BOONE, N.C. — The spring 2020 Hughlene Bostian Frank Visiting Writers Series at Appalachian State University will feature four acclaimed authors — novelist Kayla Rae Whitaker, poets Nickole Brown and Jacinta V. White, and nonfiction writer Graham Hoppe — who will read from and discuss their work with the Appalachian Community.
Additionally, each author will lead a talk on the craft of writing — talks that provide aspiring writers with examples on how to refine their writing techniques, develop sounder work habits and gain a greater appreciation of the writing process.
Whitaker, who served as the Rachel Rivers-Coffey (RRC) Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing at Appalachian in fall 2019, returns to campus as the first author to appear in the series.
“I’m excited to have Kayla Whitaker return and to strengthen ties between the RRC professorship and the Visiting Writers Series,” said Mark Powell, director of the series and associate professor of creative writing in Appalachian’s Department of English.
“The Rachel Rivers-Coffey Professorship allows students to interact with working writers beyond those who are part of the Department of English faculty. It’s an incredible opportunity not only to focus on the craft of writing but to make connections with the larger literary world,” Powell explained.
Dr. Kathryn Kirkpatrick, poet and professor in Appalachian’s Department of English, commented on the “beautiful and brave poems” of Brown, the second author to appear in the series.
“She (Brown) addresses issues of social class, gender, sexuality and speciesism, quite often in the same poem,” Kirkpatrick said. “The connections she makes are powerfully illuminating: How does the domination and abuse of other animals echo in the exploitation and domination of women? Her poems of witness don’t stop at the borders of the human. She’s fearless in giving a voice to the suffering of other animals.”
White, author of “Resurrecting the Bones: Born from a Journey through African American Churches & Cemeteries in the Rural South” (Press 53, 2019), will give the annual Juanita Tobin Annual Memorial Reading as part of the spring series, which honors the memory of Tobin — a Blowing Rock poet who died in 2007 at age 91. Tobin’s papers are housed in the Special Collections Research Center of Appalachian’s Belk Library and Information Commons.
“With a voice drawing its energy from an underrepresented perspective of religion and the black female body politic, Jacinta V. White offers the sharp notes of history, victimhood and subjugation as a testament to the visceral injuries upon the backs and spirits of generations of African Americans,” said Jaki Shelton Green, current poet laureate of North Carolina.
Green described White’s “Resurrecting the Bones” as a “divining rod” that guides readers “past shores where ancestral ghosts have forgotten their names but still manage to write themselves home in between all the expressive lines in this collection.”
In “Gone Dollywood: Dolly Parton’s Mountain Dream” (Ohio University Press, 2018), Hoppe, the series’ concluding author, “blends tourism, public history and personal reflection into an interrogation of Southern American identity,” according to the publisher’s website.
William Ferris, author of “The South in Color: A Visual Journal” and professor emeritus of history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said, “‘Gone Dollywood’ is a landmark study. Graham Hoppe eloquently explains why Dollywood draws thousands of visitors each year and captures East Tennessee worlds in significant ways. This fine book, like Dolly Parton, will touch the heart of its readers.”
The spring 2020 Hughlene Bostian Frank Visiting Writing Series, held on Appalachian’s main campus, is co-presented by the university’s Appalachian Journal: A Regional Studies Review and is dedicated to the memory of alumna Hughlene Bostian Frank ’68, for whom the series is named, and her husband, William “Bill” Frank. The Franks passed away in a home fire in Greensboro in spring 2019.
Frank was a 2013 Appalachian Alumni Association Outstanding Service Award recipient and past member of Appalachian’s Board of Trustees and the Appalachian State University Foundation, as well as a generous supporter of Appalachian. She also served as a member on the College of Arts and Sciences Advancement Council and the Beaver College of Health Sciences Advisory Council.
Admission to all series events is free and open to the public. Book sales and signing will follow the talks and the readings.
Parking on Appalachian’s campus is free after 5 p.m. Convenient parking for series attendees is located in the College Street Parking Deck next to Belk Library and Information Commons (from King Street, turn down College Street at the First Baptist Church). To reach the Plemmons Student Union, cross College Street and follow the walkway between the chiller plant and the University Bookstore, passing the Post Office and entering the union on the second floor. For further parking information or a map, visit parking.appstate.edu.
Spring 2020 schedule
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About the Department of English
The Department of English at Appalachian State University is committed to outstanding work in the classroom, the support and mentorship of students, and a dynamic engagement with culture, history, language, theory and literature. The department offers master’s degrees in English and rhetoric and composition, as well as undergraduate degrees in literary studies, film studies, creative writing, professional writing and English education. Learn more at https://english.appstate.edu.
About the College of Arts and Sciences
The College of Arts and Sciences is home to 16 academic departments, one stand-alone academic program, two centers and one residential college. These units span the humanities and the social, mathematical and natural sciences. The College of Arts and Sciences aims to develop a distinctive identity built upon our university's strengths, traditions and unique location. The college’s values lie not only in service to the university and local community, but through inspiring, training, educating and sustaining the development of its students as global citizens. There are approximately 6,100 student majors in the college. As the college is also largely responsible for implementing Appalachian's general education curriculum, it is heavily involved in the education of all students at the university, including those pursuing majors in other colleges. Learn more at https://cas.appstate.edu.
About Appalachian State University
As the premier public undergraduate institution in the state of North Carolina, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The 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 to embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian enrolls more than 19,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.