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Author Panel with Molly Dektar, Elizabeth Chiles Shelburne, and Carter Sickels
July 11, 2020 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pmFREE
Join us for a panel discussion with debut authors Elizabeth Chiles Shelburne and Molly Dektar, and Carter Sickels. Get your copies of Holding On To Nothing, The Ash Family, and The Prettiest Star at Scupperong Books!
HOW TO WATCH
Meeting ID: 860 3238 6749
ELIZABETH CHILES SHELBURNE, Holding On To Nothing
Lucy Kilgore has her bags packed for her escape from her rural Tennessee upbringing, but a drunken mistake forever tethers her to the town and one of its least-admired residents, Jeptha Taylor, who becomes the father of her child. Together, these two young people work to form a family, though neither has any idea how to accomplish that, and the odds are against them in a place with little to offer other than tobacco fields, a bluegrass bar, and a Walmart full of beer and firearms for the hunting season. Their path is harrowing, but Lucy and Jeptha are characters to love, and readers will root for their success in a novel so riveting that no one will want to turn out the light until they know whether this family will survive.
In luminous prose, debut novelist Elizabeth Chiles Shelburne brings us a present-day Appalachian story in the tradition of Lee Smith, Silas House, and Wiley Cash, cast without sentiment or cliché, but with a genuine and profound understanding of the place and its people.
Elizabeth Chiles Shelburne grew up reading, writing, and shooting in East Tennessee. After graduating from Amherst College, she became a writer and a staff editor at The Atlantic Monthly. Her nonfiction work has been published in The Atlantic Monthly, Boston Globe, Boston Magazine, and GlobalPost, among others. She is a graduate of Grub Street’s MFA-level Novel Incubator program, under Michelle Hoover and Lisa Borders, where Holding On To Nothing was workshopped. She lives in Cambridge, MA with her husband and four kids aged eight and under, any one of whom will be the death of her, depending on the day.
MOLLY DEKTAR, The Ashe Family
When a young woman leaves her family—and the civilized world—to join an off-the-grid community headed by an enigmatic leader, she discovers that belonging comes with a deadly cost, in this lush and searing debut novel.
At nineteen, Berie encounters a seductive and mysterious man at a bus station near her home in North Carolina. Shut off from the people around her, she finds herself compelled by his promise of a new life. He ferries her into a place of order and chaos: the Ash Family farm. There, she joins an intentional community living off the fertile land of the mountains, bound together by high ideals and through relationships she can’t untangle. Berie—now renamed Harmony—renounces her old life and settles into her new one on the farm. She begins to make friends. And then they start to disappear.
Thrilling and profound, The Ash Family explores what we will sacrifice in the search for happiness, and the beautiful and grotesque power of the human spirit as it seeks its ultimate place of belonging.
Molly Dektar is from North Carolina and lives in Brooklyn. A graduate of Brooklyn College’s MFA program and Harvard College, she is the recipient of the Dakin Fellowship from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and the Brooklyn College Scholarship for Fiction. At Harvard, she was the recipient of the Louis Begley Fiction Prize. The Ash Family is her first novel.
CARTER SICKELS, The Prettiest Star
Small-town Appalachia doesn’t have a lot going for it, but it’s where Brian is from, where his family is, and where he’s chosen to return to die. Six short years after Brian Jackson moved to New York City in search of freedom and acceptance, AIDS has claimed his lover, his friends, and his future. With nothing left in New York but memories of death, Brian decides to write his mother a letter asking to come back to the place, and family, he was once so desperate to escape. The Prettiest Star is told in a chorus of voices: Brian’s mother Sharon; his fourteen-year-old sister, Jess, as she grapples with her brother’s mysterious return; and the video diaries Brian makes to document his final summer.
This is an urgent story about the politics and fragility of the body, of sex, and shame. Above all, Carter Sickels’s stunning novel explores the bounds of family and redemption. It is written at the far reaches of love and understanding, centering on the moments where those two forces stretch toward each other and sometimes touch
Carter Sickels is the author of the novel The Prettiest Star, forthcoming with Hub City Press in 2020. His debut novel The Evening Hour (Bloomsbury 2012), an Oregon Book Award finalist and a Lambda Literary Award finalist, was adapted into a feature film that premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. His essays and fiction have appeared in a variety of publications, including Oxford American, Poets & Writers, BuzzFeed, Guernica, and the Bellevue Literary Review. Carter is the recipient of the 2013 Lambda Literary Emerging Writer Award, and earned fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the MacDowell Colony. He is an assistant professor of English at Eastern Kentucky University.