In 1587 America’s first English child was born in a remote island wilderness. Her name was Virginia Dare. Soon after her birth, Virginia and more than a hundred men, women, and children disappeared, leaving a cryptic message carved on a tree.
What became of that infant girl and her people, now known as the Lost Colony? In search of an answer, Marjorie Hudson wanders the back roads of North Carolina and Virginia in an aging Dodge Caravan with a satchel of research notes and a head full of memory and imagining. Amazed by abandoned farmhouses wrapped in kudzu, the Great Dismal Swamp “dripping with spotted snakes,” the bones of the Jamestown colony, and the living nation of the Lumbee, Hudson discovers an epic story more complex and more deeply moving than she ever imagined.
Weaving research and interview, memory and imagination, Hudson’s tale is a spellbinding journey, an invitation to deep mysteries that lurk in the history of America and in ourselves.
Accidental Birds of the Carolinas
by Marjorie Hudson
9 x 6 paperback
Honorable Mention Winner: The PEN/Hemingway Award
A Novello Literary Award Finalist
Marjorie Hudson was born in a small town in Illinois, grew up in Washington, D.C., and now writes and lives in Chatham County, North Carolina. She is author of Accidental Birds of the Carolinas, a PEN/Hemingway Honorable Mention, and Searching for Virginia Dare, a North Carolina Arts Council Notable Book, just released in an expanded edition from Press 53.
Recipient of two Pushcart Special Mentions and a North Carolina Arts Council Fellowship , Hudson has published stories, essays, and poems in 5 anthologies and many magazines and journals. She writes on topics ranging from pond fishing to Sufi dancing, from extraordinary dogs to English explorers, from the artist’s life to the life of the monarch butterfly. Much of her work explores the links between history, the human spirit, and the natural world, and reviewers have compared her work to that of Thomas Hardy and Alice Munro.
Hudson is a graduate of American University and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Warren Wilson College. She teaches fiction and nonfiction writing and lectures for the NC Humanities Council Road Scholars on history and creative writing technique.
“Hudson’s prose is pure as birdsong.These fine stories of change and discovery are a field guide to the human species in transition.”
— Doris Betts, author of Beasts of the Southern Wild and Souls Raised from the Dead
"These are truly great stories…each voice so distinct, each “bird” so lost, so misplaced, so in need of someone to listen to their calls, their natural music.”
— Susan Ketchin, author of The Christ-Haunted Landscape
“The journeys of these lost characters overlap and echo back in ways that leave the reader both heartbroken and uplifted.”
— Jill McCorkle, author of Going Away Shoes
" 'It takes no time at all to fall in love with such a place, if you are paying attention,' says Elizabeth in the first of these seven extraordinary stories (and one novella). The same can be said for this collection: Pay attention and you will fall in love."
— Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC
“A fiction writer of considerable craft, and her interplay of personality, nature and fate brings Thomas Hardy to mind.”
— Ben Steelman, Wilmington Star-News
Emma Skurnick lives on the banks of the Haw River in Bynum, North Carolina. After taking rambling walks beside that shallow body of water, she returns to her studio to paint—often creating portraits of the plants and animals she has encountered. Trained as a scientific illustrator, she has lately drifted towards infusing her art with a bit of wry storytelling. By granting her portrait subjects personality and humor, she hopes to impel the viewer to slow down and consider the beings with whom we share our space.
Searching for Virginia Dare
by Marjorie Hudson
New Second Edition!
9 x 6 paperback
“An absorbing, intelligent consideration of national and personal identity, beautifully written.”
— Lee Smith
“A fantastic weave of wit and observation, of careful investigation and scrutiny of sources, mingled with a personal narrative of a Yankee come South. . . .”
— The People’s Civic Record
“Hudson has invented a new genre, a sort of parting of the authorial curtain to reveal . . . the commonalities that bind both author and reader to someone of another place and time”
— Chapel Hill Herald
“[Hudson] set off on the cold trail [of Virginia Dare] like a determined bloodhound . . . and stirred up the ghosts of our first settlers, four centuries old.”
— Durham Herald-Sun
“Hudson’s writing is so strong, so immediate, you feel as if you’re right there in the passenger seat . . .”
— Southern Pines Pilot
“Hudson has written the book that I would have liked to have written. … What is the lens that ultimately shapes Hudson’s story? It is the importance of loss, as much as of success, to the human experience.”
— Dr. E. Thomson Shields, Director, Roanoke Colonies Research Office, in North Carolina Literary Review
Press 53 . PO Box 30314, Winston-Salem, NC 27130-0314
Like birds blown off course in a great storm, the characters in these connected stories need a place to roost—a place to settle long enough to learn the secrets of their own hearts. They find that place in fictional Ambler County, North Carolina, by the banks of the Sissipahaw River. From a heartbroken city girl to a runaway bride, from an old-timer with regrets to a Yankee retiree, from a New Age farmer to an African American midwife, from an English explorer to an Eno Indian —all are looking for a way to connect, a way to heal, a way home.
Press 53 is located at
The Community Arts Cafe
411 W. Fourth St
Winston-Salem, NC 27101
(Video) BookWatch with D.G. Martin:
New edition includes “The Search Continues: New Journeys, New Explorations”