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Lees-McRae English Professor to Lead Illustrated Lecture on Pulitzer Prize-Winning Novelist Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

Learn about the life of Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, author of The Yearling, during the next Lees-McRae Stephenson Center for Appalachia lecture on Thursday, March 7.

Starting at 7 p.m. in the Dotti M. Shelton Learning Commons Room 205 r, Director of the Stephenson Center for Appalachia and English professor Michael Joslin will lead the illustrated lecture on Rawlings’ season in the mountains in 1936.

Escaping from Florida heat, humidity, and malaria, Rawlings came to Banner Elk to research material and work on the first draft of her book, The Yearling, which later became a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel and a movie that won Oscars and a Golden Globe. The program will examine what she learned from her mountain experience and how it affected her writing.

She also wrote a short story, “A Mother in Mannville,” that clearly derived from her stay in a cabin set beside the dirt trail between Lees-McRae College and Grandfather Home for Children. A 12-year-old boy from the orphanage cut her firewood and exercised her pointer hound during her stay. He later became inspiration for the young protagonist for both the novel, and the short story.

“While Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings spent only a short time in Banner Elk, her experience in these mountains and with the people of the community inspired her,” Joslin said. “We invite everyone to join us for the program and discussion.”

Joslin has published seven books on the region and written hundreds of articles for newspapers and magazines. He has taught journalism, photography, and English courses for three decades at Lees-McRae and has spent years exploring and photographing the area.

The Stephenson Center for Appalachia serves as a resource for anyone interested in learning about the mountains, the culture and history of the area, and its natural wonders. Each semester and during the summer the Center hosts a series of lectures on Appalachia. 

Stephenson Center for Appalachia programs are free and open to the public. For more information, contact Michael Joslin at joslin@lmc.edu.