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SUSAN HARLAN

WRITER/ENGLISH PROFESSOR

WINSTON-SALEM, NC

SUSAN HARLAN

OBJECTS. PLACES. MEMORIES. FUNNY THINGS.

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Winchester Mystery House, a home built by guns and guilt

An architecture of grief and guilt.
Curbed SF Link to Story
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Skin deep: macabre Mütter Museum to open exhibit examining our largest organ

I’m standing in the storage closet at the Mütter Museum of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, surrounded by wire shelves stocked with biological specimens. The room is kept at a relatively high humidity and regulated by an exhaust system that performs six air exchanges an hour to eliminate unpleasant odors.
The Guardian Link to Story
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In Tennessee, the world's premier fantasyland of salt and pepper shakers

In a shopping center in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, that contains a “spinnery” and a store that sells jams, jellies and syrups, there’s one storefront that resembles a mountain cabin, where you might drink mulled wine by a fire. A sign proclaims it’s the only Salt and Pepper Shaker museum in the world.
The Guardian Link to Story
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Watching the wheels: the North Carolina museum that is a temple to motorcycles

It’s raining and grey, and Maggie Valley, North Carolina, is waiting for summer to start. About a third of the motels that line this mountain town’s main street haven’t opened yet. Some of the restaurants are still closed, too: darkened pancake houses and prime rib joints with chairs stacked on tables.
The Guardian Link to Story
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All God’s Creatures

The North Carolina Museum of Creation and Taxidermy Hall of Fame is located in a Christian bookstore in Southern Pines, a region known primarily for its golf resorts. The nearby town of Pinehurst has hosted the U.S. Open several times, and the Pinehurst Resort alone has nine golf courses. But I was not there to see famous golfers.
Roads & Kingdoms Link to Story
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Creating Korner's Folly, 'The Strangest Home in the World'

Built in 1880 and once billed as "The Strangest Home in the World," Körner's Folly in Kernersville, N.C. celebrated its 135th anniversary last Saturday. But it is not really a home in the conventional sense. Artist, decorator, interior designer, and "Man of a Thousand Peculiarities" Jule Gilmer Körner conceived of this structure as an entertaining space, bachelor quarters, horse stables, studio and—most importantly—showroom for the wares of his Reuben Rink Decorating and House Furnishing Company.
Curbed National Link to Story
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For $27 you can experience the sinking of the Titanic – in landlocked Tennessee

The Titanic Museum Attraction in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, wants me to die. Or at least, it wants me to imagine what it would be like. I’m standing in the parking lot, looking up at a half-scale, 30,000-square-foot re-creation of the front half of the doomed ocean liner. A water fountain wraps around the Titanic’s bow, like a controlled sea.
The Guardian Link to Story
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Opium-soaked tampons, voodoo elixirs and leeches

I am immediately drawn to the leeches, their lithe bodies twisting and turning in a fishbowl filled with water. They are smaller than I expected. Several people squeal with appalled delight as they shuffle past. One woman taps on the glass and peers inside. “So disgusting,” she says. “Can you imagine?”.
The Guardian Link to Story

About

SUSAN HARLAN

Susan Harlan is a writer based in Winston-Salem, NC, who is particularly interested in the relationship between place, memory, and objects. Her essays have appeared in publications including The Guardian US, The Paris Review Daily, Guernica, Roads & Kingdoms, The Morning News, The Awl, Curbed, Racked, Atlas Obscura, The Common, The Toast, Nowhere, Literary Hub, The Bitter Southerner, McSweeney's Internet Tendency, The Brooklyn Quarterly, Avidly, and Public Books. She also writes about feminist issues for venues such as Jezebel, Literary Mothers, The Feminist Wire, DAME, Skirt!, The Hairpin, The Establishment, Queen Mob's Tea House, The Belladonna, The South Carolina Review, and The Manifest-Station. She holds a Ph.D. in English Literature from New York University and an M.A. in English Renaissance theater history from King’s College London and teaches English at Wake Forest University. Her book Luggage was published in the Bloomsbury series Object Lessons in March 2018. Her book Decorating a Room of One's Own, a humorous mash-up of home design reportage and literary homes based on her column for The Toast, will be published by Abrams in October 2018.

She is represented by Jim McCarthy of Dystel, Goderich & Bourret Literary Management.

Photo credit Sarah Torretta Klock.

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www.susan-harlan.com

Skills

  • Teaching
  • Writing