The Kudzu Queen
January 24, 2023
Kudzu salesman James T. Cullowee arrives in Cooper County, North Carolina in the spring of 1941 to spread the gospel of kudzu. It can apparently feed cattle, improve soil, grow with no effort, be turned into jam, and cure headaches. Mattie Lee Watson is struck from the moment she sees Mr. Cullowee, and dreams of both becoming Cooper County Kudzu Queen and strolling on the Kudzu King’s arm. But Mattie’s best friend is faced with calamity, Mr. Cullowee seems to be as sneaky and destructive as kudzu, and Mattie realizes that she’s the only one who can fix the mess. Mimi Herman's The Kudzu Queen (Regal House, 2023) is a gripping coming-of-age story about family, trust, race relations, and friendship in the face of divisiveness, alcoholism, mean girls, prejudice, and evil.
Mimi Herman is a Kennedy Center teaching artist and director of the United Arts Council Arts Integration Institute. She has taught in the Master of Education programs at Lesley University, served as the 2017 North Carolina Piedmont Laureate, and been an associate editor for Teaching Artist Journal. Since 1990, she has engaged over 25,000 students and teachers with her warm and intuitive teaching style. Mimi holds a BA from the University of North Carolina and an MFA in Creative Writing from Warren Wilson. She is the author of A Field Guide to Human Emotions, Logophilia and The Art of Learning. Her writing has appeared in Michigan Quarterly Review, The Carolina Quarterly, Shenandoah, Crab Orchard Review, The Hollins Critic, Main Street Rag, Prime Number Magazine and other journals. Mimi has performed her fiction and poetry at many venues including Why There Are Words in Sausalito, Memorial Auditorium in Raleigh and Symphony Space in New York City. When she's not writing, Mimi codirects Writeaways writing workshops at a chateau in France, a villa in Italy, an adobe in New Mexico and a manor house in Ireland--and does her own plumbing and carpentry work on her almost hundred-year-old house.