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April 4-6, 2025

Word of South

John Shelton Reed

John Shelton Reed is a writer and lecturer who lives in Chatham county, North Carolina. He has written or edited twenty books, including 1001 Things Everyone Should Know About the South and Holy Smoke: The Big Book of North Carolina Barbecue, both written with his wife, Dale Volberg Reed. He belongs to the Fellowship of Southern Writers and served recently as that organization’s Chancellor. 

He taught for some years at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, retiring in 2000 as William Rand Kenan Jr. Professor of sociology and director of the Howard Odum Institute for Research in Social Science. He was founding co-editor of the quarterly Southern Cultures and helped to found the university’s Center for the Study of the American South. 

He serves as Éminence Grease of the Campaign for Real Barbecue (