Nan Graham


Nan Graham has deep roots in Alabama and Carolina soil. She graduated from Tuscaloosa High School and attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she graduated with an AB in English. She obtained her Masters degree from The Citadel in Charleston. In 1995 Nan began broadcasting her bi- weekly commentaries on WHQR Public Radio in Wilmington. She continues these bi-weekly broadcasts along with teaching at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington in the Honors College. She has taught for thirty-eight years...everything from first grade to graduate level university courses...(the last is far easier than first grade!).

A lifelong Southerner, Nan Graham's spirited view of her cock-eyed family and friends has delighted public radio listeners for years. Nan's second book, In a Magnolia Minute...Secrets of a Late Bloomer as well as her first, Turn South at the Next Magnolia: Directions from a Life-long Southerner, were both on the SEBA (Southeastern Booksellers' Association) bestseller list. The books are compilations of her best and most popular radio commentaries which have been broadcast continuously since January 1995.

Nan is presently working on her third book of commentaries and a novel set in post WWII Wilmington.

You can visit her website at


May 3, 2010

"Salt, the newest pariah of our American diet, banished to the woodshed to join its fellow miscreants, sugar and fat."

Wilmington, NC –

Nan Graham's WHQR commentaries have been collected in her books, In a Magnolia Minute, and the newly re-published Turn South at the Next Magnolia. You can visit her on her website



Apr 29, 2010

"So to say Rio Grande River, is to say Big River River."

Wilmington, NC –

Nan Graham's WHQR commentaries have been collected in her books, In a Magnolia Minute, and the newly re-published Turn South at the Next Magnolia. You can visit her on her website


Awards Show

Apr 29, 2010

"Remember these students were born after 1992? so most have never even seen a black-and-white motion picture."

Wilmington, NC –

Nan Graham's WHQR commentaries have been collected in her books, In a Magnolia Minute, and the newly re-published Turn South at the Next Magnolia. You can visit her on her website


The Mule

Apr 29, 2010

"The mule had no name?just mule?an anonymity I find sad."

Wilmington, NC –

Nan Graham's WHQR commentaries have been collected in her books, In a Magnolia Minute, and the newly re-published Turn South at the Next Magnolia. You can visit her on her website


Retro Thanksgiving

Nov 18, 2009

"After forty-something years of it, I am happy to watch the gravy spill on somebody else's tablecloth."

Wilmington, NC – Retro is in... in foods and fashion! Recently, the "Wedge," that ubiquitous triangle of iceberg lettuce topped with blue cheese or Thousand Island dressing has reappeared on menus. But before Alice Waters or Julia Child we never knew we were unenlightened.

"But Josiah was born on the cusp of the Industrial Revolution and he changed the potter cottage industry into a factory system."

Wilmington, NC – Josiah Wedgwood, grandfather of Charles Darwin, has an interesting part in North Carolina history as an inventive entrepreneur.

Nine Lives: Genesis

Oct 7, 2009

"As he hit the water, it struck him that he had just done a foolish thing. He was not tethered to the boat. He did not anticipate the wind that blew up and caught the bimeni top and propelled the whaler off into a current that quickly sped north. He watched as the boat receded over the waves."

Wilmington, NC – It is not only a day which changed one life but changed a whole family's life. A gift that should make us think twice about organ donation.


Sep 24, 2009

"A Wilmington native, Claude Howell was instrumental in establishing the art department at UNCW and for many years was the southern voice in the early days of WHQR commentaries. He knew Wilmington as few did."

Wilmington, NC – In remembrance of Claude Howell, Nan Graham paints a portrait of the man and artist, as she ponders about his reincarnation... into a frog.

"Names for groups of animals, birds, people, sea creatures are more imaginative. We are familiar with some, but others are startling in their poetry. Lions, we know, come in a pride when congregated. The onslaught of our coastal jellyfish at the beach is known as a smack of jellyfish."

And Beyond...<p>

Aug 27, 2009

"In huge, black, quivering letters, it read: Sylvia's Birdbath and Beyond. I laughed out loud at its whimsy, proud to be a native of this quirky part of the world."

Wilmington, NC – "[My] annual trip back to Alabama always has a few happy surprises," says commentator Nan Graham.

This year happened to be no exception.


The Navelectomy

Aug 12, 2009

"What will I do with with my wardrobe of Britney midriff tops? How will I stroll along Wrightsville Beach in my pink bikini?"

Wilmington, NC – We all expect changes as time goes on, but some come as total surprises and take some getting used to.

The Geriatric South

Jul 15, 2009

"It's all a matter of perspective... I'm talking old age here. Forty is the new thirty, they say. My math skills are marginal but I'm holding that seventy is the new fifty."

Wilmington, NC – The are some advantages to being a lady "Of a Certain Age."

"I like to think she was an early Susan Boyle, without the bad hair... an unlikely candidate for public success having been raised in the tiny town of Greensboro, Alabama."

