Rubin, who died at a retirement community in Fearrington Village in Chatham County three days before his 90th birthday, was widely recognized not only for his own literary efforts but for mentoring many other writers, such as Lee Smith, Jill McCorkle, Kaye Gibbons, Clyde Edgerton, Annie Dillard and John Barth, The (Charlotte) News & Observer noted. He had been a longtime creative writing professor at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
Rubin was a co-founder of Algonquin Books and founder of the Fellowship of Southern Writers.
"He totally changed my life, and you know, I'm just one of thousands who say that," McCorkle told the newspaper. "He was just the greatest teacher and friend -- and loyal."
The first book he co-edited was "Southern Renascence: The Literature of the Modern South."
"He's given credit for reawakening everybody's understanding of how important Southern literature had been," Alonquin Books co-founder Shannon Ravenel said of Rubin. "He was just a proponent of Southern literature and put it on the map in many different ways."