Charles Frazier and the Crafting of Cold Mountain

Cold Mountain coverOn November 4, 1950, Charles Frazier was born in Asheville. Growing up, Frazier has admitted, he was “a great reader of junk.” When he was introduced by a friend to some of the better works of American literature he was hooked. After earning his Ph.D., he traveled widely and co-wrote a Sierra Club travel guide to the Andes region.

In 1986, Frazier returned to his home state, taking a teaching position at North Carolina State University.  During that time he researched all aspects of mountain culture, folklore and natural history. He knew that he wanted to write a novel but was unsure of the precise subject.  He had a moment of clarity when his father recounted a story of their great uncle, a Confederate soldier who deserted, leaving his hospital to return to his home at Cold Mountain.

Quitting his teaching job to stay home with his daughter, Frazier spent most of his time writing. The resulting book, based loosely on the family legend and more firmly rooted in the wider Appalachian heritage, was on the bestseller list for 61 weeks and won the Sir Walter Raleigh and National Book Awards for fiction in 1997. Cold Mountain was adapted for a film, released in 2003 to wide acclaim.

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