NC Literary Hall of Fame












Memory Cards: Portraits from a Rural Journey by Michael K. Brantley

Black Rose Writing
$15.95, paperback
ISBN: 978-1612965369
June, 2015
Available from

"Michael Brantley is that rare thing these days, a writer with a true vocation. He's a born storyteller, and there's just no resisting his beguiling Southern voice. His prose is clear, fluid, and utterly unpretentious. It has an oddly hypnotic effect; a few sentences and I was under, living Brantley's rural North Carolina childhood as if it were my own."
—Emily Fox Gordon, Guggenheim Fellow and author of Book of Days, Mockingbird Years

"Michael Brantley has the eyes of a camera and the soul of a poet. His memoir Memory Cards is a gentle and memory-jogging visit to a time and a place just down the road that is fading all too quickly. Along the way, he’ll make you smile, nod, try to swallow that lump in your throat and say more than once 'Damn, I wish I’d written that.' Savor this book. Share it. It is that good."
—Dennis Rogers, columnist and author of Second Harvest, It’s Bad When the Bartender Cries

"Michael Brantley’s Memory Cards: Portraits from a Rural Journey chronicles a personal journey that takes many directions: from his growing up on a farm to working as a professional photographer, to serving as husband and father, and to practicing his art and craft of writing and teaching. There is 'something to be said for living in a remote area,' he notes about his home in North Carolina, both long ago and now, and his authentic voice, chapter after chapter, reveals the underlying power of such a place and his family. Writing memoir as well as local history, Brantley revisits his own past in articulate, unflinching prose, telling fine stories with a sharp eye for what remains essential and worth saving."
—James McKean, author of Homestand and We are the Bus

Memory Cards is a journey down a dusty rural road, but also back in time to where as late as the 1980s, neighbors still used mules for transportation and outhouses for other necessities. There is plenty to see, hear and smell, from the oppressive heat and pungent smell of row upon row of tobacco, to the mobile library that brought air conditioning and the aroma of paper, glue, and binding each week of the summer. The author grew up in a functional family, but with different interests than his siblings, particularly ones that offered unknown prospects. As the road from the farm widens, readers encounter firebrand preachers, snake-handling churches, guns, baseball, Baptists, Coca-Cola, Elvis, suicides, mysterious deaths, PTSD, houses inhabited by haints, pork barbecue, tea cookies, cornbread, fishing, arrowheads, ice hockey, and basketball.

Michael K. Brantley is a North Carolina-based writer and currently works as a Visiting Assistant Professor of English at North Carolina Wesleyan College. His first book, Memory Cards: Portraits from a Rural Journey, was released on June 11 by Black Rose Writing.

Michael worked as freelance writer with over twenty-five years experience, having for national, regional, and state publications covering music, sports, farming, and business and was an award-winning professional photographer.

He he has an MFA in Creative Writing from Queens University in Charlotte, NC, an MA in English from East Carolina University, and a BS in Communications from Barton College. PPA has awarded him the Master of Photographer Degree, Craftsman.

He founded and edits the literary journal, What The Fiction. His creative nonfiction, fiction, and poetry has most recently been published or is forthcoming in The First Day, The Dunes Review, Wordriver, Bartleby Snopes, Revolution House, Short, Fast, and Deadly, The Cobalt Review, and Prime Number Magazine.

Michael lives with his wife and three children in eastern North Carolina, down a rural road, on a plot that used to be part of his family's farm.

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