"Writers Meet Readers" O.Henry Book Fair
Sunday, January 26, 2014
4 until 6 PM
Supporting local authors in the Greensboro area
The first annual “Writers Meet Readers” O.Henry Book Fair will be held here at the O.Henry Hotel on Sunday, January 26, from 4-6 PM. It will feature 20 local writers all with recently published books. Presented by the UNCG MFA Writing Program, the event will be hosted by O.Henry Magazine’s editor and New York Times best-selling author Jim Dodson. Each writer will be selling, signing and talking about their latest works.
Book titles will range from light fare such as Dena Harris’ A Diet Book for Cats to a hardboiled thriller by Greensboro dentist John F. Saunders, Spartan Negotiator. Newly published books also run the gamut, including Tim Swink’s tobacco-noir fantasy, Curing Time, J. Edward Gray’s Civil War fiction, New Garden, and John Stevens’ stunning Scribe: Artist Of The Written Word. Poets a’plenty will be in attendance: Sarah Lindsay, Terry Kennedy, Michael Gaspenny and Steve Cushman. Other authors include Fred Chappell (Poet Laureate of North Carolina from 1997–2002), Michael Parker, Craig Nova, Holly Goddard Jones, Drew Perry, Roland Russoli, Tom Hardin, Alice Sink, Lee Zacharias, Jo Maeder and Sandra Redding.
The Book Fair is named for Greensboro’s most famous writer, William Sydney Porter (O.Henry), and sponsored by the hotel and magazine by the same name. It will be held on the recently renovated Terrace Level at our hotel. There is no admission fee. For more information, call 336-334-5459.
A cash bar will be available. No reservations required to this "drop-in" event. Receive a $10 voucher for Green Valley Grill with purchase of a book.
Sampling of the Authors & Their Works
By O.Henry Magazine
Lee Zacharias: At Random
In Lee Zacharias’ latest novel, At Random, Eva and Guy are driving home one rainy night when a young boy runs in front of their car. Guy cannot stop in time and the boy, an 8-year-old Montagnard, is hit and killed. What follows is the story of their marriage torn to the point of breaking. Both Eva and Guy agree that the accident was unavoidable, but as friends and the community begin to shun the couple, each one begins blaming the other. Eva seeks solace in a surprising way as their marriage deteriorates. At Random is a sharp-eyed portrait of the human heart and the ways, both old and new, it suffers and heals.
Tim Swink: Curing Time
In his first novel, Greensboro writer Tim Swink spins a tale about Hume Rankin, a North Carolina tobacco farmer who becomes increasingly desperate as his crop wilts in the field during the summer of 1959. When his life-long nemesis, who’s always had his eye on Hume’s land and his wife, is found dead, Hume winds up soliciting help from the world of magic, though he is warned of the perils of calling on the “middle world— D.C.B.
John Stevens: Scribe: Artist Of The Written Word
In Scribe: Artist of the Written Word, John Stevens takes the reader on a journey through the world of calligraphy as he details his own development as a world-class calligrapher, letter artist and type designer. Stevens explains his daily work habits and his approach to completing specific projects, such as book and album covers. In his words, “To write a page of calligraphy is still an awesome task. Done well, it is a performance, and all the best work has a fine balance of precision and freedom.” This is a beautiful book, full of wonderful images of Stevens’ work, making it the perfect gift for anyone interested in the art, beauty and craft of letters and words.
John F. Saunders: Spartan Negotiator
Murder, motorcycle gangs, Latino gangs, con men and Russian mobsters are all featured in Greensboro dentist John F. Saunders’ new thriller Spartan Negotiator. At the center of the story is Frank Kane, a retired enforcer for the Spartan motorcycle gang who is pulled from retirement to help an old friend in trouble. As he travels from Greensboro to Texas, Frank clashes with an assortment of violent criminals, all the while heading toward the novel’s bloody, climatic conclusion. For readers who like their fiction hard-boiled, this is a recipe for hours of entertainment.
Alice Sink: Growing Up In The Piedmont Triad, Boomer Memories from Krispy Kreme to Coca-Cola Parties
Alice Sink has written an engaging time capsule of growing up in the Piedmont Triad in the 1940s and 1950s. Drawing on her personal experience and local history, she details everything from family life to popular culture — listening to radio shows and watching The Lone Ranger on her family’s black-and-white TV. The personal photos peppered throughout complement the stories she tells.
Roland Russoli: The Little Boy in the Tree
Roland Russoli received the call that every parent fears. His beloved son Andrew had been killed while serving his country. Here he shares his journey from shock and indefinable grief, to the possibility of healing and reclaiming joy. Through the correspondences he shared with friends as he moved around the world and worked to make peace with his unspeakable loss, he dares to examine his feelings with honesty, humility and even humor. To lose a child is an extremely isolating event, and it is his hope that by sharing his story, others who find themselves on this terrible path, or know someone else who is traveling it, will know they are not alone.
