Western Carolina University’s incoming freshmen will be spending this summer reading “Serena,” the New York Times bestselling novel that was penned by WCU faculty member Ron Rash, as they participate in “One Book,” a program directed by the university’s Office of First Year Experience and sponsored by WCU’s Division of Student Success.
“Serena,” the Western North Carolina-based story of a timber baron, George Pemberton, and his ruthless wife Serena, was published in 2008 to critical acclaim nationwide. Rash, WCU’s Parris Distinguished Professor of Appalachian Culture, is also the author of four other novels, five collections of short stories and four books of poems.
As the 2014 “One Book” selection, “Serena” will be integrated into many first-year courses this fall and is intended to provide WCU’s new students with a “common intellectual conversation” as they begin their academic careers in Cullowhee, said Glenda Hensley, director of First Year Experience. The program also will complement the university’s interdisciplinary theme for the 2014-15 academic year – “North Carolina: Our State, Our Time,” she said. Students are receiving the book free when they attend orientation.
Rash recently sat down with Joseph Hader, videographer in WCU’s Office of Communications and Public Relations, to discuss various aspects of his writing and the writing profession, including his advice for aspiring writers, writing about a single region, developing characters and having a sense of place.