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On the Same Page Literary Festival Features Pulitzer Prize Winning Book: “Underground Railroad.”

(West Jefferson) – On the Same Page Literary Festival’s Festival Read for 2017 is Colson Whitehead’s “Underground Railroad.”  An international best seller and winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the book is the story of a 15-year-old slave named Cora, who escapes by way of a mystical, but literal, underground train.  

 Events will begin with the Festival Read Kick-Off on Tuesday, August 8, at 2:00 p.m. at the Ashe County Public Library. Books to “read and share” free of charge are available now at the Ashe County Arts Center, as well as at the Ashe County Public Library. Books will also be available to borrow or purchase at the kick-off and refreshments will be provided.

This year’s kick off will feature Dr. Pat Beaver, who will share her knowledge of the role the North Carolina mountains may have played in the Underground Railroad.  Dr. Beaver is originally from Asheville, NC, earned a Ph.D. from Duke University, and is currently professor emerita of anthropology, Appalachian State University.  At Appalachian, she was founding director of ASU’s Center for Appalachian Studies. She has conducted research in Appalachia, Wales, and China, with interests in community through the lens of collaborative research. She is author or editor of numerous articles and books and is co-producer of a documentary film After Coal: Wales and Appalachian Communities, Tom Hansell, director.  She is recipient of the Thomas Wolfe Literary Award and the Outstanding Achievement Award from the WNC Historical Association, and the Cratis Williams/James Brown Award from the Appalachian Studies Association. 

The Festival Read Wrap-Up Discussion will take place on Tuesday, September 12, at the Ashe County Public Library at 3:00 p.m. Dr. Antonio Bly of Appalachian State will lead a discussion connecting Whitehead’s story of Cora, the Underground Railroad, and the bid for freedom she sought.  Dr. Bly is Associate Professor of History and the Director of Africana Studies at Appalachian State University

On the Same Page, Ashe County, NC’s Literary Festival, celebrates its 10th Anniversary in 2017 with award-winning authors and plans for a Festival filled with reading, writing workshops, music and more. This year’s Festival is scheduled for TuesdaySaturday, September 11-16. The Festival is sponsored by the Ashe County Public Library and the Ashe County Arts Council and is supported with major funding from Skyline Membership Corporation and many individual donors – the Page Turners. On the Same Page is also funded in part by a grant from South Arts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the North Carolina Arts Council. The Friends of the Ashe County Public Library are major sponsors of On the Same Pageand the County of Ashe and the Town of West Jefferson also support the Festival. 

 This year’s Festival authors include: Joseph Bathanti, Edward Kelsey Moore, Jill McCorkle, D.G. Martin, Bob Inman, John Hart, Philip Gerard, Tim Gautreaux, Georgann Eubanks, and Mark De Castrique. See the website www.onthesamepagefestival.org for details about times and locations of events. Most are free and open to the public; some require reservations/tickets.