Tommy Tomlinson

Columnist and host of SouthBound


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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New episodes of SouthBound will be published every other week on Wednesday.

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Ways to Connect

Right now, the most important currency we have – more than money, for a lot of us – is information.

My wife and I needed to get out of the house for a while. So while her mother napped, we went for a drive.

One of the many, many strange things about Virus Time is that it’s happening just as spring comes to town.

There's a reason you don't see Hanna Raskin’s face in this photo – she tries to keep it hidden for her job.

It feels like someone picked up the remote control of the universe and hit fast-forward. Too many things are happening all at once. That’s what the coronavirus is doing to us. We’re all testing positive for anxiety.

It’s amazing how reassured you can feel from something as simple as a slip of paper.


There was a young woman named Emily Feimster from a small town in North Carolina. She was an athlete in high school and college, presented as a debutante, graduated summa cum laude, had the whole world in front of her. But she didn’t know what she wanted to be. And more than that, she didn’t know who she really was.

You can argue about how Greg Lindberg ended up in a room with North Carolina insurance commissioner Mike Causey, talking about a bribe.

But you can’t argue about what Lindberg said, because the conversation was being recorded.

First of all, let’s acknowledge that South Carolina does the presidential primary right.

Self-portrait by Burk Uzzle

You might not have heard the name Burk Uzzle – if you did, you’d remember it. But it’s likely that you’ve seen his work.

“Duty is the sublimest word in the English language.”

So it turns out that the shameful and embarrassing things Wells Fargo did for years, as a matter of practice, turn out to be even more embarrassing and shameful than we thought.

Photo courtesy of Brooklyn Decker

Today's episode is a replay of our conversation with Brooklyn Decker from October 2018. Decker grew up outside of Charlotte, where SouthBound is based, and was discovered at a mall by a talent scout for a modeling agency. When we talked, she was back in town to see family.

Two stories about the Charlotte area’s housing crisis played out during the week, running on parallel tracks, like trains headed to a destination where no one wants to go.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg school system has an expensive new security system with one major flaw: It doesn’t work. And as everyone sorts through the fallout, it might reveal some things about both our previous school superintendent and our new one.

Andy Tennille

The Drive-By Truckers’ new album “The Unraveling” comes out Jan. 31. Patterson Hood co-founded the band in 1996 with his longtime musical partner Mike Cooley.

The closest I’ve come to swearing off football was seeing Luke Kuechly cry.

One of my favorite things about America is that we don’t have royalty — unless you count Beyoncé.

No matter your culture or upbringing, at some point, if you live in the South, you wind up in a Waffle House.

Duke Energy has finally agreed to defuse the time bombs it planted all over North Carolina.