Fred Chappell: Ancestors and Others
Ancestors and Others, Chappell’s newest culls from a lengthy, productive career; the result, a broad, richly textured anthology that exquisitely captures the author’s contribution to Southern literature. The title story is classic Chappell: as a North Carolina couple is visited by laboratory-resurrected Civil War-veteran forefathers, elements of Southern culture are explored through fantastic plot twists. This supernatural streak runs throughout, illuminating subjects as diverse as family, astronomy, gender and deer hunting.
Sandra Redding: Naomi Wise: A Cautionary Tale
Sandra Redding’s novel Naomi Wise is based on the life of a Randolph County orphan in the early 1800s. Just as the reader begins to think that 12-year-old Naomi’s life couldn’t get any worse, she is thankfully taken in by Mary Ruth and Garland Eversole, a Quaker couple. Mixing heartbreak with hope, the book bristles with details of everyday life on the farm at the time. Mary Ruth displays amazing strength and character as she cares for Naomi and eventually Naomi’s own two children in this story you won’t soon forget.
Drew Perry: Kids These Days
In the spirit of Jonathan Tropper and Kevin Wilson, Drew Perry takes aim at the two sides of a man’s impending fatherhood — abject terror and unconditional love. Walter and Alice are expecting their first baby, but their timing is a bit off: Alice has quit her job, and Walter, once a successful loan officer, has been unexpectedly downsized. They’ve had to relocate to Florida to live rent-free in Alice’s deceased aunt’s condo, and when Alice’s brother-in-law Mid offers Walter a job, he can’t refuse. But the things he doesn’t know—about Mid’s murky dealings and the secret arrangements of his shady small-business empire—are beginning to unnerve him. Tensions escalate until the day Mid’s mysteriously procured bright yellow Camaro becomes the object of a police chase—with Walter riding shotgun. Kids These Days is a novel about a man who finally grows up — and just in time.
Michael Parker: All I Have in This World
Two strangers meet on a windswept car lot in West Texas. Marcus is fleeing the disastrous fallout of chasing a lifelong dream; Maria is returning to the hometown she fled years ago, to make amends. They begin to argue over the car that they both desperately want — a low-slung sky-blue twenty-year-old Buick Electra. The car, too, has seen its share of mistakes and failures. Every dent and seam has witnessed pivotal moments in the lives of others, from the boy who assembled it at the Cleveland factory to all the owners who were to follow: a God-fearing man who sells it when he sees a sexy girl sprawled across it; a doctor who can’t dissociate it from his son’s fate; and a rancher’s wife who’d much rather live without it for all the history it carries. All I Have in This World is a tender novel about our desire to reconcile past mistakes, and the ways we must learn to forgive others, and perhaps even ourselves, if we are ever to move on.
Craig Nova: All the Dead Yale Men
Nova’s career-defining 1982 novel The Good Son explored the relationship between a domineering, social-climbing father, Pop Mackinnon, and his loyal but restless son Chip, a World War II veteran who returns home to an arranged marriage. This equally impressive sequel follows Chip’s son Frank, now happily married and a Boston prosecutor, after his father’s death by stroke unleashes long-buried family secrets and resentments — the latter over Chip’s sale of a parcel of land earmarked for Frank’s inheritance. Meanwhile, Frank’s daughter, Pia, thankfully dumps shifty boyfriend Aurlon for more upstanding fellow classmate Robert; but trouble surfaces in the form of shadowy gangster Stas, who tries to blackmail Frank into helping him cover up his stolen car-parts operation, and in the reappearance of Frank’s old love, Pauline.
Jo Maeder: Opposites Attack
Princes inevitably fall for poor, young hapless maidens in fairy tales. A variant on that theme drives the plot of Jo Maeder’s first novel, Opposites Attack. Will the cultured, cosmopolitan French novelist who’s down on his luck marry the charming but giddy young American beauty attending total immersion language school? Or will she land the rich boyfriend that she all along hoped would follow her to France? Find out by gobbling up this rollicking romantic comedy, filled with scrumptious French food.
Sarah Lindsay: Debt to the Bone-Eating Snotflower
With her typical, though poetically unusual, scientific fervor, Sarah Lindsay blends fact and faith, sci-fi and the poetic line in a wild new collection. Debt to the Bone-Eating Snotflower roams from deep sea, whale skeleton-eating worms to Iraq and back while reminding us of both the horror and awe present in the natural world. The collection opens with sharp empirical accuracy and a child-like curiosity, but even the least science-minded readers can fall in love with “Aunt Lydia.” Lindsay’s fictional character makes a late appearance in the book, presenting the reader with an every day comfort as she bumbles along, intuiting her way to from factoids to wisdom. All this to say, Lindsay’s third book takes us on another rollicking journey into a mind that sees poetry in science and science in poetry. There is no better field guide to the 21st century than this.
