WHAT: A literary fundraiser to fight House Bill 2
WHEN: Wednesday, May 18, at 6:30 p.m.
WHERE: Asheville Community Theatre
WHY: When acclaimed author Sherman Alexie canceled his North Carolina book tour stops in protest of the controversial House Bill 2, Malaprop’s Bookstore and Café general manager Linda-Marie Barrett penned a response that was published by The New York Times.
“This horrible legislation goes against what we stand for: human rights, tolerance and inclusiveness. … But now we’re being made to pay a price for a law we vehemently oppose” — both financially and culturally, she pointed out.
Local author Sara Gruen stepped up to fill the empty slot, though, prompting the development of a new event series by the bookstore. Authors for Action pairs literary figures with similarly minded nonprofits.
“It [is] a way for us to formalize something that we already do,” says Melanie McNair, assistant manager and author events coordinator. “We create the space for people who want to raise awareness of issues and connect with readers and talk about those issues in a safe place. I wanted to take it one step further, though, and connect that conversation with the people who are actually working for change.”
The American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina, Campaign for Southern Equality, Tranzmission and Equality NC will benefit from the inaugural iteration called Kill the Bill. It’s main attraction: roughly a dozen Southern-based authors (Charles Frazier, Joshilyn Jackson, Jake Bible, Wiley Cash, Mary Laura Philpott, Beth Revis, Denise Kiernan, Joe D’Agnese, Kim Michele Richardson and Jamie Mason among them) will respond to the same writing prompt that’s loosely connected to the Bathroom Bill. Still, McNair expects the evening’s overall tone to remain “fun to zany with a dash of earnestness mixed in.”
“These are a lot of New York Times best-selling authors on the stage together and [it’s] a really unusual event,” she says. “This really should be the literary event of the year.”
Kill the Bill tickets are $20 (VIP includes an author cocktail party and premium seating for $50). Visit malaprops.com for details on all Authors for Action events.