic Monthly Press.

Rootie Kazootie, 1990, Farrar Straus and Giroux.

Taller Women, a cautionary tale, 1992, Harcourt Brace.

Silk Hope, 1994, Harcourt Brace.

A Plan for Women, 1997, Harcourt Brace.

A Southern Tragedy, in Crimson and Yellow, 2005, Zuckerman Cannon/Blair.

Foreign publications:

The Night of the Weeping Women, Rootie Kazootie and Taller Women by Collins Publishers, England.

De Nacht van de Huilende Vrouwen, and, Hoed u Voor Langere Vrouwen, published by De Arbeiderespers, Amsterdam.

Mujeres Mas Altas, published by Seix Barral, Barcelona

Frauen Auf Der Uberhol-Spur, published by Econ Taschenbuch Verlag, Dusseldorf.

Dansa i Mansken, published by Wiken, Finland

The Night of the Weeping Women was bought by a Japanese publisher but I never saw a copy–the Japanese literary agent who represented it, died, I lost touch, wonder if it did actually come out?

Film activity:

Film version of Silk Hope was a CBS Sunday Night Movie in 1999, starring Farrah Fawcett. This is one of the lesser movies you would ever see. It’s bound to end up as a joke movie at a Farrah Fawcett retrospective.  (Summer, 09….Farrah just died after a terrible couple of years with cancer…so, what I said about the film is still true, but now it’s tragic, which makes it so I should rewrite what I said, but I’ll leave it, while being sorry about her death.)

Rootie Kazootie was optioned for years and is currently owned, as far as I know, outright, by the actress Diane Lane. It was optioned for years, before that, by Alphonso and Carlos Cuaron, (that may not be how to spell the last name), but they did Children of Men, Gravity, and other really terrific films.  A screenplay for Rootie was written by Carlos Cuaron during the time they held the option.

The Night of the Weeping Women was optioned for 7 years by Mindy Marin of Blue Water Ranch Entertainment. She’s also an important casting director.  She paid me to write a script, it didn’t go anywhere, she paid someone else to work on that script, nothing happened. It’s not optioned now, as far as I know.

Awards:

The 2005 Sir Walter Raleigh Award for the novel A Southern Tragedy, in Crimson and Yellow. This prize, given by the N.C. Literary and Historical Society, is presented for “the best work of fiction by a N.C. author,” each year.

Winner of Whiting Writer’s Award, a Thomas Wolfe Memorial Award, a National Endowment for the Arts Discovery Award, Carolina Quarterly Prize, and other prizes.

Short stories and essays appear in various publications and collections.

Praise for Lawrence Naumoff’s books:

Rootie Kazootie

“A brilliant comedy of errant romance….Plaintive, madcap, utterly seductive, Naumoff writes about marriage and faithlessness as if he were concocting an eighth Deadly Sin.”

-The Washington Post

A Plan for Women

“A provocative novel…When Naumoff exercises his exacting sympathy, understanding and humor on the desperate moments of daily life, he brings such compassion to his characters that their struggles are heroically transformed.”

-The New York Times Book Review

The Night of the Weeping Women

“(Naumoff) looks at marriage honestly. What he sees is outrageously—hilariously, tragically—undeniable; and he sets it all down with effortless-looking brilliance.

-Reynolds Price

Taller Women

“Taller Women is compellingly radiant meta-fiction about male-female relationships. A scathing indictment of the way things were ‘back then’, i.e., now. A warning written in dazzling prose variously reminiscent of Pinter, Beckett, Robert Coover and Nathanael West.”

-Publishers Weekly

Silk Hope, NC

“The book is funny, sad and wise in all the right places.”

-The News and Observer

A Southern Tragedy, in Crimson and Yellow

“With meticulous physical descriptions, Naumoff has written not just an historical novel, or a political one, or one of personal lives and tragedies, but all those things at once.”

-Haven Kimmel

Life other than writing and teaching:

In the 70s and 80s, Naumoff had a farm in Silk Hope, about 22 miles west of Chapel Hill.  He farmed organically, which almost no one was doing then.  It didn’t work out. The land was poor, there was no market, didn’t entirely know what he was doing, but it was a good life.  He did raise pigs and had them slaughtered and the quality of the meat was off the charts, and people lined up to buy it, but he disliked killing the animals.  The last pig he raised and had killed—the man with the rifle, who was buying the pig for a BBQ party, missed the spot that would drop the pig, the pig was wounded, and ran to Naumoff to help him and protect him( like, as in, help, there’s someone trying to kill me, you’ve been my friend for 8 months, right?  You fed me, talked to me, we kind of hung out, right?).

During that time, he also hired himself out to take down entire farms in what would become Jordan Lake .…the Corps of Engineers, which bought all the land, and moved everyone out, would sell someone an entire farm for $50 to $200, and you got all the buildings and anything in them, and anything left on the grounds(old rusted cars and tractors).  He would take the buildings apart, piece by piece, and the people who hired him to do that would then build their own houses or barns out of the lumber or the logs(lots of log houses and barns).  Empty farms, all sitting there like perfect film sets, just no people.  20,000 acres of houses and sheds and sweet potato barns and tobacco barns and hay and cattle barns, all there, but no one living there.  Very eerie place to be.

Which then led to becoming a carpenter.  Worked first as a helper and then an actual carpenter for a crew of old men in the Silk Hope/Snow Camp area, where he learned to build the entire house, from framing to roofing to siding to trim to flooring to cabinets.  Then was asked to build houses for families, went on his own, got a crew together, became the chief carpenter and general contractor, did all his own work, building one house at a time.  Eventually building architect designed houses.

And while doing that, started writing again(he’d stopped after a productive early career), sold first novel to a NY house(Morgan Entrekin at Atlantic Monthly Press…now Grove/Atlantic).  And eventually stopped building and just wrote.

(Photo at the top of the page by Steve ExumPhotos below—Late 80s,(publicity photo taken by Caroline Vaughan);  2005, (wind blowing hard, very cold day, outside of Wilson Library, by Exum);  70s(on tractor, in Maine, went down to 41 below zero one night, also that winter was the deepest snow season in a hundred years—200+ inches). (click photo to enlarge).

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