Authors for 2017
This is Joseph Bathanti’s third turn with the OTSP Festival. In 2009, he moderated the Festival’s first author panel, and in 2013 and 2014 his readings and commentary brought the audience to laughter and tears. Born and raised in Pittsburg, PA, Joseph came to North Carolina as a VISTA Volunteer in 1976 to work with prison inmates, and he has continued to teach writing in prisons ever since. Currently Professor of Creative Writing at Appalachian State University, he has received numerous literary awards for his poetry and novels. In 2012 he was named North Carolina Poet Laureate; serving as “ambassador of NC literature,” Joseph participated in more than 250 events across the state. His most recent work, Half of What I Say is Meaningless, is a collection of fourteen essays that, according to one reviewer, “leaves the reader with a stout take on just who he is.” Joseph lives in Vilas, NC, with his wife, Joan.
MARK DE CASTRIQUE
When Mark de Castrique spoke at the 2011 Festival, he brought the mystery genre to our audiences for the first time. He is the author of sixteen novels, including a series featuring reluctant undertaker Barry Clayton, and the Sam Blackburn Series. The Blackburn character is a disabled veteran/detective in Asheville whose clients all have ties to famous authors with NC connections. According to the Library Journal, Mark’s work “offers original plots, strikingly human characters, and a heartwarming portrait of American culture.” In addition to his writing, Mark is also a veteran of the broadcast and film production business, and has received an Emmy Award for his documentary film work. Mark and his wife, Linda, live in Charlotte, but like to spend time in the NC mountains and in Washington, DC.
Long-time Festival-goers know to look forward to workshops, luncheons, author sessions, and a whole host of other activities with Georgann Eubanks. Georgann has been part of the Festival for nine of our ten years, walking us along her Literary Trails of the NC mountains, piedmont, and coastal plain; revealing glimpses of her poetry; and giving us previews of work still with her publishers. She has taught in Duke University’s Continuing Education Program, developed strategic plans for colleges and universities across the country, and consults with local and state arts organizations. She has written and produced documentaries with Emmy-award winning photographer Donna Campbell, her partner in Minnow Media, and directs the annual Table Rock Writers Workshop and Solatido Songwriters Retreat in Little Switzerland, NC. She is author of The Month of Their Ripening: North Carolina Heritage Foods, a collection of essays about some of North Carolina’s traditional foods, due out from UNC Press in 2018.
Tim Gautreaux is a native of Louisiana, and is the former Writer-in-Residence at Southeastern Louisiana University. Since his first appearance at the Festival in 2012, Tim has moved to Signal Mountain, TN, and still manages to spend time here in Ashe County. He first learned to write poetry as a student of James Dickey, but moved to short fiction at the urging of Walker Percy. Tim has written four collections of short stories, including Signals, released earlier this year, which The New York Times calls “stories by the true heir of James Dickey and Flannery O’Connor.” Tim is also the author of three well-received novels, The Next Step in the Dance, The Clearing, and The Missing.
When Philip Gerard spoke at the Festival in 2014, he had just published Down the Wild Cape Fear: A River Journey Through the Heart of North Carolina, an account of his travels, by boat, down east-central NC’s 200-mile long blackwater river. The book is a fine example of creative nonfiction, which Gerard teaches as chair of the Department of Creative Writing at UNC Wilmington. He is also the author of a textbook, Creative Nonfiction: Researching and Crafting Stories of Real Life, used in colleges and universities across the country. Besides his academic work, Gerard has written several novels and short stories, and was the author of Our State magazine’s Civil War series. He is an avid musician, and incorporates bluegrass, folk, country, and original compositions into his presentations. He and his wife Jill are co-editors of Chautauqua, the literary journal of the Chautauqua Institution in New York. They live near Wilmington, NC.
