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Wednesday, 21 September 2016 00:00

Events for readers and writers

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Protecting your freedom to read

The Jackson County Public Library and Fontana Regional Library will join with the American Library Association to celebrate Banned Books Week Sept. 25 to Oct. 1. The annual observance honors the freedom to read and highlights cases in which that freedom has been challenged or limited.

By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harm of censorship and demonstrates the value of free and open access to information and ideas.

Nationwide, books of all types have been challenged, which means that an individual or a group has asked that it be removed (banned) from a library’s shelves so that it is not available to readers. The American Library Association keeps statistics about the numbers of books challenged or banned each year, but most cases are not reported. Over the years, challenged books have ranged from children’s picture books to the Bible to fiction and nonfiction for all ages.

Libraries in Macon, Jackson, and Swain Counties have created displays of books that have been challenged or banned in other communities across the country. The goal is for readers in Western North Carolina to celebrate their right to read those books and any other books they choose.


Folk school poetry showcase

The John Campbell Folk School and N.C. Writers Network West are sponsoring The Literary Hour, an hour of poetry and prose reading at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 22, at Keith House on the JCFS campus in Brasstown. 

Poets Mary Ricketson and Glenda Beall will be the featured readers, both of which are well-established poets in the mountain area.  

Beall’s poems, essays and short stories have been published in numerous literary journals and magazines including, Reunions Magazine, Main Street Rag Poetry Journal, Appalachian Heritage, Journal of Kentucky Studies and online, Your Daily Poem, Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, and Wild Goose Poetry Review. 

Her poems have been anthologized in The Southern Poetry anthology: Volume VII: North Carolina 2014, Lights in the Mountains, The Best of Poetry Hickory Series, 2011, Kakalak: North Carolina Poets of 2009, and Women’s Spaces, Women’s Places, among others. Her poems have won awards in the James Still Poetry Contest and the Clay County NC Poetry Contest.

Ricketson has been writing poetry 20 years. She is inspired by nature and her work as a mental health counselor. Her poetry has been published in Wild Goose Poetry Review, Future Cycle Press, Journal of Kentucky Studies, Kentucky Review, Lights in the Mountains, Echoes Across the Blue Ridge, Freeing Jonah, Red Fox Run, and her chapbook I Hear the River Call My Name. Her new collection of poetry, Hanging Dog Creek, was recently published by Future Cycle Press.  She is a Cherokee County representative to North Carolina Writers Network West, and president of Ridgeline Literary Alliance.

She won the gold medal for poetry in the 2011 Cherokee County Senior Games/Silver Arts and silver medal for 2012 and 2013, and first place in the 2011 Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest 75th anniversary national poetry contest.

The event is free and open to the public.


Discussion on effects of coal

Dr. Alan Lockwood will speak at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 28, at City Lights Bookstore in Sylva.

Lockwood is a professor emeritus of neurology and nuclear medicine at the University of Buffalo. He is the lead author of a Physicians for Social Responsibility report on coal’s adverse health effects that was the basis for his book The Silent Epidemic: Coal and the Hidden Threat to Health.  

The event is co-sponsored by WNC Physicians for Social Responsibility and The Canary Coalition. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 828.631.3447.



• The “Books On Tap” fundraiser will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 22, at Lazy Hiker Brewing Company in Franklin. Finger foods, 50/50 raffle, and more. Tickets are $25 per person in advance, $30 at the door. Tickets include two glasses of craft beer or two glasses of wine (soft drinks and water also available). Buy your tickets at the Friends of the Library Book Store, Macon County Public Library and Lazy Hiker Brewing Company. All proceeds benefit Macon County Public Library.

• Tim Barnwell follows up his popular book, Blue Ridge Parkway Vistas, with Great Smoky Mountains Vistas, which will be presented at 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 25, at Blue Ridge Books in Waynesville. In the new release, Barnwell combines panoramic photographs from overlooks in and around the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, aerial photographs of western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee, and articles on popular area attractions and activities to create this unique and comprehensive guidebook.

• Nancy McIntyre will read from and sign her novel Rush of River Over Rock at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 23, at City Lights Bookstore in Sylva. The book is the story of a part wolf/dog, found badly injured in the mountains of Western North Carolina, and the woman who gives him a home. McIntyre has lived in the mountains of North Carolina on and off all her life, always returning to them. She now lives in a small cabin with no electricity or running water, adjacent to the Black Mountain range. 828.586.9499.

• Katherine Soniat will read her latest collection of poetry at 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24, at City Lights Bookstore in Sylva. In her beguiling new collection, Bright Stranger, Soniat invites readers to celebrate the unfinished and unsure. The poems in this volume to not demand or offer certainty, existing instead in the spaces between the real and the imagined, between past, present and future. They explore the human connection with nature, contemplating loss in the erosion of rock spires and rebirth in the blossoming of an amaranth.

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