Sarah Bryan, a writer and UNC-trained folklorist (MA, 2003), has worked in the field of folklife documentation for nearly two decades. She serves as the Executive Director of the North Carolina Folklife Institute, Editor of the Old-Time Herald, and Editor of the Association for Recorded Sound Collections Journal.

Specializing in the cultural heritage of the American South, Sarah has conducted documentary work for a variety of organizations including the North Carolina Folklife Institute, the North Carolina Arts Council, South Carolina Arts Commission, and Levine Museum of the New South.

Sarah is the coauthor of the books Lead Kindly Light (with Peter Honig, Dust-to-Digital, 2014) and African American Music Trails of Eastern North Carolina (with Beverly Patterson and Michelle Lanier, UNC Press, 2014).

Recent projects:

Sarah’s research project Folklife of the Funeral Services Profession in the Carolinas received a 2016 Archie Green Fellowship from the American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress, which made possible interviews with more than a dozen morticians and funeral directors in North Carolina.

Please click here for résumé and project history, and here for photo portfolio.







Please click here for a complete list of publications.
LKLcover aamt-cover






“Life and Death of the Father of Modern Miniature Golf,” an essay published in the Winter 2016/2017 Southern Review, received a Special Mention in the 2017 Pushcart Prizes.

Recent and upcoming publications:

“The Booger,” a short story, in Boulevard, Spring 2017.

“Put On My Clothes and Look Like Somebody Else,” an article about North Carolina blues guitarist John Henry “Guitar Shorty” Fortescue. In the Oxford American‘s 2016 Southern Music Issue No. 18.

“Word is Born,” an article about gospel music in the Carolinas, in The Wire’s Issue 394, Spirits Rejoice!

“Neap Tide,” a short story, New Haven Review, Winter 2015/2016.

“Life and Death of the Father of Modern Miniature Golf,” Southern ReviewWinter 2015/2016

“Photographs of Music,” Ecotone Journal, Winter 2015/2016.

Lead Kindly Light: Pre-War Music and Photographs from the American South, by Sarah Bryan and Peter Honig. 2014, Dust-to-Digital. (Lead Kindly Light was featured in the Vogue article “Picturing the American South: The Year’s Best Photo Books Reveal a Vast Portrait” by Rebecca Bengal, December 20, 2015.)

Old-Time Herald

The Old-Time Herald is a quarterly magazine about old-time string band music, from or in the traditions of the American South. Published by the nonprofit Old-Time Music Group, the OTH was founded in 1987 in Galax, Virginia, by Alice Gerrard. Now based in Durham, North Carolina, we are celebrating our 31st year of publication.

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