Twelve years ago, Carrie Knowles bought a small office building at the southernmost edge of Historic Oakwood in Downtown Raleigh. She named the building the Free Range Studio and inscribed this on the wall: Creativity should have no boundaries and dreams no fences. “That’s how I see the world,” Knowles says, “and the way I hope to live my life as a creative person.”
The Free Range Studio has provided office space to a wide range of writers and other creative people over the last twelve years, including Carrie’s close friend and fellow author, Peggy Payne. Both Peggy and Carrie not only have their offices at Free Range, but also coach other writers and teach classes there.
Carrie has published dozens of short stories and hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles, and three novels: Lillian’s Garden (Roundfire Books, 2013), Ashoan’s Rug (Roundfire Books, 2013), A Garden Wall in Provence (Owl Canyon Press, 2017) and a collection of short fiction, Black Tie Optional: 17 Stories (Owl Canyon Press, 2019). Her non-fiction memoir about her family’s struggles with their mother’s Alzheimer’s, The Last Childhood: A Family Story of Alzheimer's, initially published by Three Rivers Press, was recently revised, updated and reissued through Amazon.
Carrie writes a regular column for Psychology Today: "Shifting Forward: A Wanderer's Musings."
Carrie was named the Piedmont Laureate for Short Fiction in 2014. Her short stories have won more than 25 awards, including the Village Advocate Fiction Contest, the Blumenthal Writers & Readers Series, the North Carolina Writer’s Network Fiction Syndication and Glimmer Train’s Very Short Fiction Competition. She has been named a finalist in Glimmer Train competitions six times and was also a finalist in the Doris Betts Fiction Contest and received an honorable mention in the National Literary Awards.
In 1994, she was awarded a North Carolina Arts Council Creative Nonfiction Grant to complete the work on her memoir, The Last Childhood: A Family Story of Alzheimer’s. When first published, this book secured acclaim as one of the top 100 books written about Alzheimer’s.
As an arts advocate she has been a board member for the Symphony Orchestra Development Association, Carolina Wren Press, Raleigh Chamber Music Guild, Burning Coal Theatre and the American Forum. She served as a judge for the Raleigh Fine Arts Society’s Annual Fiction Contest for eight years and was the co-coordinator of the Reader’s Series at the Hardback Café in Chapel Hill with Paul Jones and Georgann Eubanks.
Carrie was also the founder and coordinator of the Boylan Heights ArtWalk from 1992-2007 and the founder and director of the Cary Cross Currents Festival from 2008-2012.
Carrie and her husband, Jeff Leiter, have called Raleigh home since 1978. They have three children.