Press release from Lenoir-Rhyne University:
Lenoir-Rhyne University in Asheville’s Thomas Wolfe Center for Narrative and the Yale Association of Western North Carolina will present “Sisters in Words: Fiction, Nonfiction, and the Creative Process.” Best-selling authors and sisters, Elizabeth Kostova and Victoria Johnson, will read from their latest works, Kostova’s “The Shadow Land” and Johnson’s “American Eden: David Hosack, Botany, and Medicine in the Garden of the Early Republic.” A discussion on the creative process will follow, facilitated by Laura Hope-Gill, coordinator of the Thomas Wolfe Center for Narrative, as well as a question-and-answer session with the audience and a book signing and sale. The event will take place on Thursday, Jan. 24, at Lenoir-Rhyne’s 36 Montford Ave. location in Asheville. Doors will open at 6pm, readings will begin at 6:30, and the event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.
“The Shadow Land,” authored by Asheville-based Kostova, chronicles the travels of a young American woman to Bulgaria. The narrative unravels into a sumptuous tale from an incident of an accidentally taken piece luggage. Kostova’s novel takes the reader through the terrains of grief and mystery while celebrating at every turn the power of story to awaken, fascinate, and heal. Her 2005 work, “The Historian,” was the first debut novel to reach number one on The New York Times bestseller list.
Johnson’s “American Eden: David Hosack, Botany, and Medicine in the Garden of the Early Republic,” a finalist for the 2018 National Book Award, illustrates a noted 18th and 19th-century physician’s dream of creating the nation’s first botanical garden. Surgeon to Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr (and present at the fateful 1804 duel between the two), Thomas Jefferson and others, Hosack’s medical practice drew on his vast knowledge of medicinal plants. Johnson is an associate professor of urban policy and planning at Hunter College in New York, N.Y.
“This event deeply reflects the passion of the Thomas Wolfe Center for Narrative, which focuses on development and process in creative work,” said Hope-Gill, Lenoir-Rhyne professor and coordinator of the university’s Master of Arts in Writing program. “Kostova and Johnson meticulously merge inquiry, creativity, and intellectual curiosity,” she said. “The results are two thrilling and very different works of history and literature, and this event promises to be deeply insightful and exciting for all of us who strive to follow our creative impulses to their most excellent ends.”