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Sharyn McCrumb Presents to High Country Writers

Sharyn McCrumb, NY Times best-selling author, presents at the meeting of High Country Writers, Thursday, August 8, at 10 a.m. at the Watauga County Library. She will speak on the topic of “Incorporating Myth into Your Fiction.” The public is invited.

Sharyn McCrumb’s latest novel, “The Unquiet Grave,” recasts a story that has become a recurring bit of American folklore as the recollections of James P. D. Gardner, the first black attorney to practice law in the 19th century West Virginia. Beautiful, willful Zona Heaster married in haste and move 20 miles away from her parents’ home, a significant journey in the 19th century mountains of West Virginia. Just months later, she is returned, dead from a tragic fall according to her husband. Living on a remote mountain farm, lacking money, influence and education, Mary Jane is nonetheless determined to get justice for her daughter. A month after the funeral, she informs the county prosecutor that Zona’s ghost appeared to her, saying that she has been murdered. An autopsy confirms her claim. “The Unquiet Grave” is rich with the same masterful attention to historic detail and evoking of mountain folklore that readers find so compelling in all her Ballad novels.

Best known for her Ballad novels, Sharyn McCrumb has been named a “Virginia Woman of History” for Achievement in Literature; she was a guest author at the National Festival of the Book in Washington, D.C; she has lectured on her work at universities and museums throughout the US, as well as at Oxford University, the University of Bonn-Germany and at the Smithsonian Institution. Ms. McCrumb taught a writers workshop in Paris and has serve as writer in residence at King College in Tennessee and at the Chautauqua Institute in western New York. Most recently, in the Orpheus Music Project, composers Craig Carnahan and Craig Fields have created an oratorio based on McCrumb’s novel The Ballad of Frankie Silver. She wrote the spoken narration for the piece, in the voice of Burgess Gaither. The work will premiere in June 2020 in Minneapolis and in at least one city in North Carolina or Virginia. High Country Writers are delighted to welcome her back among us.

High Country Writers has been “energizing writers since 1995!” Regular meetings are at the Watauga County Public Library on the second and fourth Thursdays of most months from ten until noon and speakers’ presentations are co-sponsored with the Library. HCW members present writing skills workshops the first Thursday of the month and have recently partnered with the Watauga County Arts Council in hosting these workshops. For more information and a current calendar, visit the website: http://www.highcountrywriters.org. Guests are welcome.