Voices from the Outer Banks

Voices from the Outer Banks


Stephen Kirk

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John F. Blair, Publisher, continues its Real Voices, Real History™ series with Voices from the Outer Banks. This volume presents the actual words of the people who lived the uncommonly rich history of this chain of barrier islands stretching from the Virginia border southward through Cape Lookout. Readers will enjoy contemporary accounts of the first British settlement in North America and the birth of the first English child on American soil. They’ll read 18th-century letters, articles, and poems about the bloody death of Blackbeard, arguably the most famous of all the pirates. They’ll read the news account of the first powered airplane flights in human history. And the editorial that created America’s first national seashore. And the words of family members who once inhabited the nation’s most iconic lighthouse—part of a matched set of four. Topics include “the Graveyard of the Atlantic,” in a nod to the rough waters that over the centuries have claimed hundreds of vessels, and “Torpedo Junction,” site of “the Great American Turkey Shoot,” the latter nickname bestowed by German submariners during World War II. The volume includes first-person accounts of Civil War battles, a freedmen’s colony, hunt clubs that drew the first wealthy tourists, and lifesavers who used horses to pull surfboats to the water and fired lines by cannon to wrecked vessels. Readers will even hear contemporary stories of the Boy Scout troop that rode ponies descended from ancient shipwrecked animals.


Stephen Kirk was an editor at John F. Blair, Publisher, for 27 years. He has a B.A. from St. Lawrence University and an M.F.A. from UNC-Greensboro. A story he wrote while working on his M.F.A. appeared in the Greensboro Review and was subsequently selected by John Updike for reprinting in the Best American Short Stories series. Since then, he has written First in Flight: The Wright Brothers in North Carolina and Scribblers: Stalking the Authors of Appalachia. He lives in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.