Sharyn McCrumb to Speak at Friends of Hackney Library Spring Dinner and Lecture on April 1

Deadline for reservations is Monday, March 24.

WILSON, N.C. — The Barton College Friends of Hackney Library will welcome award-winning Southern writer Sharyn McCrumb as the featured speaker for its Spring Dinner and Lecture on Tuesday, April 1. The event, to be held in Hardy Alumni Hall on campus, will begin at 6 p.m. with a wine reception and book signing, followed at 7 p.m. by the dinner and program. The author’s books will be sold at the book signing and following the program. This event is sponsored in part by BB&T.

Reservations are required. Tickets for the dinner event are $35 per person, with reservations accepted through Monday, March 24. Members of the Barton College Friends of Hackney Library may reserve tickets for $30 per person. Table reservations must be for a total of eight persons. Space is limited, and the Friends are encouraging those interested in attending to make their reservations as early as possible. Please contact Luann Clark at 399-6329 or the Friends at for reservation information.

McCrumb is best known for her Appalachian “Ballad” novels, set in the North Carolina/Tennessee mountains, including the New York Times bestsellers “She Walks These Hills,” “The Rosewood Casket,” “The Ballad of Frankie Silver,” and “The Ballad of Tom Dooley,” which examines the true story behind the legendary folk song made famous by the Kingston Trio.

According to an article in “Contemporary Authors, New Revision Series,” McCrumb was an early fan of books. The article notes, “A voracious reader even as a child, McCrumb was seven when she knew that she wanted to be a writer. Reading a book a day nurtured an early love for storytelling, a trait that ran in her family.” McCrumb attributes her own writing success to these ancestors. According to her web site, “[her] great-grandfathers were circuit preachers in North Carolina’s Smoky Mountains a hundred years ago, riding horseback over the ridges to preach in a different community each week. It is from them, she says, that she gets her regard for books, her gift of storytelling and public speaking, and her love of the Appalachian Mountains.”

“My books are like Appalachian quilts,” McCrumb further explains. “I take brightly colored scraps of legends, ballads, fragments of rural life, and local tragedy, and I piece them together into a complex whole that tells not only a story, but also a deeper truth about the culture of the mountain South.”

Sharyn McCrumb’s latest Ballad novel, “King’s Mountain,” was published in September 2013 by St. Martin’s Press. Her web site summarizes her newest book as telling “…the story of the Overmountain Men, a group of unpaid volunteers from the southern Appalachians, who fought the Revolutionary War battle at King’s Mountain, just west of Charlotte, N.C. George Washington’s Continental Army was losing the war in the north, and the victory of the Overmountain Men renewed the colonist’s optimism for the cause. Thomas Jefferson called it the turning point of the war.”

The Overmountain Men included such colonial heavyweights as John Sevier, first governor of Tennessee; Isaac Shelby, first governor of Kentucky; William Campbell, brother-in-law of Virginia governor Patrick Henry; John Crockett, father of frontiersman Davy Crockett; David Vance, grandfather of North Carolina’s Civil War governor Zebulon B. Vance; plus Jonathan Tipton, the seven-times great-grandfather of McCrumb.

In addition to the Ballad novels, McCrumb has also written a variety of contemporary novels, including the NASCAR novels, the Elizabeth MacPherson novels, the comedic Jay Omega novels, plus a short story collection and numerous pieces of short fiction and nonfiction.

McCrumb’s novels have been studied in universities throughout the world and have been translated into eleven languages, including French, German, Dutch, Japanese, Arabic, and Italian. She has lectured on her work at Oxford University, the University of Bonn-Germany, and at the Smithsonian Institution; taught a writers workshop in Paris; and served as writer-in-residence at King College in Tennessee and at the Chautauqua Institute in western New York. She is the subject of the book “From A Race of Storytellers: The Ballad Novels of Sharyn McCrumb,” edited by Kimberley M. Holloway (Mercer University Press, 2005).

McCrumb has garnered numerous awards for her work, including the Wilma Dykeman Award for Literature; the Sherwood Anderson Short Story Award; the Appalachian Writers Association’s Outstanding Contribution to Appalachian Literature Award, as well as several of their Best Appalachian Novel awards; the Chaffin Award for Achievement in Southern Literature; and the Plattner Award for Best Appalachian Short Story.

She was the first writer-in-residence at King College in Tennessee. In 2005, she was honored as the Writer of the Year at Emory & Henry College. The Library of Virginia named Sharyn McCrumb one of Virginia’s eight Women of History for 2008. In 2011, she received the Perry F. Kendig Award for Literary Arts from the Arts Council of the Blue Ridge of southwest Virginia. And, several of her novels have been designated “New York Times” and “Los Angeles Times” Notable Books.