The 14th Annual Carolina Mountains Literary Festival takes place in Burnsville from Thursday, September 5, through Saturday, September 7, with the theme On The Move—stories of migration, immigration and travel. “In the U.S., unless we are Native American, we all came from somewhere else,” says festival chair Kathy Weisfeld. “The books that will be presented examine the many reasons people migrate, immigrate and travel.”
The event kicks off Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Town Center Legacy Room with a free multi-media presentation by Red Herring Puppets. The show, directed by Lisa Sturz and titled My Grandfather’s Prayers, tells the story of Sturz’s grandfather Cantor Izso Glickstein, who fled the Russian pogroms and the Hungarian White Terror in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Authors in various genres, including North Carolina Poet Laureate Jaki Shelton Green, will give free readings with discussions Friday and Saturday at locations around the Burnsville town square. Four writing workshops will also take place. Admission is $35 and pre-registration is required. On Friday night, a locally sourced banquet featuring Andrew Lawler, author of The Secret Token—Myth, Obsession and the Search for the Lost Colony of Roanoke, takes place at 7 p.m. at the Burnsville Town Center. Registration is $35 BYOB.
The festival closes with a conversation between acclaimed novelist Charles Frazier and novelist and nonfiction writer Elaine Orr on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. at the Burnsville Town Center. Born and raised in WNC, Frazier’s roots in the area have influenced much of his work, including Cold Mountain, the novel adapted into an Academy Award-winning film of the same name. Their conversation will revolve around how the themes of travel, migration and immigration apply to Frazier’s tales of displacement and journey in the face of emotional upheaval. Admission is $25 and pre-registration is required.
“I like the conversational format because it’s spontaneous, never the same twice,” says Frazier. “Elaine Orr is a wonderful North Carolina writer, and I expect we’ll be talking about place and home—about leaving it and returning to it—in our lives and our work.”