Thirsty Tome 2017 - New Literary Voices of the South
Randall Library welcomes four acclaimed novelists to campus for two days of readings, signings, craft talks, panel discussions and more!
The body of work from our featured writers focuses either on the subversion of the southern gothic tradition or explores the changing landscape of the South and its inhabitants.
Keynote Event: Monday, August 21st, 7-9 P.M. McNeill Hall, RM 1005
Stephanie Powell Watts (Keynote) is an associate professor of English at Lehigh University, and has won numerous awards, including a Whiting Award, a Pushcart Prize, the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence, and the Southern Women’s Writers Award for Emerging Writer of the Year. She was also a PEN/Hemingway finalist for her short-story collection We Are Taking Only What We Need.Watts was born in the foothills of North Carolina. She received her BA from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and her PhD from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and her son.
Stephanie's new novel, No One Is Coming to Save Us, was named one of the most anticipated books of 2017 by Entertainment Weekly, Nylon, Elle, Redbook, W Magazine, and The Chicago Review of Books. No One Is Coming to Save Us is a revelatory debut from an insightful voice; with echoes of The Great Gatsby it is an arresting and powerful novel about an extended African American family in North Carolina and their colliding visions of the American Dream. In evocative prose, Stephanie Powell Watts has crafted a full and stunning portrait that combines a universally resonant story with an intimate glimpse into the hearts of one family.
Featured Authors' Reading: Tuesday, August 22nd, 7-9 P.M. Morton Hall Auditorium, RM 100
Taylor Brown grew up on the Georgia coast. His work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including the North Carolina Literary Review, The Southwest Review, The Baltimore Review, Chautauqua, Garden & Gun, The Rumpus, and many others. He is the recipient of a Montana Prize in Fiction, and he's been a finalist in a wide array of literary contests, including the Press 53 Open Awards, Machigonne Fiction Contest, Wabash Prize in Fiction, Rick DeMarinis Short Story Contest, Dahany Fiction Prize, and Doris Betts Fiction Prize. He is the author of a short story collection, In the Season of Blood and Gold (Press 53, 2014), which was a finalist for the International Book Award, and two novels, Fallen Land (St. Martin's Press, 2016) and The River of Kings (St. Martin's Press, 2017) -- both of which were SIBA bestsellers. Taylor has lived in Buenos Aires, San Francisco, Asheville, and now lives in Wilmington, NC, where he is the editor-in-chief of BikeBound.com, a custom motorcycle blog.
In Taylor's latest novel, The River of Kings, brothers Hunter and Lawton Loggins set off to kayak the Altamaha river, Georgia’s “Little Amazon,” bearing their father’s ashes toward the sea. Hunter is a college student, Lawton a Navy SEAL on leave; they were raised by an angry, enigmatic shrimper who loved the river, and whose death remains a mystery that his sons are determined to solve. As the brothers proceed downriver, their story alternates with that of Jacques le Moyne, the first European artist in North America, who accompanied a 1564 French expedition that began as a search for riches and ended in a bloody confrontation with Spanish conquistadors and native tribes.
Twining past and present in one compelling narrative, and illustrated with drawings that survived the 1564 expedition, The River of Kings is Taylor Brown’s second novel: a dramatic and rewarding adventure through history, myth, and the shadows of family secrets.
Wiley Cash is The New York Times best-selling author of A Land More Kind Than Home and This Dark Road To Mercy. He holds a B.A. in Literature from the University of North Carolina-Asheville, an M.A. in English from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. He has received grants and fellowships from the Asheville Area Arts Council, the Thomas Wolfe Society, the MacDowell Colony, and Yaddo. His stories have appeared in Crab Orchard Review, Roanoke Review and The Carolina Quarterly, and his essays on Southern literature have appeared in American Literary Realism, The South Carolina Review, and other publications. Wiley is writer-in-residence at the University of North Carolina-Asheville and teaches in the Low-Residency MFA Program in Fiction and Nonfiction Writing at Southern New Hampshire University. A native of North Carolina, he lives in Wilmington, NC with his wife and their two young daughters.
This Dark Road To Mercy: After their mother's unexpected death, twelve-year-old Easter and her six-year-old sister Ruby are adjusting to life in foster care when their errant father, Wade, suddenly appears. Since Wade signed away his legal rights, the only way he can get his daughters back is to steal them away in the night. Brady Weller, the girls' court-appointed guardian, begins looking for Wade, and he quickly turns up unsettling information linking Wade to a recent armored car heist, one with a whopping $14.5 million missing. But Brady Weller isn't the only one hunting the desperate father. Robert Pruitt, a shady and mercurial man nursing a years-old vendetta, is also determined to find Wade and claim his due.
Narrated by a trio of alternating voices, This Dark Road to Mercy is a story about the indelible power of family and the primal desire to outrun a past that refuses to let go.
Matthew Griffin is a graduate of Wake Forest University and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He has taught writing at the University of Iowa and University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and he worked for several years as Assistant to the Director of Highlander Research and Education Center, a renowned hub of grassroots organizing for social justice throughout the South and Appalachia. His first novel Hide was the winner of the 2017 Crook's Corner Book Prize, an ALA Stonewall Honor Book, and longlisted for the PEN/Bingham Prize for debut fiction. His writing has appeared in The Guardian, Granta, Electric Literature, and elsewhere. He was born and raised in North Carolina and now lives with his husband and too many pets in New Orleans, Louisiana, where he teaches at Tulane University.
In Hide, Wendell and Frank meet at the end of World War II, when Frank returns home to their North Carolina town. Soon he’s loitering around Wendell’s taxidermy shop, and the two come to understand their connection as love―a love that, in this time and place, can hold real danger. Cutting nearly all ties with the rest of the world, they make a home for themselves on the outskirts of town, a string of beloved dogs for company. Wendell cooks, Frank cares for the yard, and together they enjoy the vicarious drama of courtroom TV. But when Wendell finds Frank lying outside among their tomatoes at the age of eighty-three, he feels a new threat to their careful self-reliance. As Frank’s physical strength and his memory deteriorate, the two of them must fully confront the sacrifices they’ve made for each other―and the impending loss of the life they’ve built.
Tender, gently funny, and gorgeously rendered, Hide is a love story of rare power.
Thirsty Tome is an annual event celebrating the culture of creative writing at UNCW and in our community and is a part of UNCWelcome Week activities.