North Carolina Literary Review Online 2014

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from a relationship with an earthy, hot man, Kincaid later teaches her that for a politician – which she is, at heart – real freedom is entering politics without a “shitload of baggage” (207). As governor, Cooper could have the freedom to get things done because her position is not built on a tower of favors and bribes. She could have this freedom, as long as the clock does not run out. In Parts Three and Five, Inman resumes the fast-paced action, “roads impassable, power lines down, motorists stranded, lawenforcement agencies at a standstill” (175). A school bus with its driver and three children is missing. And more and more dark

secrets are revealed, more and more threatening political moves made. Part Five, the final act, maintains the novel’s suspenseful pace with Cooper’s predawn escape from security’s ever-watchful eyes. The back-country road she takes that morning reaches deep into the dark woods of political intrigue. All the while, Cooper’s mother inches closer to death. Cooper’s dear father, who had confessed to her on his deathbed, “Sometimes, I think we’re the sum of our regrets” (139), had then asked her to mend her relationship with Mickey so that the daughter could one day die without that regret. But will there be time? The novel’s final chapters

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race toward the point at which the daughter and dying mother cannot heal from an “unspeakable, unforgiveable decision” (316). Robert Inman considers The Governor’s Lady “quite a departure” from his previous work, which is certainly accurate. While we do still see the brilliantly etched human relationships we’ve come to expect from this North Carolina writer, the scope is both Southern and national, and the pace is definitely new for the author. This novel is a beautifully crafted work that teaches us about the complexities of humans and politics – never letting us forget the ticking clock. n

Samm-Art Williams is the fourth recipient of the hardee rives dramatic arts award excerpted and adapted from the award presentation remarks by Lorraine Hale Robinson North Carolina Literary and Historical Association Meeting, Raleigh, 22 November 2013

Right VerShaun Terry in a 1999 production of Samm-Art Williams’s play Home by the Department of Visual and Peforming Arts Theatre Program, directed by Frankie Day at NC A&T University, Paul Robeson Theatre, Greensboro, NC

to 1919 Baton Rouge, LA, and incorporating richly evocative local color elements. Williams also enjoyed a successful career in television, writing, acting and eventually producing. He has been nominated for two Emmy awards. Read more about the 2013 recipient of the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association’s HardeeRives Dramatic Arts Award in “Writing His Way Home: An Interview with Samm-Art Williams,” by Laura Grace Patillo, published in NCLR 2007. n Photograph by Jeffrey Richardson, courtesy of Donna Bradby, NC A&T University

The multi-talented Samm-Art Williams was born in Philadelphia but grew up in Burgaw, NC. After graduating from Morgan State College in Baltimore, he studied with the Freedom Theater’s Acting Workshop in Philadelphia. In 1974, he became a member of the Negro Ensemble Company Playwright’s Workshop and performed in such plays as The First Breeze of Summer (1975) and Eden (1975), and the company produced several of his own works, including Welcome to Black River (1975), A Love Play (1976), and The Sixteenth Round (1980). Williams’s award-winning play Home (1980) was first mounted by the Negro Ensemble Company, then moved to Broadway, and went on to tour internationally. Williams’s work has been produced by the Billie Holiday Theatre, the Spoleto Festival, the Bulgaria Arts Festival 1983, the Caribbean Arts Festival, and the American Festival (in London, England). He has received critical acclaim for his adaptation of the Anton Chekhov story “Eve of the Trial,” transferring action

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