A return appearance and reading by Pulitzer Prize-winner and bestselling author Rick Bragg will culminate a week of literary events featuring distinguished writers during the 14th annual Spring Literary Festival at Western Carolina University.
Author readings begin Monday, April 4, and continue through Thursday, April 7. All events are free and open to the public. Each reading will be followed by a book-signing with the author.
Previously, Bragg attended the 2006 festival for a reading and participated in a roundtable discussion. The recipient of numerous writing awards, he is the author of six books, a contributor to Garden and Gun and Southern Living magazines, and professor of writing at the University of Alabama.
“It’s a chance to talk about books and writing and reading in one of the truly beautiful places on this Earth. I just can’t see a downside in that,” Bragg said. “I’ve always believed that the southern mountains are the true spine, the backbone, of my books. Coming here always reminds me of that, somehow…. And I am told there is barbecue.”
Directed by Pamela Duncan, assistant professor in WCU’s Department of English, the festival has a long tradition of bringing established and emerging literary talent to campus. In addition to Bragg, this year’s keynote authors include Lee Smith, Judith Ortiz Cofer and Major Jackson, and the festival also features Lauren K. Alleyne, Darnell Arnoult, Robert Gipe, Jane Hicks, Bret Anthony Johnston and Denton Loving.
This year’s schedule:
Monday, April 4
- Noon. Gilbert Chappell Distinguished Poet Brent Martin, joined by student poets.
- 4 p.m. Creative nonfiction writer Catherine Reid, author of “Falling into Place: An Intimate Geography of Home.”
- 7:30 p.m. Poet Major Jackson, author of “Roll Deep” and “Hoops.”
Tuesday, April 5
- Noon. Poets Lauren K. Alleyne, author of “Difficult Fruit,” and Denton Loving, author of “Crimes Against Birds.”
- 4 p.m. Fiction and nonfiction writer Bret Anthony Johnston, author of the novel “Remember Me Like This.”
- 7:30 p.m. Poet, fiction, and nonfiction writer Judith Ortiz Cofer, author of the memoir “The Cruel Country.”
Wednesday, April 6
- 4 p.m. Poets Darnell Arnoult, author of “Galaxie Wagon,” and Jane Hicks, author of “Driving with the Dead.”
- 7:30 p.m. Fiction and nonfiction writer Lee Smith, author of the memoir “Dimestore: A Writer’s Life.”
Thursday, April 7
- 4 p.m. Fiction writer Robert Gipe, author of “Trampoline: An Illustrated Novel.”
- 7:30 p.m. Nonfiction writer Rick Bragg, author of “Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story” and “Ava’s Man.”
All presentations will take place in the theater of A.K. Hinds University Center, with the exception of the reading by Lee Smith, which will be held in the recital hall of the Coulter Building.
WCU sponsors include the Arts and Cultural Events Series, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Education and Allied Professions, Division of Student Affairs, Department of English, Hunter Library, Office of Communications and Public Relations, Office of Research Administration, Office of the Chancellor, Office of the Provost, Office of Residential Living and the Visiting Writers Series.
Off-campus sponsors are WRGC-AM, City Lights Bookstore, Fontana Regional Library, the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Southwestern Community College. The festival also receives support from the N.C. Arts Council, a division of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.
For more information about the festival, visit litfestival.org or contact WCU’s English department at 828-227-7264.