UNCG Campus Weekly

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Southern soul, at Our State

Photo of Elizabeth Hudson speaks with poet and faculty member Terry Kennedy and other attendees at book signingThere’s a yellowed piece of paper with a jagged edge pinned above Elizabeth Hudson’s desk at Our State magazine. On it, there’s a list penned in tight cursive of nine definitive characteristics of Southern fiction: deep involvement in place, family bonds, celebration of eccentricity, strong narrative voice, themes of human endurance, local tradition, sense of impending loss, pervasive sense of humor in the face of tragedy and an inability to leave the past behind.

Hudson jotted down those words as an undergraduate student at UNCG in Charles Davis’ Southern Fiction class. Now, she uses those characteristics as a guide to build each issue of Our State magazine.

“This is exactly how I make a magazine every month,” Hudson told the group that gathered Sept. 23 at the Friends of the UNCG Libraries event in Alumni House.

Hudson began her career at Our State 18 years ago, but her journey there began long before.

As a child, Hudson was an avid reader, devouring any book she could get her hands on. After high school, Hudson went to Appalachian State University before she dropped out in the middle of her freshman year. When she returned home to the small town of Farmer, she got a job driving the tram around the North Carolina zoo. Before long, however, Hudson decided to return to her studies. She attended Randolph Community College for several semesters and then transferred to UNCG.

“I didn’t know what I wanted to do,” she said, but adds that she did know that she wanted to read.

“I started signing up for English classes,” Hudson said.

But she didn’t stick to classes just in the English department.

“This is the kind of school that lets you explore with a lot of things,” she said.

Hudson said she “dabbled” in a number of subjects, including geography and film. In the geography classes, she developed a “sense of place,” and the film courses strengthened her storytelling skills.

“Everything that happened here somehow stayed with me,” she said.

“I’ve had every editorial role that exists in publishing,” she said, explaining that she became an editorial assistant at Our State before moving up to associate editor and now to editor-in-chief, a position she’s held for six years.

“I really love it here,” Hudson said. “Every single month I get paid to read really good stories.”

Since Hudson began in 1997, Our State magazine has grown from 40,000 to 178,000 subscribers.

Full story at UNCG Now.

Story by Jeanie Groh, University Relations
Photography by Martin W. Kane, University Relations. Hudson speaks with poet and faculty member Terry Kennedy and other attendees at book signing.

Did you know Elizabeth Hudson once won the UNCG Magazine fiction writing contest? Read the winning story here. The illustration was by former UNCG faculty member Suzanne Cabrera, who also illustrated her new book, she noted.