NC Literary Hall of Fame



Pioneers Press
$16.00, paperback
ISBN: 978-1-939899286
May, 2017
Nonfiction: Memoir
Available from your local bookstore or

“Trace Ramsey imbues his writing with a humanity that can’t be faked. He writes from a core of truth with illuminating, descriptive, deeply personal prose. If we read to learn we’re not alone in our feelings, then this is a guide to understanding there are plenty of others out there who feel the same.”
—Bart Schaneman, author of Someplace Else: On Wanderlust, Expatriate Life, and the Call of the Wild

“Trace’s descriptions of the nature around them and attention to detail are superb, putting the reader right into their writing, as though you’re experiencing the dry grass beneath their feet, the hot summer nights in the South, and the personal family tragedy that lives in your blood and veins and travels on to your children.”

"There’s a certain rare type of writing, to see beyond the obvious and easy, to fix upon the translucent forms that dance elusively about our periphery. Trace Ramsey ventures unflinchingly into the emotional landscape. Intimate and sometimes stark, he engages us by tapping a common well of humanity, and shining light into dark corners. There are no wasted words."
—Jack Cheiky, Syndicated Zine Reviews

Trace Ramsey’s All I Want to Do is Live personalizes common themes of survival, depression, and life in America at a time of division and upheaval. In this collection of short stories, essays, and poetry, Ramsey examines his family history and shows us how darkness can trickle through generations. He looks to people like his grandparents and his partner for hope and works to move beyond abuse and mental illness to find what is worth passing on to his children. In a unique voice of clean, deliberate prose, he relays stories about the damage of the past and recovery in the present that is both brutal and achingly pretty. As the personal often sheds light on the universal, Trace's memories of his childhood and the scenes from his life today also give us the story of our time, our country, and a people longing to find substance, freedom, and meaning.

Trace Ramsey is a recipient of the 2015 Ella Fountain Pratt Emerging Artists Award in Literature, a 2015 contributor in nonfiction at the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, and winner of the 2016 Alex Albright Creative Nonfiction Prize from the North Carolina Literary Review. Trace’s recent publications include essays in At Length Magazine, Hippocampus Magazine, and I Don’t Know How to Help You, a compilation zine from Pioneers Press. In December, 2014, Trace received a certificate in documentary arts in nonfiction writing from the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. Trace lives in Durham with his partner and two children.

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