Wilmington, NC – This week, commentator Nan Graham discusses one of the most colorful of her relatives, a writer named Martha Young.

Sumter and the Serpent

Jun 3, 2009

"We've had a long history of peculiar cats: one potty trained, one a contest winner, and now, Sumter, the semi-feral cat continues to amaze us as she enters her senior years."

Wilmington, NC – Nan Graham has been a bi-weekly WHQR commentator since 1995. Visit her website at

The Hope Chest

May 20, 2009

"The gift that starts the home"

Wilmington, NC – I remember keeping doll clothes in my big sister's miniature cedar hope chest back in the day. You can still find those promotional reminders of Lane Hope Chests in antique shops.

Happy Birthday, WHQR

May 7, 2009

"We weathered our birth in the year 1984, the Orwellian year when Desmond Tutu won the Nobel Peace Prize and the first Macintosh computer was introduced. It is also the year the African Republic of Upper Volta changed its name to Burkina Faso."

Wilmington, NC – I celebrate all year long with all of the WHQR family, and I invite you to join in the twenty-fifth birthday party all this year!

"Replace the modem? Which lights go off? Which stay on? Replace the cable under the house, replace the cable from the box to the house, check the box... go back to square one...."

Wilmington, NC – It has become a chronic problem over the years and I don't see a resolution in the foreseeable future. It's the internet or lack thereof.

"No need to sit around wringing your hands over the economic angst. Just read the spam that comes onto your computer."

Wilmington, NC – In our present economic confusion, some letter writers from the Madoff school of business have hit the e-mail for new money-making schemes. Here are some creative scams I've received via e-mail.

"Like the Little House, we too should still be able to see the moon and the seasons roll by."

Wilmington, NC – As a forester's daughter, commentator Nan Graham was appalled at the recent removal of six live oaks to make way for a road and store. She says we seem to have lost not only live oaks, but an environmental vision essential for our fast-changing area.

"Her book sold an impressive 100,000 copies and was translated into French, German, and Arabic."

Wilmington, NC – The energetic 19th century Southern author was Martha Stewart, Julia Child and Dr. Sears rolled into one. She may even tramp the guru who wrote the ubiquitous "Dr. Spock Baby Bible" commentator Nan Graham used in the 1960s.


Feb 11, 2009

"My husband informed me that OBE was an acronym for 'Overtaken By Events.' The information is invalid because it is OBE."

The text message age remains a mystery to commentator Nan Graham who counts on her students to lead her through the maze... sometimes.

The Dionne Quintuplets

Jan 28, 2009

"They were the princesses of the Depression, featured in four Hollywood films by the time they were four years old."

Multiple births might be portents of good or evil. Ancient Mayans saw twins as a gift: one soul fragmented. Identical twin boys, (think Romulus and Remus) were deemed a blessing by the Romans.

The Gift

Dec 31, 2008

"What is in store for you and for North Carolina in 2009? This brand new, yet unwrapped year? Open with care, and consider the gift."

Wilmington, NC – Gifts, gifts and more gifts! Christmas gifts, Hannukah gifts... but what about the gift on January 1st?

The latest from Nan Graham

One of the most famous Christmas songs of all time written in Savannah, a Confederate decide, says Nan Graham

"It has been happening all my life, but lately is seems to be a more frequent occurrence. That circular thing where people from the past reappear without rhyme or reason... people you have not been in contact with or seen for decades."

Wilmington, NC – Is this happening to you? Deja vu with a twist. People who reappear after years. One of those wonderful quirks and surprises which make life interesting.

Pigs at Parlange

Nov 19, 2008

"Page after page, year after year starting with the first pig drawings from the late 1930s, the pages chronicled decades of pig drawings and the guests who drew them."

Nan Graham learns a trick for how to turn survive the dinner party from hell.

The latest from commentator Nan Graham

Wilmington, NC – Commentator Nan Graham still calls it a pocketbook, though most folks say purse or handbag. It is a core necessity for every woman. Chanel designed her iconic bag in February, 1955 and called it the '2.55,' for its creation date. So let's celebrate it!

Names of Consequence

Oct 23, 2008

The latest from commentator Nan Graham

Sometimes celebrities get the name right. Name changes can be good. Would Tina Turner be so fabulous if she were still Annie Mae Bullard...her real name?

Wilson Redux

Oct 9, 2008

Wilson is known for its antique shops. In a twist, the antique went looking for a person...rather than a person looking for an antique, says commentator Nan Graham, after a recent trip to Wilson...and to the past.

Wilmington, NC – Nan Graham will be joining Clyde Edgerton and Celia Rivenbark for a benefit for cystic fibrosis, "Puttin' on the Grits" on October 21st at Roudabush's.

Nan Graham

Sep 25, 2008

Commentator Nan Graham feels that a great escape need not be a trip to Europe or the Caribbean. It may be right here in our own YWCA.

Our commentator Nan Graham notes the change in our season by some different ground rules.