Ron Rash and Charles Frazier to headline UNCA summer author speaker series

From the press release from UNC Asheville:

Ron Rash and Charles Frazier to Headline Summer Author Speaker Series at UNC Asheville

A quintet of great Southern writers, including Ron Rash and Charles Frazier, will speak in July at UNC Asheville’s Reuter Center as part of the Summer Authors Speakers Series. The series of talks, produced by the Appalachian Studies Program of the College for Seniors at UNC Asheville’s N.C. Center for Creative Retirement, is free and open to the public, 3-4:30 p.m. Sundays.

Tommy Hays, contributor to the recent collections “27 Views of Asheville” and “Naked Came the Leaf Peeper,” begins the series with a talk on July 1. Hays is best known for his acclaimed novels, “In the Family Way” (Random House, 1999), a Book-of-the-Month Club selection and winner of the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award; and “The Pleasure Was Mine” (St. Martin’s Press, 2005), a National Public Radio “Radio Reader” selection chronicling a man’s journey as husband and caregiver as Alzheimer’s disease consumed his wife. Hays has a forthcoming novel, “What I Came to Tell You,” for young adults. He is executive director of UNC Asheville’s Great Smokies Writing Program, and a lecturer in the university’s Master of Liberal Arts Program.

Charles Frazier, a native of Asheville who gained fame with his novel “Cold Mountain” (Atlantic Monthly Press, 1997), will speak on July 8. “Cold Mountain” won the National Book Award for Fiction and was adapted into an award-winning, critically-acclaimed film that was also a box-office success. In Frazier’s writing, place and time are as central as character and plot. His subsequent novels, “Thirteen Moons” (Random House, 2006) and “Nightwoods,” (Random House, 2011) are also set in the Appalachian Mountains.

Wayne Caldwell, also a native of Asheville whose novels are set in the North Carolina mountains, will speak on July 15. “Cataloochee” (Random House, 2007) is a post-Civil War saga of three generations of families’ dreams, downfalls and faith. He followed “Cataloochee” with “Requiem by Fire” (Random House, 2010) which chronicles a close-knit mountain village’s fight to keep the land long cultivated by its inhabitants.

Ron Rash, whose novel “Serena” (2008 Ecco Press), is being adapted for film by Academy Award-winning director Susanne Bier, will speak on July 22. “Serena,” set in Western North Carolina during the depression, was a 2009 PEN/Faulkner Award finalist. Rash’s short stories have garnered two PEN/O. Henry Prizes, and his collection “Burning Bright” (Ecco Press, 2010) won the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. His latest novel, “The Cove” (Ecco Press, 2012), is set in mountain communities during World War I. Rash is the Parris Distinguished Professor of Appalachian Cultural Studies at Western Carolina University.

Erica Abrams Locklear, whose writing and scholarship has focused on Appalachian women and literacy, will speak on July 29. Locklear is the author of “Negotiating a Perilous Empowerment: Appalachian Women’s Literacies” (Ohio University Press, 2011), which explores how mountain writers portray the identity conflicts that literacy attainment can cause for Appalachian women. Locklear is assistant professor of Literature and Language at UNC Asheville.

The Summer Author Speaker Series talks will take place in the Manheimer Room at UNC Asheville’s Reuter Center, home of the N.C. Center for Creative Retirement. For more information, email Susan Poole at, or call 828/251-6140.


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