Charlotte Celebrates Carson McCullers

Charlotte Lit and Community Partners Plan Year-Long Celebration for the 100th Anniversary of Carson McCullers, Renowned Author Who Wrote Much of Acclaimed 1940 Novel The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter in Charlotte.

By Kathie Collins, Charlotte Lit Co-Founder, Updated January 24, 2017

Charlotte, NC––Celebrated author Carson McCullers (The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, The Member of the Wedding, and Reflections in a Golden Eye) would turn 100 on February 19, 2017. Though McCullers died in 1967 at age 50, her breakout novel The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter continues to make essential reading lists, a perennial favorite for its courageous and sensitive exploration of society’s most enduring social challenges––discrimination based on class, disability, gender, political ideology, race, religion,  and sexual orientation––issues that, eighty years later, continue to haunt and divide our city, state, and nation.

Given the contemporary relevance of McCullers work and the happy coincidence that Charlotte Lit celebrates its first birthday on February 19, the organization, in collaboration with a number of community partners,  plans more than a dozen community events, performances,  and educational opportunities throughout 2017, each designed to highlight the historic, literary, and ongoing social significance of this enduring classic.

The Arts & Science Council is the Presenting Sponsor for Charlotte Celebrates Carson McCullers@100.

Public events include:

January 25 at 7 p.m. Wednesdays@Lit: The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter—Book Discussion with Kathie Collins. Charlotte Lit Studio, 1817 Central Avenue, Suite 302. Open to public. Free for Charlotte Lit members, $5 for non-members. Registration required.

February 5 at 1:30 p.m. The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter—Film and Panel Discussion (in partnership with Charlotte Mecklenburg Library and Charlotte Film Society). A screening of the 1968 film with Alan Arkin and Sondra Locke, followed by a talk with Tom Hanchett of History South, Paula Eckard of UNC Charlotte, and author Mary Kratt. ImaginOn’s Wells Fargo Playhouse, 300 East 7th Street. Free.

February 8 at 7 p.m. Wednesdays@Lit: Carson McCullers’ Charlotte—Talk by Tom Hanchett of History South and author Mary Kratt.  Charlotte’s enigmatic people and places appear hidden (and not so hidden) in McCullers’ break-out novel The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter. Join historian and Charlotte Lit member Tom Hanchett for a talk and group discussion on the historical relevance and continuing influence of McCullers’ famous work. Charlotte Lit Studio. Free for Charlotte Lit members, $5 for non-members. Registration required.

February 15 at 7 p.m. Wednesdays@Lit: Shapeshifting: When Novel Becomes Film—Talk by Sam Shapiro, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library film series curator. Charlotte Lit Studio. Free for Charlotte Lit members, $5 for non-members. Registration required.

February 19 at 1:30 p.m. Carson McCullers/Charlotte Lit Birthday Celebration at Copper Restaurant (Carson McCullers lived in this house, then a boarding residence, in 1936). 311 East Blvd. $50. Tickets and information.

Note: Date change! Sunday, March 19 at 2 p.m. Reflections in a Golden Eye—Film (in partnership with Charlotte Mecklenburg Library and Charlotte Film Society). Charlotte Mecklenburg Library’s Main Branch Francis Auditorium, 310 North Tryon Street. Free.

March 24 & 25 at 8 p.m., March 26 at 5 p.m. The Heart Is a Lonely HunterStaged Reading by PaperHouse Theatre: Selected scenes from the stage play written by Rebecca Gilman, based on the McCullers novel. FROCK Shop, 901 Central Avenue. Donation. Get Tickets.

April 1 at 2 p.m. The Member of the Wedding—Film (in partnership with Charlotte Mecklenburg Library and Charlotte Film Society). Charlotte Mecklenburg Library’s Main Branch Francis Auditorium. Free.

April 4 at 9:30 a.m. Carson McCullers: The History behind Her StoriesSensoria Festival Panel Discussion. CPCC. Free. Details to follow.

April 19 (note: new date) at 7 p.m. Wednesdays@Lit: The Member of the Wedding—Book Discussion with Kathie Collins. Charlotte Lit Studio. Free for Charlotte Lit members, $5 for non-members. Registration required.

May 7 at 2 p.m. The Square Root of Wonderful. Staged Reading by actors from Three Bone Theatre, of McCullers’ only original-source full-length play. ImaginOn’s Wells Fargo Playhouse. Free.

October 8 at 3 p.m. Carson McCullers & Charlotte’s Literary HistoryDiscussion hosted by Mary Kratt, author of The Imaginative Spirit: Literary History of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County (Part of the Explore History! series co-sponsored by the Duke Mansion and Levine Museum of the New South) at Duke Mansion, 400 Hermitage Road. Free.

The McCullers Centennial calendar will be updated weekly with new events, details, and updated information, on this page.

About Charlotte Lit

Co-founders Kathie Collins and Paul Reali established Charlotte Lit in 2015, officially launching the 501(c)(3) nonprofit with a celebration and reading by acclaimed poet Linda Pastan on February 19, 2016. Charlotte Lit’s mission is to promote a deeper understanding of self, others, and world by inspiring and educating readers, developing and supporting writers, and promoting creative arts-focused conversations that strengthen and transform the community.

Charlotte Lit offers a variety of classes for writers and readers, curates and supports the 4x4CLT poetry and art poster initiative, hosts free monthly write-ins and open mic readings, compiles a comprehensive weekly listing of local literary events, and hosts community conversations on creative literature-based topics. The Charlotte Lit studio is located in the Midwood International and Cultural Center, 1817 Central Ave., 28205. For more information and a current class and event schedule, please visit

Charlotte Lit receives project funding through generous grants from the ASC and the Knight Foundation.

Presenting Sponsor

McCullers Steering Committee

Kathie Collins, Chair
Tom Hanchett
Emily Harris
Mary Kratt
Melba Newsome
David Poston
Paul Reali
Ed Williams
Lisa Zerkle

Community Partners

Special thanks to…

Emily Harris, who introduced us to Carson McCullers’ Charlotte history, and inspired us to create this year of celebration.

Robert Bush, Arts & Science Council

Nicia Carla, PaperHouse Theatre

Cynthia Frank Designs, creator of the Charlotte Celebrates McCullers logo

Bradley Ritter, Charlotte Film Society

Sam Shapiro, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library

Angel Truesdale, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library

Becca Worthington, Children’s Theatre of Charlotte

Copper Restaurant, Birthday Celebration host