Ron Rash to visit Centre as Humana/Library Lecture Series speaker

Posted by Centre News in Academics, Campus, News 14 Nov 2013

On November 20th, award-winning poet, short story writer and novelist Ron Rash will join ranks with the likes of Wendell Berry, Silas House and Elizabeth Strout as one of Centre’s Humana/Library Lecture Series speakers.

Rash is the author of Serena, Nothing Gold Can Stay, The World Made Straight, The Cove, Saints at the River and One Foot in Eden, to name a few. As the 2013-14 Humana/Library Lecture Series speaker, he will read selections from his work in Weisiger Theater; the convocation will be followed by a reception and book signing in the Norton Center foyer.

Rash has a number of honors to his name, including the O’Henry Prize, the Sherwood Anderson Prize, the Frank O’Connor Award and the honor of being a two-time finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award. Currently, he is the Parris Distinguished Professor in Appalachian Cultural Studies at Western Carolina University.

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The Chester, S.C., native grew up in Boiling Springs, N.C., and much of his work engages with Appalachian culture and history. His earlier poetry chronicles his own family’s history along with that of other Chester, S.C., families, and his novels grapple with themes of displacement, environmentalism and the Civil War as they relate to both past and present-day Appalachia.

Director of Library Services Stan Campbell explains that the decision to invite Rash came out of discussions with various members of Centre’s English program.

“Professor Mark Lucas recommended Ron Rash because he used his novel Serena in one of his classes,” Campbell says.
“I had read The World Made Straight and remembered being very impressed by it. When I checked, I saw that Ron Rash had created a substantial, widely praised body of work over the years and that Serena was actually being made into a film starring Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper.”

For Campbell, the event is much more than a lecture or reading.

“We try to bring important writers to campus not only to present a reading in convocation but to spend time with the students,” he says. “Artists such as Elizabeth Strout, Silas House and Wendell Berry have been part of this series, and they’ve shared with students in class settings how they work, how they write and what’s important to them.”

With critical acclaim, including Author Lee Smith’s assertion that “Serena will stand as one of the major American novels of this century,” and Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Russo’s classification of Rash as “a writer of the darkly beautiful and the sadly true,” this author is certainly not one to miss.

For Campbell, the talk represents an unparalleled opportunity to experience Rash’s work in a unique way.

“I love to hear writers read their own work and share that experience with other people,” says Campbell.

Rash will be reading at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, November 20th at Weisiger Theater. The following day, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., he will discuss the art and craft of fiction in the J. David Grissom Reading Room in the Grace Doherty Library. That afternoon at 4 p.m., he will read at the Boyle County Library. All of these events are free and open to the public.

By Mariel Smith

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