Legendborn + Legendmaking with Tracy Deonn
In this two-part episode, “Legendborn + Legendmaking,” bestselling author and Coretta Scott King-John Steptoe award recipient Tracy Deonn discusses her fantasy novel Legendborn. Created in light of Deonn’s understanding of folklore, magic, and the fantasy genre as political, the novel blends the fantastical and the contemporary to address grief, race, and the tension between complicated histories and the present. With host Melody Hunter Pillion, Deonn addresses the complex and tragic truths in genealogical study, the parallel stories and experiences that can arise on a college campus, the mythology of the South, and the joy in eating a pineapple popsicle.
Storytelling in a Diverse and Changing South
The sounds and voices of the South create a rich and tangled mixture, flirting with and pushing against ideas of the past. Knowing the South today and conceiving southern futures is about listening to people shaped by, and shaping, places in the present. We’re curious about place—this place. A region of renewal and resistance.
Melody Hunter-Pillion, an accomplished television news journalist, is the Associate Director of Communications at the Center for the Study of the American South at UNC. She is also currently pursuing her doctoral degree in Public History at N.C. State University under the direction of her dissertation chair Dr. Blair Kelley. Melody earned a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies from Duke University before teaching journalism at N.C. State University. As a public historian, she co-curated the traveling exhibit Navigating Jim Crow: The Green Book and Oasis Spaces in North Carolina for the North Carolina African American Heritage Commission and received a 2019 Southeastern Museum Conference award for her North Carolina Museum of History video series, A Storied Past: North Carolina’s African American History. She will present the video series this summer during a virtual conference in London along with a doctoral project featuring oral testimonies from African American farmers and fishermen in North Carolina, discussing the impact of climate change on cultural heritage in the southern U.S.
Most recently Melody, a native of Laurinburg, N.C., served as Communications Director in the Office of State Human Resources for Governor Roy Cooper. She covered news in the Triangle for eleven years at WTVD-ABC11, before going on to direct public relations for Rex Healthcare, Duke University, and the Governor’s Office.