A former city dweller, I live with my husband, the sculptor, Johnpaul Harris, in the wilds of southwestern Randolph County where I’m 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, including Poets & Writers, Wired, and Real Simple. See my portfolio for links to recent pieces. I serve as a critique editor and judge for Women on Writing, 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 first poetry collection, Waiting for the Wood Thrush, was published by Finishing Line Press in November 2019.

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


13 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)

  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

  5. Hi Ashley,
    As a devoted reader of your work and a happy subscriber to “Carve”, I was doubly delighted to find your essay “One in Ten Thousand Bees” in the current issue of “Carve”. Your mother emerges as a queen bee in your honest, loving words. Plus I sure learned about the complexities of beekeeping! I could taste that honey at the end. Thank you for writing this. Reading it is a gift. Mary Alice Dixon

    1. Mary Alice, I just saw your sweet comment for the first time! I’m sorry I missed this! Thank you so much — your words mean more than I can say! I hope you are doing well!

  6. This is a big thanks for the lovely critique you did for my piece, Roller Skates, in the WOW! contest.
    I am thrilled someone of your caliber was able to offer advice!
    Also—I see you’re from N.C. We just moved to Asheville!
    Anyhow, I appreciate your time and expertise.
    I left a note on your Instagram but figured it might not get to you.
    Warmly, Lizzie Brooks

    1. Lizzie, thank you so much for such a kind note, and I am a fan of yours! I loved “Roller Skates” and wish you all the best with your writing. And now that we are virtually “neighbors,” maybe one day we will meet each other!

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