John Hart is the author of five novels – bestsellers all – and is the first, and still only, author to win the Edgar Award for Best Novel in two consecutive years. He had, in fact, just won his second Edgar for The Last Child when he spoke at our 2010 Festival and became an instant favorite. John has also won the Southern Independent Bookseller’s Award, the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award, the Barry Award, and the North Carolina Award for Literature. He is reported to be working on his sixth novel, a sequel to The Last Child, which The Washington Post called “a magnificent creation, Huck Finn channeled through Lord of the Flies.” A native North Carolinian who attended Davidson College near Charlotte, Hart has been a banker, stockbroker, and criminal defense attorney, but now writes full time from his home in Virginia. His other novels are The King of Lies, Down River, Iron House, and his most recent, Redemption Road.
Robert Inman is a novelist, screenwriter, and playwright who had just published his fifth novel, The Governor’s Lady, when he participated in our 2014 Festival. The novel was described by one reviewer as “a tale of rabid ambition . . . and the slow demise of a marriage between two powerful politicos.” Bob is the author of eight stage plays including, most recently, Liberty Mountain, a story of the Revolutionary War battle of Kings Mountain. The play is performed every summer in the town of Kings Mountain, NC. He has written screenplays for six television motion pictures, two of which have been “Hallmark Hall of Fame” presentations, and won the Writers’ Guild of America Award for best original television screenplay of 1997. Bob is familiar to many viewers in the state’s TV audience, having spent 31 years as a newsman at WBTV in Charlotte. Now retired from broadcasting and spending his time as a full-time writer, he and his wife Paulette live in Boone and Conover, NC.
D.G. Martin was moderator of the Festival’s author panels in 2010 and 2012, and in 2013 he was a featured author himself, with his book Interstate Eateries, a travel guide to what he called down-home cooking along North Carolina’s interstate highways. D.G. has been host of UNC-TV’s North Carolina Bookwatch since 1999, where he interviews the state’s best and most engaging writers for a weekly audience. He also writes a weekly column which is carried by some 40 newspapers across the state, including the Ashe Mountain Times. D.G. has just published North Carolina’s Roadside Eateries: A Traveler’s Guide to Restaurants, Diners, and Barbecue Joints. Reviewers suggest that it belongs in the glove compartments of everyone who travels across this huge state as a means of finding great food in interesting communities.
When Jill McCorkle came to our 2009 Festival, her short-story collection, Going Away Shoes, was brand new – so new, in fact, that it made its unofficial debut at her Festival session. She returns this year with her first novel in seventeen years, Life After Life, and a review in O: The Oprah Magazine poses the question, “Who knew death, regret, and lengthy ruminations about days past could add up to a novel this vibrant, hopeful, and compelling?” Although Jill has now published ten novels and short-story collections, her first two novels, The Cheerleader and July 7th, hold the distinction of having been published on the same day in 1984. She is a native of Lumberton, NC, and has received the New England Booksellers Award, the John Dos Passos Prize for Excellence in Literature, and the North Carolina Award for Literature. Jill was a lecturer at Harvard for five years where she was chair of Creative Writing; she has also taught at Tufts University, Brandeis University, and UNC Chapel Hill. She currently teaches creative writing at NC State University, and lives with her husband, Tom Rankin, in Hillsborough, NC.
EDWARD KELSEY MOORE
Edward Kelsey Moore made the 2015 Festival audience sit up and take notice with his debut novel, The Supremes at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat, which was also chosen as that year’s Festival Read. Since its publication in 2013, The Supremes has been published in translation in eleven countries, and won the 2014 First Novelist Award by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. This year, he brings us his greatly anticipated second novel, The Supremes Sing the Happy Heartache Blues, and author Fannie Flagg says of his new book, “Edward Kelsey Moore, besides being laugh-out-loud hilarious, has a profound understanding of human nature. This gift, combined with his clear love and affection for his characters, makes him a truly remarkable writer. This book is a joy to read.” In addition to his writing, Edward is a professional cellist, recording and touring nationally and internationally. A native of Indianapolis, he currently performs with the Chicago Sinfonietta and the Joffrey Ballet Orchestra.