BOONE, N.C.—The Hughlene Bostian Frank Visiting Writers Series at Appalachian State University will resume with two presentations by Jeremy B. Jones, an award-winning writer of creative nonfiction.
Jones is both a frequently published essayist and the author of “Bearwallow: A Personal History of a Mountain Homeland” (John F. Blair Publisher, 2014), which won the 2014 Appalachian Book of the Year in nonfiction and was awarded a gold medal in the 2015 Independent Publisher Book of the Year Awards in memoir.
Nathan Poole, now an assistant professor of creative writing at the University of South Alabama, recommended Jones for the series during the last academic year, when Poole was teaching at Appalachian. Poole called Jones “a writer who interrogates place with nuance and integrity.”
Jones “gives himself over to his subjects,…using prose that is rhythmic and full of allusion,” Poole said. “He does this all the while undergoing that equally important project of the imagination, what [Mikhail] Bakhtin [a Russian literary theorist,] called ‘artistic consummation,’ wherein we enter ‘the other,’ be it a place or a person, as if on a quest, and we return bearing fresh insights and powers, our life enhanced. That’s how it feels to read his work.”
A graduate of Elon University and Iowa University, Jones teaches creative writing at Western Carolina University. During his craft talk, titled “Landbound: Non-Fiction Writing about Place,” Jones said he will “look at writers who unearth the many layers of places in order to offer readers insights about the messy, miraculous world we inhabit.”
During his reading, Jones will read from “Bearwallow” and other works, in addition to answering questions. The reading’s “Bearwallow” portions will feature Jones performing on his banjo – a reminder that parts of “Bearwallow” explore the history of that instrument. The banjo figures prominently in the culture of the Blue Ridge Mountains, where Jones grew up. He is a native of Henderson County, near Asheville.
The inspiration for “Bearwallow” began to take hold in 2005 when Jones spent a year teaching ESL at the elementary school he attended as a child. He had just returned from Honduras, where he had taught fourth grade at a bilingual school in Honduras.
“Bearwallow” is “bigger than a traditional memoir in its scope,” Jones said. “I’m trying to explore not only my past but the past of this place, to sort out the identity of the place from which I come.
“Because so much of the book is exploring how we are shaped by a place, I wanted to dive fully back into these moments that shaped me,” Jones said. “A writer whom I love and who has been a teacher and a kind of mentor for me for over a decade is Jo Ann Beard, and she talks about ‘re-imagining memories onto the page.’ I tried to do this work, to lift the memories up in all of the sensory details before putting them back on the page.”
The Fall 2017 Hughlene Bostian Frank Visiting Writers Series is supported by the Appalachian State University Foundation Inc., Appalachian’s Office of Academic Affairs, College of Arts and Sciences, Department of English, Office of Multicultural Student Development, University Bookstore, Belk Library and Information Commons, and the Appalachian Journal. Business sponsors are The Gideon Ridge Inn, The Red Onion Restaurant and The New Public House & Hotel. Community sponsors include John and the late Margie Idol, Paul and Judy Tobin, Alice Naylor and Thomas McLaughlin.
About the Hughlene Bostian Frank Visiting Writers Series
The Hughlene Bostian Frank Visiting Writers Series, named in honor of alumna Hughlene Bostian Frank ’68, brings distinguished and up-and-coming creative writers to the Appalachian State University campus throughout the year to present lectures and discuss their works. Frank is a 2013 Appalachian Alumni Association Outstanding Service award recipient, past member of Appalachian’s Board of Trustees, current board member of the Appalachian State University Foundation Inc., and generous supporter of Appalachian. Learn more at http://visitingwriters.appstate.edu.
About Appalachian State University
Appalachian State University, in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The transformational Appalachian experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and embrace diversity and difference. As one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina system, Appalachian enrolls about 19,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.