Book Report: Book and author news

• This past week, Dominican-American writer Junot Diaz has been stalking me. He’s been in my inbox and my mail box. If I look away for a second, another press release lands on my desk. Then again, since the author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (his debut novel, I might add) was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for fiction on Monday, I consider him to be good company.

You can, too. Diaz makes two stops in WNC this week. He offers the discussion, “Two Geographies in My Heart” (about the Dominican diaspora) at the West Asheville Branch Library on Friday, April 11. A book-sale and signing follows. The 2:30 p.m. event is free, though a free ticket must be picked up prior to the event. Info: 250-4750.

At 7 p.m. the same day, Junot gives a reading at Warren Wilson College‘s Kittredge Theater. The event is free. Info: 771-3718 or

Junot’s book was described by the New York Times as, “wondrous, not-so-brief first novel that is so original it can only be described as Mario Vargas Llosa meets ‘Star Trek’ meets David Foster Wallace meets Kanye West.” Which must be a good thing (see Pulitzer mention, above).

• It’s a big month for big-name literary figures. Sarah Vowell (who is actually quite small, but her career on NPR and, recently, as the voice of Violet Parr in Pixar animated film The Incredibles is larger than life) gives a talk at Asheville School’s Graham Theater in the Walker Arts Center on Thursday, April 17. The 7:15 p.m. event is part of the school’s Funders’ Day Convocation, and is free (space is limited).

Vowell’s fifth book, The Wordy Shipmates, is due out in October.

•  Black Mountain-based author Beth Evans Caldwell recently completed the children’s book, Mabel Is Able. Press for the 32-page educational read explains, “Always afraid of a mistake she might make, no chances would Mabel ever take. So goes the story of young orangutan named Mabel missing out on life.” Look for it at,, or directly from the publisher this week.

— Alli Marshall, A&E reporter

About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall is the arts section editor at Mountain Xpress. She's lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. Alli is the winner of the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the author of the novel "How to Talk to Rockstars," published by Logosophia Books. Follow me @alli_marshall

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