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Heather Duncan

Folkways Reporter

Heather Duncan is an award-winning reporter, book editor and oral storyteller who hails from the mountains of North Carolina but now lives in Knoxville, Tennessee. She has 20 years experience reporting and writing local and regional news for daily newspapers, alt weeklies, radio and online outlets. She spent years focused on covering the environment and sense of place, and contributed to the Pulitzer-Prize winning coverage of Hurricane Katrina for the Biloxi Herald. She lets off steam by playing the clarinet and telling historical stories and folktales at local schools.

Person Page
  • The famous Civil War-era ballad “Tom Dooley” has everything: love triangle, a grisly murder, a manhunt and a hanging. A version of this song by the Kingston Trio struck a universal chord 60 years ago when it topped the Billboard charts. Inside Appalachia Folkways reporter Heather Duncan is a native of Wilkes County, North Carolina, where the song unfolds. She recently explored why ballads like ‘Tom Dooley’, based on real tragedies and real people, have such staying power.
  • Herbal remedies are experiencing a renaissance with industry trackers reporting an explosion in sales — and prices — last year. Those remedies have been a path to wellness and independence in Appalachia for centuries. Folkways reporter Heather Duncan brings us the story from Tennessee.