Chapel Hill author revisits his Cincinnati youth

Martin Terrell chose his own memories for his recent book, “Without a Compass” (Chapel Hill Press). His memoir recounts his growing up years in Cincinnati’s West End during the 1950s and 1960s.

“After my mother’s death in 1957, just before my 12th birthday, my four sisters and younger brother all lived on Gest Street with my stepfather,” he says. “In the backdrop of drugs and crime of the West End, I struggled to find a way out. Getting a college degree was my road to a way out. ‘Without a Compass’ shows how frightening, difficult and even ostracizing earning a college degree could be if you lived in my neighborhood in Cincinnati or on any other street like it in the country.”

Terrell says he initially kept the book from his sisters. “All younger than me, none had the type of relationship with their father that I had. However, I sent the book to the youngest of us because he as the youngest and I as the oldest could see our father from angles our sisters couldn’t.” Terrell’s mother died giving birth to her youngest son, Jerome. “He called me crying and said ‘I’ve learned more about Mama than I’ve ever known.’

“Other than my editor’s, the only real criticism was my wife’s,” he jokes. “She grew tired of watching the back of my head for two years while I kept looking at the monitor.”

Terrell, retired as a regional director of the United Negro College Fund, lives in Chapel Hill with his wife, Jeanette.

New title

“Enough! Thirty Stories of Fielding Life’s Little Curve Balls” (Literary Wanderlust) is a collection of short stories by Caroline Taylor. Written over a span of more than 10 years, “Enough!” showcases characters coping with the experiences that life throws at them, including an unexpected houseguest and her 6-year-old tornado of a son overstaying their welcome, constant wrong numbers and secrets best left hidden. Taylor, the author of three mysteries and a non-fiction book, lives in Pittsboro.


Sylvia Freeman of Durham has won the 2018 Randall Jarrell Poetry Competition for her poem “Burnt Offerings.” Freeman will receive $200 and publication in storySouth. Said judge Lauren Mosely: “The author of ‘Burnt Offerings’ makes the reader experience the poem: I felt the flames in my hair, the ‘shards of shattered glass’ at my feet, and the relief of ‘holy water.’ ”

Durham writer Mur Lafferty is a finalist for the Hugo Awards presented by the World Science Fiction Society. Lafferty is nominated in three categories, including Best Novel for “Six Wakes” (Orbit Books). “Six Wakes” is a locked-room mystery set in space, where six clones awake on their spaceship to find the murdered bodies of their older selves.

For writers

The North Carolina Writers’ Network is accepting applications for the inaugural Sally Buckner Emerging Writers’ Fellowship. The annual $500 award will support an emerging writer, aged 21 to 35, whose work shows promise of excellence and of commitment to a literary career. Each year, the fellowship will go to a writer working primarily in a designated genre. The 2019 Buckner Fellowship will support an emerging poet. For information, visit

Triangle-area authors: We want to hear about your new book. Send information to As space permits, we will mention self-published books by local authors that are for sale on commercial sites.