“On the Same Page,” Ashe County’s Literary Festival, celebrates its eighth year in 2015 with award-winning authors, and plans for a festival filled with reading, a book fair, writing workshops, a farmers’ market and more.
“We build on what we’ve learned from our festivalgoers in years past and bring something really special for book lovers and writers,” according to Jane Lonon, executive director of the Ashe County Arts Council. This year’s festival is scheduled for Sept. 15 through Sept. 19 and features the theme “Telling Stories.”
Currently under way, the festival-sponsored writing competition, The Page Crafters Awards, focuses on this year’s theme “Telling Stories” and features $900 in prize money for writers. First and second place winners will receive $200 and $100 prizes, respectively, in each of the three categories: fiction, nonfiction and poetry. The deadline for entering the competition is July 20. Further entry details are at the festival website www.onthesamepagefestival.org.
Winners will be recognized at the On the Same Plate Luncheon on Saturday during the festival.
The 2016 Festival Read kicks off at 4 p.m. on Aug. 13 with a discussion of “The Supremes at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat” by Edward Kelsey Moore at Boondocks. Readings from the book will be featured on the street during the next day’s Gallery Crawl in West Jefferson, and a Festival Read book discussion will take place at 1 p.m. Sept. 15 at the Ashe County Public Library.
Author Edward Kelsey Moore joins the festival at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 17 at the Ashe Arts Center and will also appear for “Lunch with an Author” the following Friday and at the “On the Same Plate Luncheon” Saturday.
In addition to the featured authors listed below, contributors to the newly released “Reflections on the New River: New Essays, Poems and Personal Stories” will read and sign books at the Saturday Ashe County Farmers’ Market. Contributors include writers from throughout the New River watershed in North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia and will at the festival Saturday.
Authors who will read from their works, participate in question-and-answer sessions, talk with book fans at “Lunch with an Author” events and serve on a panel for a special discussion at venues across West Jefferson include the following:
• Jack Beck has performed in many groups and on recordings during the years. In 1990, he was made an honorary life member of the Traditional Music and Song Association of Scotland and from 1999-2004, he was external examiner in Scots Song at the Royal Scottish Conservatoire in Glasgow. He was a contributor to the recently published book “Wayfaring Strangers” by Fiona Ritchie and Doug Orr and appears on the accompanying CD along with Dolly Parton, Doc Watson and Pete Seeger. He and his wife, Wendy Welch, operate the Tales of the Lonesome Pine Used Bookstore in Big Stone Gap, Va.
• Kathryn Stripling Byer lives in the mountains of Western North Carolina. Her poetry, prose, and fiction have appeared widely, including Poetry, The Atlantic, Georgia Review, Shenandoah and Southern Poetry Review. Her first book of poetry, “The Girl in the Midst of the Harvest,” was published in the AWP Award Series in 1986, followed by the prize-winning “Wildwood Flower” from LSU Press. She served for five years as North Carolina's first woman poet laureate. Her most recent book, “Descent,” received both the SIBA Award and N.C. Book Award for poetry.
• Donna Campbell is the founding publisher of Lake Norman Magazine. Her first documentary project, “Any Day Now,” completed with her sister, Susan Campbell in 1990, won national awards from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Association of Women Broadcasters in Radio and TV. As producer, Campbell won a regional Emmy Award for the documentary “Harvest of Dignity.”
• Angela Davis-Gardner has published four critically acclaimed novels, most recently “Butterfly’s Child.” Her novel, “Plum Wine,” was named a “Notable Novel” by the Kiriyama Pacific Rim Prize for its contribution to East/West understanding. An earlier novel, “Forms of Shelter,” won the Sir Walter Raleigh Award in North Carolina and was a best-seller in France. She is a distinguished professor emerita at North Carolina State University.
• Georgann Eubanks is a writer, teacher and consultant to nonprofit groups across the country. She is director of the Table Rock Writers Workshop, a founder of the North Carolina Writers' Network and is past chairwoman of the North Carolina Humanities Council. Her three guidebooks from UNC Press in the Literary Trails series cover the long history of North Carolina writers and their relationship to the specific places that inspired them.
• Amy Greene is author of the New York Times best-selling novel “Bloodroot,” named a “Must Read” by Entertainment Weekly and one of the Top 10 novels of 2010 by Booklist, Kirkus Reviews and Amazon. Her second novel, “Long Man,” published in 2014, was named a Best Book of the Year by the Washington Post and the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Her articles and op-eds have appeared in the New York Times, Glamour Magazine and BookPage, among other publications.
• Edward Kelsey Moore is the author of the New York Times best-selling novel, “The Supremes at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat,” which was chosen as a 2013 Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers selection and awarded the 2014 First Novelist Award by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. His award-winning essays and short fiction have appeared in the New York Times and literary magazines, including Ninth Letter, Indiana Review, African American Review and Inkwell. In addition to his writing, he maintains a career as a professional cellist, performing with a number of ensembles, including the Chicago Sinfonietta and the Joffrey Ballet Orchestra.
• Ann Pancake’s most recent book is the story collection, “Me and My Daddy Listen to Bob Marley.” Her first novel, “Strange As This Weather Has Been,” was one of Kirkus Review’s Top 10 fiction books of the year, won the 2007 Weatherford Prize, and was a finalist for the 2008 Orion Book Award and the 2008 Washington State Book Award. Her collection of short stories, “Given Ground,” won the Bakeless Award, and she has also received a Whiting Award, an NEA grant, and a Pushcart Prize. Her fiction and essays have appeared in journals and anthologies, including Orion, The Georgia Review, Poets and Writers and “New Stories from the South, the Year’s Best.”
• Dan Pierce is the author of “Real NASCAR: White Lightning, Red Clay and Big Bill France.” A noted NASCAR historian, Pierce has written widely on the topic, including encyclopedia articles and an entry on “The Most Southern Sport on Earth” for the Journal of Southern Culture. He also detailed the sport's bootlegging past for a History Channel special on Appalachia. He is professor and chairman of the history department at the University of North Carolina Asheville.
• Ken Waldman has published several books of poetry and the memoir “Are You Famous? Touring America with Alaska’s Fiddling Poet.” Originally a business student, Waldman picked up the fiddle when he was 25 years old and poetry at age 30. Since then, he has written many poems about a wide variety of topics, from a plane crash he survived near Nome, Alaska, to teaching students over the telephone.
• Wendy Welch and her husband, Scottish folksinger Jack Beck, own and operate Tales of the Lonesome Pine Used Books in Big Stone Gap, Va. She has a doctorate in ethnography and teaches university courses on culture and public health. Her book, “The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap,” is the story of their store and life in Big Stone Gap.
Major funding for the On the Same Page Literary Festival comes from SkyLine Membership Corporation, the Friends of the Ashe County Public Library, the Ashe Arts Council, the Appalachian Regional Library, Ashe County Farmers’ Market, the county of Ashe, the town of West Jefferson, and the Page Turners, individuals who support On the Same Page Literary Festival.
For more information about the festival’s history, about Ashe County and more, visit www.onthesamepagefestival.org.