The revised edition of A Hollow Cup is finished. It will go to the publisher next week. As I’ve mentioned in this space before, I considered changing the title but finally elected to keep the original. It is my favorite story and, with this re-write, as well-written as anything I’ve done. Here’s the back cover copy for the new edition:
“A coming-of age story and a classic murder mystery, A Hollow Cup begins in a small Southern town in the 1960s. New Hope is in turmoil when a beautiful girl, an enthusiastic participant in the local civil rights movement, is killed after a demonstration on the College campus. This “race murder” goes unsolved for twenty-five years until two men – friends and rivals as children – return to their hometown to prosecute and defend the man who’s finally been charged. The past catches up with them as old secrets are revealed and old passions re-ignited, and the mystery is finally explained.”
The novel is loosely based on actual events, though not all of them happened in New Hope (actually Chapel Hill, NC). Below is an excerpt from the Acknowledgements:
“The de-segregation of the public schools in Chapel Hill, N.C., and the resistance of the black community, is documented in the pages of The Chapel Hill Weekly. Some of the incidents described in the novel are drawn from interviews conducted as part of the University of North Carolina’s Southern Oral History Program. B. L. Moses’ Washington High School, depicted in the early pages of “The Island,” was inspired by a series of articles by Elizabeth Wright that appeared in Issues and Views, and a 2004 article in the New Orleans Times-Picayune written by Jonathan Tilove. The famous letter from Zora Neale Hurston, written in August of 1955 to the Orlando Sentinel, is the genesis for Moses’ oration at the New Hope AME.”
There’s another big idea in A Hollow Cup: Home, and how its inevitable loss impacts the people in the book. Thomas Wolfe said “you can’t go home again” but, as even Wolfe acknowledged, we don’t stop trying.