Doris Betts was born Doris June Waugh in Statesville, North Carolina on June 4, 1932. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where as a sophomore she won the Mademoiselle College Fiction contest for the story Mr. Shawn and Father Scott. After working as a newspaper reporter for a number of years, she joined the faculty of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1966. She taught creative writing there for 32 years. During her lifetime, she wrote 6 novels and 3 short story collections. Her novel, Souls Raised from the Dead, won the Southern Book Award in 1995. Her other works include The Gentle Insurrection, Tall Houses in Winter, The Scarlet Thread, The River to Pickle Beach, and The Sharp Teeth of Love. She won numerous awards including the N.C. Award for Literature, the John Dos Passos Prize, the American Academy of Arts and Letters Medal of Merit for her short stories, and the Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Fiction from the N.C. Literary and Historical Association, which she won three times. Her short story, The Ugliest Pilgrim, was made into an Academy Award-winning film and a musical that won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award in 1998. She died of lung cancer on April 21, 2012 at the age of 79.