Sarah Bryan

Sarah Bryan

Creative Nonfiction | Durham

The North Carolina Arts Council supports diverse and innovative artists with fellowships, professional development and more to enhance the state’s brand and drive economic impact.

Sarah Bryan’s essays and fiction are drawn from a lifelong dedication to the narrative experience of Southerners. “I write about the people I come to know in my work as a folklorist in the Carolinas; the experiences of my family elders from the Carolinas and Cuba; and traditional music and musicians of the South,” she says. She is a recipient of a 2019-20 N.C. Arts Council Fellowship in prose.

Bryan has dug deep into these narratives through her work as Executive Director of the North Carolina Folklife Institute, Executive Director of the Old-Time Music Group, and editor of its publication, The Old-Time Herald. She coauthored African American Music Trails of Eastern North Carolina (UNC Press, 2013), a project of the N.C. Arts Council in collaboration with the N.C. Folklife Institute working with numerous musicians in the region to create a visitor’s guide to the heritage of African American music in Eastern North Carolina.

Also, a fluent Spanish speaker and writer, she carried out field research and interviews to document Charlotte-area immigrants’ religious, culinary, sports, and material culture for the Levine Museum of the New South’s 2009 exhibition, Changing Places: From Black and White to Technicolor.

Bryan holds an M.A. in Folklore from UNC-Chapel Hill. Her articles, essays, and stories have been published in the Oxford American, Potomac Review, and New Haven Review, among many others.  In 2016, she was awarded the Archie Green Fellowship from the American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress and the following year she earned a Pushcart Prize Special Mention for her essay in The Southern Review, "Life and Death of the Father of Modern Miniature Golf."