In 1941, James T. Cullowee, the Kudzu King, arrives in Cooper County, NC to spread the gospel of kudzu—claiming it will improve the soil, feed cattle, even cure headaches. When Mr. Cullowee organizes a kudzu festival, complete with a beauty pageant, fifteen-year-old Mattie Lee Watson wants to be crowned Kudzu Queen and capture his attention—until she discovers that Mr. Cullowee, like the kudzu he promotes, has a dark and predatory side. Based on historical facts, The Kudzu Queen unravels a tangle of sexuality, power, race, and kudzu through an irresistibly delightful (and mostly honest) narrator.
Mimi Herman is the author of The Kudzu Queen, Logophilia and A Field Guide to Human Emotions. Her writing has appeared in Michigan Quarterly Review, Shenandoah, Crab Orchard Review, The Hollins Critic, Prime Number, and other journals. She has performed at Why There are Words, Symphony Space, and Raleigh Memorial Auditorium. Mimi is a member of the AWP Board of Directors, a Warren Wilson MFA alumna, a Kennedy Center Teaching Artist and a Hermitage Artist Retreat Fellow. She co-directs Writeaways writing workshops in France, Italy, Ireland, New Mexico and online. You can find out more about her at http://www.mimiherman.com and www.writeaways.com.
Funny, sad, and tender… Mimi Herman has written a novel that possesses a true and hard won understanding of the SouthDavid Sedaris
The most appealing young heroine since Scout. This book demands to be a movie!Lee Smith
A handsome devil pays a call to a community in North Carolina, and in this funny and moving novel by Mimi Herman, we see the result. The Kudzu Queen is about beauty, and familial love, and what we may owe to our friends and neighbors. This novel has both sweetness and suspense, and its cast of characters will stay in your memory long after you have closed this wonderful bookCharles Baxter