Jeanne Larsen (right), Keith Ferrell (near right) and I will be reading from new works next Sunday (Nov. 7), 8 p.m. at Studio Roanoke during the third meeting of the Literary Lounge, a Hollins University sponsored event. It's free.
The Lounge, like the Music Lounge--and so much more that happens at Studio Roanoke--puts the spotlight on our local talent and gives you the chance to judge for yourself if we are of national quality. I can assure you that some are. In our little group, Jeanne and Keith both have strong national followings. Jeanne, a marvelous storyteller who writes in whichever genre occurs to her at the moment, will be reading from her new book of poetry and Keith, who has written more than a dozen books--mostly non-fiction--will read from his new novel, which I can assure you will be thoughtful, insightful and scary on several levels. Keith is an intellect wrapped in a North Carolina drawl. I'll be reading from CLOG!, the novel I'm polishing for a final push to publishers.
Jeanne's book is Why We Make Gardens (and Other Poems) and Keith simply says his book "involves a murder," but he's not passing out titles or plots yet. "It's still very early in the process," he says, "but this is a great time to get feedback on the development."
Both Keith and Jeanne will join us as teachers at the Jan. 28-29 Roanoke Regional Writers Conference IV at Hollins. Keith has been a teacher at each of the previous three and Jeanne taught last year.
My book is a fictionalized account of the square dance team at my tiny high school (380 students) in the far northwest corner of North Carolina. Teams from Cranberry High School won two national championships in the 1950s and 1960s and piled up eight state titles and retired Old Smokey at the Mountain Youth Jamboree in Asheville. The book imagines a threat to the school's dominance by the 10-times larger high school in Asheville with the backing of an autmobile dealer whose daughter is on the team and wants Old Smokey. He spares no expense at a time when the little school's team has been hit by mono and the coach has to go into the student body to find dancers.