GOOD FOLK is a newsletter and community project about the people and stories of rural America and the American South.
We believe in the power of stories to connect us to one another.
We believe that the stories we tell about ourselves matter. One in every five Americans lives in a rural community, and yet the stories we tell of these places are shrouded in stereotype and bias. Furthermore, they are often misrepresentative of what rural and Southern places truly are— places of community, artistry, diversity, joy, innovation, and love, among many other things.
For too long, the narratives of rural and Southern places have been controlled by outsiders. It is time we reclaim our stories, and begin telling them from our own mouths first.
Good Folk brings together a community of individuals passionate about telling the stories of rural America and the American South. At the same time, we understand the importance of creating a platform to share the stories that are already being told.
We aim to work as a two-fold operation, providing the tools to tell your stories, as well as a space to share them with the world. We publish a weekly newsletter and a biweekly podcast in addition to hosting regular donation-based storytelling workshops and community events. Any donations made through workshops or subscribing to our newsletter go towards compensating our contributors.
What does it mean to be Good Folk?
If you look up the definition for the word folk, you will find a few things: people in general; a friendly term to address a group of people; a traditional form of art, music or culture; ordinary, down-to-earth, unpretentious people.
The term folk has long been used to describe people from rural and Southern communities, often in a derogatory manner. Folk is a simple term; folks are simple people. But our stories are complex and beautiful and redemptive. We are all of us good people, and it is time the world begins to see that.
To be Good Folk is to remove your assumptions and biases about the world and learn how to pay attention to what is around you. It is to do the mundane and important work of practicing empathy. It is to believe in the radical power of hope and the inherent resistance of joy. It is to hold on to the capacity to be surprised by the world around you. It is difficult to live this way, but it is also free, and freeing. We already possess this capacity within us. Our great work is learning how to harness it. And that is where we come in. Join us.
Good Folk is the project of Spencer George and Victoria Landers.
SPENCER GEORGE is a Writer and Teaching Artist hailing from the Carolinas. She holds a B.A. in English and Human Rights with a concentration in Creative Writing from Barnard College and is pursuing her M.A. in Folklore at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her work focuses on narrative representations of the rural South and has been published in The Bitter Southerner, Longreads, The Adroit Journal, and Medium, and once received a shout-out in the The New York Times. Spencer was the 2019 recipient of the Peter S. Prescott Prize for Prose Writing. She is the Founder and Head of Content at GOOD FOLK, and currently teaches creative writing in North Carolina public schools as a Senior Fellow with ArtistYear. In addition to teaching, she is the Special Initiatives Assistant at Girls Write Now and is at work on her debut novel, Loblolly, which tells the story of two young women as they travel across the Southeast in search of a mysterious man who appears only in dreams and the individuals who worship him. She can be found on Twitter talking about poetry and forests at @spencerggeorge, and reached by email at email@example.com.
VICTORIA LANDERS graduated with a BFA in Studio Art with a concentration in Photography at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in July 2020. She is currently based in Moore County, North Carolina, working in local non-profits by day and expanding their art by night. They are the Head of Media and Design at GOOD FOLK, which celebrates the vast and mighty world of Southern art. Photographers Andy Deluca and Lu Hui influenced Victoria to focus on the theme of the relationship one has with themselves and the world around them. Since the unexpected move back to her hometown due to Covid, Victoria has shifted to include the stories, people, and environment tied to Southern living. She learns to find the beauty in the backroads that raised her. In today's society, young people are pushed to mature fast and encouraged to stay in the familiarity of life; therefore, she strives for her work to allow people to slow down and pay homage to the emotions that rule the heart. She captures the unnoticed, the overlooked, and the mundane.