WILSON, N.C. — October 8, 2019 — The Barton College Friends of Hackney Library and the Friends of the Wilson County Public Library are delighted to host author and educator Terry Roberts as the featured speaker for their collaborative Fall Dinner and Lecture, scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 29, in Hardy Alumni Hall on the campus of Barton College.
The evening will begin with a wine reception and book signing 6 p.m., followed by dinner and the program at 6:30 p.m. Books by the author will be sold during the book signing, as well as after the program, when Roberts, again, will be available for signing.
Admission to the event is $35 for all guests. For additional information about the event or to make reservations, please contact Ann Dolman, outreach and public services librarian for Hackney Library, at 252-399-6507 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for reservations is 5 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 21.
About the Author —
Despite his varied resume, Roberts is perhaps best known as the author of three works of fiction. His debut novel, “A Short Time to Stay Here” won the Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction, and his second novel, “That Bright Land,” won the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award as well as the James Still Award for Writing about the Appalachian South. Both novels won the annual Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Fiction, given to the author of the best novel written by a North Carolinian.
Roberts’ third and latest novel, “The Holy Ghost Speakeasy and Revival,” has also received a host of favorable reviews from fellow North Carolina writers and others alike: Author Ron Rash asserts that the book “contemplates complex questions of faith and morality in a world ripe with hypocrisy. Terry Roberts is an immensely gifted writer and he gets better with each book. Bravo!”
Poet and novelist Robert Morgan characterizes “[t]his ballad of a novel” as an “affectionate account of a charismatic evangelist and his devoted team. Part Elmer Gantry, part confidence man with a heart of gold, Jedidiah Robbins delights and surprises us in this Prohibition era romp of romance and moonshine, as impossible to resist as a Doc Watson solo. Rev. Robbins is haunted by the past, confronts the KKK, and though all too human at times, displays a bedrock of spirituality, and even makes friends with the Grim Reaper, in this picaresque narrative of loyalty and love in the mountains of North Carolina.”
Reviewer Glenn Dallas of The Manhattan Book Review describes Holy Ghost as “[j]oyous and melancholy all at once, haunting in its depth and confidence…. [it] feels like a leisurely train ride, even in the tense moments where lives, and souls, hang in the balance. I was absolutely blown away by it.”
Roberts’ fiction is grounded in his own family’s longstanding North Carolina roots. Born and raised near Weaverville, his direct ancestors have lived in the mountains of Western North Carolina since the time of the Revolutionary War. His family farmed in the Big Pine section of Madison County for generations and is also prominent in the Madison County town of Hot Springs, a consistent setting in his novels. Among his forebears are prominent bootleggers and preachers but no one who, like protagonist Jedidiah Robbins of Holy Ghost Speakeasy and Revival, combines both occupations.
In addition to his work in fiction, Roberts (a former high school English teacher) has served since 1992 as Director of the National Paideia Center in Asheville. Fascinated by the social and intellectual power of dialogue to teach and to inspire, he is the lead author of several Paideia publications, including “The Power of Paideia Schools,” “The Paideia Classroom,” and “Teaching Thinking through Dialogue.”
Roberts holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of North Carolina at Asheville (where he also later taught in the English Department), a Master of Arts in Teaching degree from Duke University, and a Ph.D. in American and Southern Literature from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He lives in Asheville with his wife, Lynn. They have three children: Jesse, Margaret, and Henry.
(Photo by R.L. Roberts)