A former city dweller, I live with my husband, the sculptor, Johnpaul Harris, in the wilds of southwestern Randolph County where I am fortunate enough to wake to the arpeggio of the pileated woodpecker soaring overhead. When I’m not musing on a metaphor, I’ll either be making jam or poking around an abandoned cemetery imagining the lives of the people sleeping under my feet.

My poetry and prose have appeared in many journals, magazines and anthologies, most recently in The Sun, The Phoenix (Issue 61), The Rumpus, County Lines, O.Henry, and Rooted in Rights. My lyric essay, “A Tale of Two Tumbles,” won first prize in the 2020 Carolina Woman Writing Contest, and my first poetry collection, Waiting for the Wood Thrush, was published by Finishing Line Press in November 2019. I write a column for the Women on Writing monthly newsletter, and I’m currently at work on a memoir of my life in the Uwharries.

My writing has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and I’ve twice won the Doris Betts Fiction Prize sponsored by the N.C. Writers’ Network. My first novel, Naked and Hungry, was named a finalist in the  2009 James Jones First Novel Fellowship competition sponsored by Wilkes University and was published in 2011 by Ingalls Publishing Group.

My favorite authors include Anton Chekhov, William Trevor, Flannery O’Connor, Shirley Jackson, and the poets Billy Collins, Jane Kenyon, Rachel Wetzsteone, and Charles Simic. Just to name a few….

7 thoughts on “About Me

  1. Hi Ashley,
    I’m thrilled and impressed. I happened to see the announcement of your book talk in the N&O at Fearington (mcIntyre) yesterday. Unfortunately it was late afternoon so my attendance was out of the question. Also I have been laid low by sciatica which seems to be chronic and renders me unable to walk very well without pain. I can drive however, so I’m not completely housebound. I retired about 5 years ago and did some traveling (Spain, Morocco, and Portugal). All those cobblestones about did me in.
    I’m glad to see you are working in Chapel Hill. I couldn’t wait to leave Duke.
    Keep in touch.
    Maybe we can get together for lunch sometime.

    Love to you,

    Judy (Smith)
    jksmith7@frontier,com

  2. Ashley,
    We were delighted to receive an autographed copy of ‘Naked and Hungry’ from your mother-in-law, and our great friend, Sarah. What a delightful read. I LOVED this book and am anxious to read your next accomplishment, ‘Born Again, Dead Again’.

    1. Geri, thank you for the kind note! I’m so glad that you enjoyed the book; it has been a fun project. I hope you are having a great New Year and I will keep you posted on “Born Again, Dead Again!”

  3. Hey there, Ashley. I’m reading “Naked and Hungry.” I like the story.

    Didn’t know if you had heard that Bob Ingalls passed away.

    Good man. A writer’s publisher.

  4. Hi Ashley,

    Congrats on being a finalist in the Ron Rash Awards! I was a finalist in the same competition. Just wanted to make a shout out. Wishing you well!

    Samuel J Fox

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