Tommy Tomlinson

Columnist and host of SouthBound

Credit JEFF CRAVOTTA

Tommy Tomlinson has written for publications including Esquire, ESPN the Magazine, Sports Illustrated, Forbes, Garden & Gun, and many others. He spent 23 years as a reporter and local columnist for the Charlotte Observer, where he was a finalist for the 2005 Pulitzer Prize in commentary. His stories have been chosen twice for the “Best American Sports Writing” series (2012 and 2015) and he also appears in the anthology “America’s Best Newspaper Writing.”

He teaches magazine writing at Wake Forest University and has also taught at the University of Georgia, Queens University of Charlotte and the Poynter Institute. He has been a speaker at workshops and conferences across the country.

His book “The Elephant In the Room,” a memoir about life as an overweight man in a growing America, will be published soon by Simon & Schuster.

He’s a graduate of the University of Georgia and was a 2008-09 Nieman Fellow at Harvard University.

Tommy and his wife, Alix Felsing, live in Charlotte.

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When author Kevin Wilson talks about combustibles, he means exactly what he says. His new novel, “Nothing To See Here,” features a set of twins who, when they get agitated, literally catch on fire.

I was a library kid. I can still hear the squeak of the hardwood floors in the little library in my hometown in Georgia. I can still smell the faint must of the pages. I can still see the blue spines of the Hardy Boys books I devoured like potato chips. The library had all the books I wanted for free. It seemed like a miracle. It still seems that way.

If you want to find a reason why Charlotte-Mecklenburg voters rejected a sales tax increase for the arts, parks and education, you’ve got lots of choices.

Let’s pretend for a second that you’re Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence. It’s a nice fantasy. You are a 6-5 NFL prototype who looks like a surfer and throws like Zeus. You led the Tigers to a national title last year as a freshman, and your team is undefeated again this season. Clemson has never lost with you at quarterback.

Mitch Landrieu
Mitch Landrieu

Mitch Landrieu comes from one of the South’s most storied political families.

His dad, Moon Landrieu, was mayor of New Orleans for 28 years. His sister, Mary, was a U.S. Senator. Mitch was lieutenant governor of Louisiana and then mayor of New Orleans from 2010 to 2018. After leaving office he founded the E Pluribus Unum Fund to study issues involving race in the South.

On a February morning in 1947, in the darkness before dawn, 31 white men gathered in Pickens County, South Carolina.

A white cab driver had been robbed and stabbed two nights before. A black man named Willie Earle had been arrested for the crime. But the 31 white men did not wait for a trial. They showed up at the jail with shotguns. The jailer gave them Willie Earle. An hour later, somebody placed a call to a funeral home, notifying them where to find a dead black man on a dirt road west of Greenville.

One good way to think about any political deal that seems sketchy or weird is to ask a simple question: Would you do it?

So let’s apply that to the case of Charlotte-Mecklenburg police Chief Kerr Putney.

Steve Cody

Maurice Manning writes poems about turnips, and copperheads, and tire swings, and a woman who gets her apron strings caught in an old wringer washer. His work is dug from the ground of the Kentucky farmland where he lives. But it’s also elevated, universal, as high and expansive as the stars.

When I was a kid, I qualified for free lunch at school. Every Monday morning the teacher would call us up to the front of the class and hand out the little blue punch cards that got us through the line without paying. They were like scarlet letters spelling out the word P-O-O-R.

But really, the problem wasn’t that we got our lunch for free. The problem was that all the other kids had to pay for it.

When I was a kid, July was the best month. You were out of school and the whole summer was in front of you. Somewhere in my 30s, I switched to April – the flowers springing from the ground, the coats going back in the closet.

Now, in my 50s, I’ve come to love October.

Ebru Yildiz

When you listen to Rhiannon Giddens, you might hear a little bit of anything. She grew up in Greensboro, North Carolina, biracial and multicultural and absolutely omnivorous when it came to music.

The next weeks and months are going to be the biggest test yet of whether we, as Americans, can filter out the noise.

Vengeance, in our imaginations, is a cleansing thing. It might not make things right, but it makes them even. So I completely understand why the living victims of the UNC Charlotte shooter feel the way they do.

Author photo by Kathryn Schulz

Harper Lee wrote one of the classic novels in American history, “To Kill a Mockingbird.” A second novel, “Go Set a Watchman,” was published under a cloud of controversy a few months before her death. But there was another book that Harper Lee worked on – a nonfiction story from her home state of Alabama that involved a preacher, a series of mysterious deaths, and possibly voodoo.

The thinking of the Republican leadership in the North Carolina legislature is clear. They have come to the conclusion that if the game is fair, they can’t win.

Football season used to be a five-month national holiday for me. I’d watch college games from noon to midnight on Saturday, and NFL games until the last snap on Sunday. I had elite-level skills with the remote control. I mainlined the Red Zone Channel, which shows every scoring play from every NFL game. I spent weekends in a football trance.

Ben Folds has pounded pianos into submission around the world for the past 25 years, playing everything from ballads to heavy-metal covers to symphonic pieces – often in the same night.

The race for North Carolina’s 9th House district has been like a NASCAR race from the old days – multiple wrecks, lots of caution flags, some country boys trying to pull a fast one.

I’m not a fabric store kind of guy. I’m more like a “please, Lord, don’t make me go in the fabric store” kind of guy. But even I had to respect Mary Jo’s Cloth Store in Gastonia.

Melissa Rawlins/ESPN Images

In Southeastern Conference football history, the true legends go by just one name. Bear. Herschel. Bo. And now there’s another, although you have to stretch it out: Pawwwwwwwwl.

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