The Shoe Burnin’: Stories of Southern Soul is a collection of the works of 24 diverse, talented southern writers and singers.


Wendy Reed is the author of An Accidental Memoir: How I Killed Someone and Other Stories.

Wendy Reed wrote, produced and directed public TV programming and video productions for 11 years at The University of Alabama Center for Public Television and Radio. Her awards include among others two Emmys, A Unity Media Award, fellowships from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and The Seaside Institute. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Alabama, where she teaches scriptwriting, and her MA and BA from the University of Alabama at Birmingham where she taught English and served as speechwriter for President Ann Reynolds.

Reed’s short stories and essays have appeared in New Letters, Kalliope, PoemMemoirStory, A State of Laughter and The Birmingham News, among others. She co-edited with Jennifer Horne on two collections, All Out of Faith: Southern Women on Spirituality and Circling Faith: Southern Women on Spirituality. She lives with her husband in Waverly, Ala.

Excerpt from The Shoe Burnin': Stories of Southern Soul

“Capo” by Wendy Reed

Usual squinted against the sun. He couldn’t make out the car but saw it was stopping. The driver’s door opened and someone got out. Usual pulled his cap down lower and watched as the trunk was raised. Life with his dad wasn’t exactly a picnic but at least he’d never broken down on train tracks. The figure got back in the car and pulled forward but then backed right up again. The trunk waved like a stiff flag but didn’t close. Stopping on the tracks was no accident. Crazy, Usual thought. Could be one of those suicides. He’d never seen a suicide. He dragged his lawn chair through the army blanket that served as his door and plopped down in front of the sheets of plywood. Now that he’d fortified the nylon weaving with electrical tape, he could plop without worry, but he was still careful when he shifted his weight. The figure went back to the trunk and then disappeared behind the passenger’s side. Usual stood up but he still couldn’t see any better. He moved out from the trees into the open.


An Accidental Memoir: How I Killed Someone and Other Stories

“Memoirs address all kinds of scars, but few so real as this. Wendy Reed writes chillingly about how fast life can change, and end, on a piece of asphalt.”

—Rick Bragg, bestselling author, All Over but the Shoutin’and The Prince of Frogtown

“I am in awe of Wendy Reed.”

—Diane McWhorter, Pulitzer Prize–winning author, Carry Me Home: The Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Movement



The Shoe Burnin': Stories of Southern Soul (2013)

An Accidental Memoir: How I Killed Someone and Other Stories (2012)

Little Lilly’s Polka Dot World (2006)