SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. – The ninth annual Rose Glen Literary Festival will offer a venue for some of East Tennessee’s best local writers to sell and sign books along with new programming from nationally recognized authors 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 24 at the Sevierville Convention Center.
The luncheon keynote speaker will be Wiley Cash, a New York Times bestselling author of the novels “The Last Ballad,” “A Land More Kind than Home,” and “This Dark Road to Mercy.” He currently serves as the writer-in-residence at the University of North Carolina-Asheville and teaches in the Mountainview Low-Residency MFA. He lives with his wife and two young daughters in Wilmington, North Carolina.
His latest novel chronicles an ordinary woman's struggle for her dignity and rights in a textile mill. “The Last Ballad” is a moving tale of courage in the face of oppression and injustice. Intertwining myriad voices, Cash brings to life the heartbreak and bravery of the now forgotten labor movement struggle in early twentieth-century America and pays tribute to the thousands of heroic women and men who risked their lives to win basic rights for all workers. The book is inspired by the life of Ella May Wiggins, a woman who was born in Sevier County.
“This year’s Rose Glen Literary Festival offers a line-up of stellar speakers covering a wide array of topics.” says event organizer and Sevierville Chamber of Commerce special events facilitator Carroll McMahan. “Attendance continues to grow and the quality of our programing improves every year.”
Other notable speakers at the event include Bren McClain. After winning a handful of awards over the last two decades for novel excerpts and short stories, her literary novel, “One Good Mama Bone,” found a home with Pat Conroy’s “Story River Books.”
The novel received a starred review in “Booklist,” was named an Okra pick by the Southeastern Independent Booksellers Alliance and was selected as Pulpwood Queens’ 2017 Book of the Year. Deep South magazine included it in its recommended list of Fall/Winter books. McClain is a two-time winner of the South Carolina Fiction Project and the recipient of the 2005 Fiction Fellowship by the South Carolina Arts Commission. She is at work on her next novel, “Took,” which was named the gold medal winner for the 2016 William Faulkner –William Wisdom Novel-in-Progress.
Kathryn Smith is the author of “The Gatekeeper: Missy LeHand, FDR, and the Untold Story of the Partnership that Defined a Presidency.” Smith is a journalist and writer with a life-long interest in FDR and his circle. She has lived all her life in Georgia and South Carolina, and earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism at the University of Georgia. She worked as a daily newspaper reporter and editor, and has been the book columnist for the Anderson Independent Mail for 20 years. Smith is the author of an oral history of World War II told by living veterans and civilians called “A Necessary War.”
RB Morris, a Knoxville native, has published several books of poetry, including “Early Fires,” “Littoral Zones,” and “The Mockingbird Poems.” He has served as Writer-in-Residence at the University of Tennessee. As a singer-songwriter, he has released a half-dozen acclaimed albums and EPs, and his songs have been recorded by John Prine and Marianne Faithfull, among others. He is currently serving as Poet Laureate of Knoxville.
Mark Powell has been called the “best Appalachian novelist of his generation" by Ron Rash, and a writer "on the verge of greatness" by Pat Conroy. He is the author of five novels, including “Echolocation,” released in June 2017. Powell has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Breadloaf and Sewanee Writers' Conferences, and in 2014 was a Fulbright Fellow to Slovakia. In 2009 he received the Chaffin Award for contributions to Appalachian literature. Powell holds degrees from Yale Divinity School, the University of South Carolina, and the Citadel. He lives in the mountains of North Carolina where he teaches at Appalachian State University.
Jennifer McGaha is a native of western North Carolina. Her creative nonfiction, essays, and humor pieces have appeared in dozens of blogs, magazines, and journals. She is also a regular contributor to The Huffington Post and a teacher and workshop facilitator. Her newly released book, “Flat Broke with Two Goats: A Memoir of Appalachia” is a memoir of her unexpected journey from country chic to backwoods barnyard.
Born in Knoxville in 1933, David Madden is a LSU Robert Penn Warren Professor of Creative Writing Emeritus. In l961, Random House published his first novel, The Beautiful Greed, based on his Merchant seaman experiences. For Warner Brothers, he adapted his second novel, “Cassandra Singing” to the screen. “The Suicide’s Wife “was made into a CBS Movie of the Week in 1979. It was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, as was “Sharpshooter: A Novel of the Civil War.” “The Shadow Knows,” a book of stories, won a National Council on the Arts Award, judged by Hortense Calisher and Walker Percy. His stories have been reprinted in numerous college textbooks and twice in “Best American Short Stories.” A Rockefeller Grant, recommended by Robert Penn Warren and Saul Bellow, enabled him to work in Venice and Yugoslavia on his third novel, “Bijou,” a 1974 Book of the Month Club Alternate Selection. Madden’s other novels are “Hair of the Dog,” “Pleasure-Dome,” “Abducted by Circumstance,” and “London Bridge in Plague and Fire.”
A workshop called, “Writing a Novel” will be presented by Christopher Hebert, author of the novels “Angels of Detroit” and “The Boiling Season,” winner of the 2013 Friends of American Writers award. He is also co-editor of “Stories of Nation: Fictions, Politics, and the American Experience.” His short fiction and nonfiction have appeared in such publications as Five Chapters, Cimarron Review, Narrative, Interview, and the Millions. Currently he lives in Knoxville, TN, where he is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Tennessee.
Another workshop, “ABCs of Writing for Children” will feature Debbie Dadey and Rick Starkey. For those who have wanted to create a children’s book, here is an opportunity to learn from professionals. Learn to master the elements of a children’s book, including plot, character, and voice. Get tips and insights into creating a series or stand-alone pieces. Attendees are asked to bring paper.
Debbie Dadey is the author and co-author of 166 traditionally published books such as “The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids” and “Mermaid Tales.” Her newest book from Simon and Schuster is “Ready Set Goal!”
Rick Starkey, a Sevier County native, is the author of “Blue Bones.”
Back by popular demand, a panel discussion will feature notable authors like Sam Venable (How to Tawlk and Rite Good: a Guide to the Language of Southern Appalachia), Stephen Lyn Bales (Ghost Birds: Jim Tanner and the Quest for the Ivory-billed Woodpecker), Bill Landry, the voice, host, narrator and co-producer of The Heartland Series as well as author of several books, and Linn Stepp, author of a series of books set in the Smoky Mountains. WVLT-TV’s Alan Williams will serve as host for this entertaining session.
This year’s festival is partnering with Laughing Heart Literary Project, an endeavor spearheaded by New York Times best-selling novelist Amy Greene and her husband Trent Thompson, a writer, scholar and the founder of Rivendell Writer Colony. The project cultivates literary communities, develops literacy programs, and provides forums through events and workshops for educational opportunities in Appalachia. The project seeks to partner with other non-profit organizations that bring literature and literacy to the broader Appalachian region. Their regional outreach efforts extend from Western North Carolina base throughout East Tennessee and Eastern Kentucky.
Vendors will include booksellers, publishers and organizations such as Friends of the King Family Library and Moonpie General Store and Book Warehouse.
Additional authors will be available to meet the public and sign copies of their works throughout the event. All activities are free to the public except for the luncheon, which is $20 per person.
For luncheon reservations contact the Sevierville Chamber of Commerce at 865-453-6411 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Organizers also encourage local writers interested in participating in the event to contact the office as well.
# # #