Terry L. Kennedy: New River Breakdown
Each poem in New River Breakdown, Terry Kennedy’s debut collection, is a world unto itself, a world of longing and love. These are prose poems, a hybrid form that looks like fiction but reads like poetry, and it’s clear with each narrative that Kennedy is a highly skilled poet. A favorite line comes from the poem “Love In Another Season” — “No matter when I awake, I am a day behind — each small moment already pregnant with our separate lives.” Every page of this fine collection is filled with lines that beg to be read and savored, then read again. The book itself is handprinted and bound by Greensboro’s Unicorn Press.
Holly Goddard Jones: The Next Time You See Me
In The Next Time You See Me, the disappearance of one woman, the hard-drinking and unpredictable Ronnie Eastman, reveals the ambitions, prejudices, and anxieties of a small southern town and its residents. There’s Ronnie’s sister Susanna, a dutiful but dissatisfied schoolteacher, mother, and wife; Tony, a failed baseball star-turned-detective; Emily, a socially awkward thirteen-year-old with a dark secret; and Wyatt, a factory worker tormented by a past he can’t change and by a love he doesn’t think he deserves. Connected in ways they cannot begin to imagine, their stories converge in a violent climax that reveals not just the mystery of what happened to Ronnie but all of their secret selves.
Dena Harris: Does This Collar Make My Butt Look Fat, A Diet Book for Cats?
If you love cats, have ever been on a diet or perhaps just enjoy a good laugh, then this parody is the perfect Christmas gift. You’ll get the cat’s eye view of many popular diets, including Atkins, Weight Watchers, the South Beach Diet and Paleo. A ridiculously funny book about cats on diets — how can you go wrong?
Tom Hardin: The Kingdom
In this searing portrayal of the “perfect” American family, we meet the father Mather, a widely respected priest. We meet Miriam, the preacher’s dutiful and obedient wife. And finally we meet their son, Nathaniel, an exemplary and gifted high school senior. The only “problem” is that Nathaniel is gay. One night he makes a decision that sends his family’s lives in surprising directions. By the end of this emotional novel, you may find yourself rethinking your perception of right and wrong, of good and evil.
J. Edward Gray: New Garden
Set during the Mexican War and leading into America’s Civil War, Gray’s debut historical novel follows two brothers from the Guilford County Quaker community of New Garden. Their lives take decidedly different paths — Jack leaves home to become a soldier, and Richard stays close to home. Ambition leads Jack to become a businessman, while Richard becomes a lawyer and eventually a politician. By the end of this engaging, well-researched novel, the brothers’ inevitable reunion comes at a high cost to both of them.
Michael Gaspeny: Vocation
Michael Gaspeny’s poetry collection Vocation is a love song for the suburbs, the terminally ill and the music-makers of the world. He wonderfully evokes Miles Davis and John Coltrane and a suburban neighborhood terrorized by a man on a moped. In one of my favorite poems, “Sherman’s Groove,” a terminally ill man forces his caretaker to listen to music — and the world that surrounds him, a lesson Gaspeny certainly understands and shares with us.
Jim Dodson: American Triumvirate: Sam Snead, Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan, and the Modern Age of Golf
The hundredth birthday of Ben Hogan, Byron Nelson and Sam Snead was commemorated throughout 2012 and with the publication of Jim Dodson’s account of how two dirt-poor boys from Texas and another from Virginia had dedicated themselves to the game of golf. At first they could only look forward to eking out a subsistence living. But then lightning struck, and Dodson tells how from the late ‘30s into the ‘50s, these three men so thoroughly dominated the game — each setting a host of records — so that they transformed both how the game was played and how society regarded it.
Steve Cushman: Hospital Work
T.S. Eliot once wrote that Jacobean dramatist John Webster was “much possessed by death/ And saw the skull beneath the skin.” The same can be said quite literally of Greensboro writer Steve Cushman — in his day job as an X-Ray technologist and in his slim book of poetry, Hospital Work. We should be grateful on both counts. In addition to giving patients and doctors invaluable information about bones and organs beneath the skin, Cushman gives us lyrical, matter-of-fact accounts of the scenes he encounters on a daily basis — the man whose arm got caught in a Merita Bread machine, the four cancerous spots on the X-ray of a man whose right shoulder bears a tattoo of his wife’s name, the policeman questioning the parents of the baby with a broken leg or the heart surgeon singing a Beatles melody in tune with the blood perfusion machine. — D.C.B.