The Western North Carolina Historical Association (WNCHA) is launching a new program this September called Lit Café. Held via Zoom, the Lit Café will be a purposeful book discussion exploring the work of authors who have won or been finalists for the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award. The award, originated by the Louis Lipinsky family and now supported by Michael Sartisky, PhD, is a partnership between WNCHA and the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Advisory Committee. “This award celebrates excellence in literature by Western North Carolina authors or about Western North Carolina, often both simultaneously,” says WNCHA executive director Anne Chesky Smith. “There is so much wonderful literature about our region—fiction, nonfiction and poetry—that deserves more attention, which is what inspired this new programming.”
The first Lit Café will be on Thursday, September 10, from 2:30–3:30 p.m. Jim Stokely will present on The French Broad, Wilma Dykeman’s legendary work and the first winner of the award in 1955. At the same time on October 8, Lit Café will feature Janet McCue and George Ellison, co-authors of Back of Beyond: A Horace Kephart Biography, which won the award in 2019. The November Lit Café will highlight those selected for the 2020 awards with readings by the semi-finalists or winner. “These presentations not only raise awareness of wonderful WNC literature but allow the authors to give more of a background about what inspired them and their personal connection to our region,” says Chesky Smith. “The presentations will give participants a more in-depth look at the history behind the literature by looking more closely at the author, the text, and their research and writing process.”
This series is free for WNCHA members and available on a sliding scale of $5 to $15 per meeting for non-members. After the event, recorded programs will be available to all registrants on YouTube. For more information or to register for a Lit Café, visit WNCHistory.org/events.