Lewis Bowling to host book signing at Thornton Library

Local author and historian Lewis Bowling will host a “meet and greet” and book signing at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 8. The event will be held at the Richard H. Thornton Library in Oxford and will introduce Bowling’s book, “Sam Ragan: North Carolina’s Literary Godfather.”


Sam Ragan, also known as the “Berea Bard,” was born to a tobacco farming family in Berea, NC and began writing poetry in grade school. The son of William Samuel Ragan and Emma Clare (Long) Ragan, he would later embark on a career in journalism, where he fine-tuned his writing skills. Except for three years’ service in the U.S. Army, Ragan dedicated his life to the newspaper industry and the written word. His career, which spanned several decades, included work at The San Antonio Evening News in Texas, the Raleigh News and Observer – where he served as state editor, and then executive/managing editor – and The Pilot in Southern Pines, which he purchased in 1968. His column, “Southern Accent” was the oldest and longest-running column in the United States, and was read in 43 states and in 24 foreign countries.


Ragan’s works also include six collections of verse and four non-fiction books. In 1982, Governor Jim Hunt appointed the North Carolina Journalism Hall of Fame recipient as North Carolina’s Poet Laureate. Other honors include the North Carolina Award in Fine Arts and two nominations for the Pulitzer Prize, as well as many other achievements.


Lewis Bowling’s book, which will be discussed at the Dec. 8 event, describes why Ragan “justly deserves the title of ‘North Carolina’s Literary Godfather.’” An author with accomplishments of his own, Bowling has penned six books on Granville County history – including a book commemorating the 200th anniversary of the City of Oxford – and three books pertaining to sports. Also raised on a tobacco farm in rural Granville County, Bowling has a passion for writing and is a regular contributor to local newspapers with his history column “Looking Back,” which has been published in the Oxford Public Ledger and the Butner Creedmoor News. He now resides in Durham, where he teaches and continues to write.


On Sunday, Bowling invites the public to hear more about the life and accomplishments of Granville County’s own Sam Ragan. For more details, contact the Thornton Library at 919-693-1121.


The Richard H. Thornton Library is located at 210 Main Street in Oxford and is one of four branches of the Granville County Library System. To learn more about upcoming events in Oxford, Creedmoor, Stovall and Berea, please visit








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