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Remembering Dr. Edwin G. Wilson

Dr. Edwin G. Wilson; Photo Credit: Wake Forest.

Dr. Edwin G. Wilson passed away last night, at 101 years old. North Carolina, and writers, and the North Carolina Writers’ Network, have lost a very good friend.

I have written about Dr. Wilson often. No one but my parents made more of an impact on my life. Usually when someone says they “wouldn’t be here without” a teacher or a mentor or a friend, they mean it in an abstract, indirect way. When I say that I would not be who or where I am without Dr. Wilson, I mean it in a concrete, practical way: Through my friendship with him I became friends with his wife Emily, a longtime NCWN board member, who told me many years ago that I just had to join the Network.

But I also mean it in abstract, indirect ways, as well. He showed me a world wider, more capacious and vibrant, than I had ever suspected. He showed me you could love high art and college basketball in equal measure, without guilt or dissonance. He showed me that critical assessment was important, even necessary, but not as important or as necessary as the simple love of words, their beauty and power.

Whether or not you knew him personally, if you care about writing and North Carolina, you will miss him. It was my good fortune to have known him, and I will miss him terribly.

Ed Southern