I don't really believe in write what you know. I believe in writing what you really want to find out about.... There's a great advantage in ignorance .... There's something about meeting a total stranger and having them say something remarkable that just lights up your world, and suddenly all these things are connected by something this stranger in an interview says to you.  It's like all the tumblers are clicking into place, and it's unlocking something exciting and important.


"These essays are the work of an observer. You are reading the natural-historical memoirs of someone who makes a religous habit of noticing things ... Writers who pay attention like that can help us see the world more clearly." 

John Jeremiah Sullivan

Craft Essays

Essays from Our State Magazine

Selected Essays

Craft Essays

"In a well-known poem, Robert Frost once depicted humans as standing on a shore looking out to sea, unable to perceive much about their world. Philip Gerard, however, writes from the North Carolina coast with an unusual gift for peering not only 'out far,' but also 'in deep,' a talent vividly displayed in his essay collection,The Patron Saint of Dreams."

Donna Meredith

"Gerard has been a kind of patron saint himself of narrative nonfiction, a literary form he has been defining, teaching and writing about since the 1990s. His books on the subject, Writing Creative Nonfiction, co-edited with poet Carolyn Forche and published in 2001, and Creative Nonfiction (2004) are still two of the most often cited and highly recommended references for those interested in the genre."

Gina Webb