by Brian Lampkin
The novelist and poet Kevin Powers will be our keynote speaker for Saturday’s line-up of Greensboro Bound events. Powers will appear at the International Civil Rights Museum and Center at 7:00 pm on Saturday, May 19.
Powers exploded on the literary scene with his 2012 novel The Yellow Birds, which was a National Book Award finalist. He served in the U.S. Army in Iraq in 2004-05, and The Yellow Birds has been called “the first literary masterpiece produced by the Iraq War” (Los Angeles Times). The dread anticipation of battle commingles with hazy memories of terror throughout this uniquely powerful work:
“I imagined it all, the first wound coming soon, in fall or what would pass for winter, likely to be cold, apt to be. I’d bleed, to be sure, if I were not also concussed, boxed on the ears, and de- and re-pressurized in an instant. I would bleed. I’ll bleed…. Murph would find my body, but first I had to become a body, so that there would be something to be shot, but more likely there would be an explosion, more likely there would be metal made into sheets with jagged edges folded over into my skin and my skin would be torn. And as confusion always seems to follow blasts, I would be left to bleed until my face became gray and my skin all over became gray, and thus I would become a body.”
Powers has a new novel set to publish just a week before the festival. A Shout in the Ruins opens in Civil War Virginia but quickly travels in time to the Jim Crow south of Richmond in the 1950s. Ron Rash has already said Powers has created “a novel that resonates out of the past to address the most timely issues of America in our own century. What an impressive novel.”
Greensboro Bound festival-goers have the rare opportunity to be there at the cusp of a major book’s arrival on the literary scene. Greensboro novelist Drew Perry will introduce Kevin Powers, and we advise that you get in line early. The Civil Rights Museum auditorium has limited seating and this event will likely fill up quickly.
A Shout in the Ruins (2018).
The Yellow Birds (2012). National Book Award Finalist, The Guardian First Book Award, Hemingway Foundation/Pen Award.
Letter Composed During a Lull in the Fighting (Poetry, 2014).
This Is Just Exactly Like You (2011)
Kids These Days (2014)
Brian Lampkin is co-owner of Scuppernong Books and word wrangler for the band, The Difficulties.
Our series on publishing, Literary Jungle, Literary Community, continues at Scuppernong Books on Wednesday, February 21 at 7pm, with Part Two: Publishing with a Small Press. Learn what to expect when publishing with a Small Press, what they are looking for, and how they operate at this informative panel discussion. We’ll have Kevin Watson from Press 53, Ross White from Bull City Press, Lynn York from Blair, and Andrew Saulters from Unicorn Press, five North Carolina Small Presses who publish in many genres, to discuss the state of small press publishing and answer your questions.
The series is part of a year-long celebration of the diversity of voices and ideas in the literary world. This series is a program of Greensboro Bound: A Literary Festival. The third part of the series will take place on Wednesday March 21 at 7pm at Scuppernong Books. This program, titled Literary Citizenship will explore what it means to be a literary citizen, the vital importance of writing community not only in supporting our writing, but also the marketing and sales of a book. Panelists will include Terry Kennedy, Ashley Lumpkin, Julia Ridley-Smith, and Ed Southern.
For more information, call Scuppernong Books at 336-763-1919
by Mary Coyne Wessling
GREENSBORO, NC – Greensboro Bound: A Literary Festival is on track to welcome more than seventy writers, poets, and spoken word artists for its inaugural 3-day national book festival, May 18-20, 2018.
During this gathering of diverse voices and ideas, writers of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry will take part in discussions, book signings, readings, and more.
Headliners include the following writers.
Nikki Giovanni is one of America’s preeminent poets, Ms. Giovanni is also a nonfiction writer, activist, and professor, and a frequent guest speaker on college campuses and literary festivals. Among her many honors are the NAACP Image Award, the Rosa Parks Woman of Courage Award, and the Langston Hughes Medal for Outstanding Poetry. She will give the festival’s concluding keynote lecture on Sunday, May 20.
Lee Smith was the author most requested by the readers surveyed by festival coordinators. Smith’s most recent work Dimestore: A Writer’s Life, offers thoughts on place, memory, and writing. Lee, who resides in Hillsborough, NC, published her first novel 45 years ago and since then has published more than a dozen books and won numerous literary awards.
John T. Edge is the author of The Potlikker Papers, a personal history of Southern food. He is director of the Southern Foodways Alliance, an institute of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi. He contributes to the Oxford American and the New York Times, and has written for Garden & Gun and Afar.
Kevin Powers’s debut novel, The Yellow Birds, drew on his experiences in the Iraq War. Chosen by New York Times Critics as one of the best novels of 2012, it has become a classic contemporary war fiction. His new novel, Shout in the Ruins, starts in the Civil War and spans more than 100 years.
Carmen Maria Machado’s debut short story collection, Her Body and Other Parties, was a finalist for the National Book Award and the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction, and the winner of the Bard Fiction Prize and the National Book Critics Circle’s John Leonard Prize. She is a fiction writer, critic, and essayist. Her stories have been reprinted in Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy, Best Horror of the Year, and Best Women’s Erotica.
John Duberstein and Lucy Kalanithi gained recognition in the literary world when their respective spouses’ memoirs were published to great acclaim. When Breath Becomes Air, Paul Kalanithi’s memoir of facing lung cancer before dying at age 37, came out in 2016. The Bright Hour, Nina Riggs’s memoir of living with breast cancer was published soon after she died, at age 39, in 2017. Duberstein and Kalanithi, who are now a couple and whose love story was recently told in the Washington Post, will appear in conversation.
Other nationally recognized writers slated to attend are author Daniel Wallace, author and political commentator Jared Yates Sexton, reporter and author Beth Macy, Iranian-American poet and scholar Kaveh Akbar, and fiction writer Leesa Cross-Smith.
The festival line up also includes Katie Button, author and chef; Joan Nathan, cookbook author; Stacy McAnulty, children’s author; novelist Michael Parker; former North Carolina Poet Laureate Fred Chappell; journalist Hal Crowther; John Claude Bemis, North Carolina Piedmont Laureate for Children’s Literature; Naima Coster, novelist; and poet Gabrielle Calvocoressi.
Mary Coyne Wessling is a free lance writer and editor and member of the Greensboro Bound marketing and public relations committee.