High Country Festival of the Book June 21-22
In celebration of all things literary, the Friends of the
Watauga County Library presents the second annual High Country Festival of the Book June 21 and 22.
Watauga County High School hosts the book festival 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday with exhibitors, panels, presentations and readings by participating authors.
All events on Saturday, June 22 are free and open to the public. Special children’s programming will include story time with authors, face painting and book crafts, and every child who attends will receive a free book. Mountain Alliance will be on hand with breakfast and lunch items for sale.
There will be two ticketed events on Friday, June 21, including an all-day writer’s workshop from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Watauga County Public Library. According to organizers, the workshop will cover a variety of topics, from screenwriting to authoring a children’s book. Tickets cost $40 ($30 of which is tax-deductible) and will include a light breakfast and lunch.
Also on Friday, New York Times best-selling author Sharyn McCrumb and Appalachian folk musician Mary Green will headline “Biscuits, Books and Ballads,” a buffet dinner that kicks off the celebration from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Friday at the Tweetsie Railroad Saloon at Tweetsie Railroad, located off U.S. 321 in Blowing Rock.
McCrumb is best known for her award-winning series of Appalachian novels, each tied in some way to the theme of a traditional mountain ballad. Tickets are $50 ($35 of which is tax deductible) and available at the library or online at http://www.highcountryfestivalofthebook.com.
From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, the festival will move to Watauga High School, located at 300 Go Pioneers Drive in Boone.
Saturday’s festivities will feature well-known and award-winning authors, as well as some newcomers.
Kathryn Stripling Byer is a former N.C. Poet Laureate, who has six books of poetry and a seventh due from the LSU Press this fall.
Alan Gratz writes novels for young adults, including “Samurai Shortstop” and “Something Wicked.” His fifth book, “Prisoner B-3087,” is the true story of a boy’s experiences during the Holocaust.
Ann Hite’s novel, “Ghost On Black Mountain,” was a Townsend Prize winner and Georgia’s Novel of the Year. Her new novel, “The Story Catcher,” will be released in September.
Patti Digh is author of six books, including bestsellers “Life is a Verb” and “Creative is a Verb.”
Michael Morris is an award-winning writer of novels, including “A Place Called Wiregrass” and “Man in the Blue Moon.” Pat Conroy calls him “one of my favorite Southern writers.”
Edward Southern, director of the North Carolina Writers’ Network, is author of the short story book, “Parlous Angels,” and three non-fiction books, including “Voices of the American Revolution in the Carolinas.”
McCrumb will join the festival to meet with readers sell and sign books from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Panels will focus on mysteries and emerging authors.
The first, “Murder Goes South: Why Murders Set in the South Sizzle” with moderator Wendy Dingwall, author of the “Yvonne Suarez” mysteries (“Hera’s Revenge” and “Celtic Curse”), also features Cathy Pickens, author of “Southern Fried” and “Hush My Mouth,” Jane Tesh, author two mystery series (the “Grace Street” mysteries and “Madeline Maclin” mysteries), and Glenn Bruce, author of seven books and more than 80 screenplays and teleplays.
The Emerging Authors Panel will be moderated by University of Virginia professor Amy Clark, who is the author of “Talking Appalachian” and “Success in Hill Country.” Panelists include Erika Marks, modern fiction author of “The Mermaid Collector” and “The Guest House,” Jamie Mason, author of the mystery thriller, “Three Graves Full,” Susan Tekulve, author of two short story collections, “My Mother’s War Stories” and “Rooms People Live In.” Her novel, “In the Garden of Stone,” was released this spring.
Mysteries continue with “To Die in Dixie: Why Southerners Make Great Corpses” with moderator Maggie Bishop, who is best known for her “Appalachian Adventure” mysteries, hosts Larissa Reinhart, author of the“Cherry Tucker” mysteries (“Portrait of a Dead Guy” and “Still Life in Brunswick Stew”), Philip Depoy, author of 14 novels and 37 produced plays, best known for his “Fever Devilin” mysteries, and Patricia Sprinkle, author of the “Thoroughly Southern” mystery series, “Family Tree” genealogy series and the “Shelia Travis” mystery series.
High Country Writers, the regional writers’ organization, will host a complex of tables with authors available to chat and sign books all day and a continuous round-robin of readings in the Speakers Corner.
Authors in addition to those participating in other parts of the festival include: Bill Kaiser, author of “Bloodroot” and “Hellebore,” Civil War novels of the mountains, Mary Flinn, author of young adult romance novels, including “The One” and “A Forever Man,” Neil Wilson, author of “Prisoners of Conscience,” a novel of the Civil War, Ingrid Kraus, author of the psychological novel, “The Red Leather Chair,” Carolyn Guy, author of “Autumn Bends the Rebel Tree,” Pearle Munn Bishop, introducing her novel, “Cleo’s Oak,” the channeled story of an 18th-century midwife, Judith Geary, author of the “Getorix” series, “Celtic Adventures in Ancient Rome,” Birgitta McGalliard, introducing the story of her family separated by World War II and the Russian Gulag, “Lives Divided,” and Noyes Capehart, author of “Devil’s Mark,” a thriller with historical overtones.
Festival exhibitors include Amy Allen,Mary Ball, Kaye Wilkinson Barley, C. Clayton Thompson: Bookseller, Canterbury House Publishing Ltd., Daniel Boone Footsteps’ Randell Jones, William Eleazer, Regina Jeffers, Jelly Bean & Company, L’Edge Press, George G. McClellan, McFarland Publishing, Celia Miles, Jerry Pope, Jack Pyle & Taylor Reece and Stratford Oaks Tales.
Friends of the Watauga County Public Library is a wholly volunteer organization that promotes the Watauga County Public Library and its goals, while inspiring a love of literature. The group aims to enhance the quality of the library by providing resources not covered by state and local funding. For more information, as well as tickets, visit http://www.highcountryfestivalofthebook.com.