WHAT: Authors for Literacy dinner, auction and speech, benefiting the Literacy Council of Buncombe County
WHERE: Renaissance Asheville Hotel
WHEN: Friday, Oct. 14, from 6-9 p.m.
WHY: This year marks the ninth annual iteration of the Authors for Literacy event, which was originally conceived by a volunteer for the Literacy Council. Since then, the event has grown to be “our biggest fundraiser of the year — not only to raise money, but to raise awareness,” says the nonprofit’s development director, LuAnn Arena.
Wilmington-based author and literacy supporter Wiley Cash, who became a New York Times best-seller with his debut novel A Land More Kind Than Home, will deliver the 2016 keynote speech. His Southern-inspired books impose dark and twisted circumstances on youthful lead characters. With no set guidelines, he’s free to take this talk in any direction, though.
“[Authors] have their own ideas in mind, and it’s always good,” Arena says of past presentations. “This year, it’s going to be unique in that Wiley’s brother Cliff, who is a comedian, is co-presenting. … It was Wiley’s idea.”
Cliff, who will act as emcee for the evening, wins his laughs by dethroning the unworldly mindsets that often thrive under warm, Southern conditions — a skill that’s earned him praise from Comedy Central, among other outlets. He’s got an additional, headlining show booked at The Altamont Theatre for Thursday, Oct. 13, at 8 p.m.
Fellow comic David Ostergaard will preside over Authors for Literacy’s Fund-A-Need segment (wherein attendees pledge money to a specific council program), and he’ll administer a new added live auction, featuring three big-ticket travel packages. Smaller items like artwork and gift certificates will be offered through a silent auction during the initial cocktail hour, from 6-7 p.m.
As attendees enjoy an intricate dinner by chef Richard Petrelli of Renaissance Asheville Hotel, they’ll also hear testimonials from two Literacy Council students.
Proceeds from the evening aid the Literacy Council’s ongoing programming (book donations, tutoring and more) for individuals of all ages, including participants in its biggest cohort: English for Speakers of Other Languages. In all, the nonprofit serves about 750 people annually.
General admission tickets are $75 per person. VIP tickets, which include a reception with the Cash brothers, cost $500 per pair. Visit litcouncil.com or call 254-3442, ext. 206 to purchase tickets or for more information.