Terry Roberts (photo credit: R. L. Roberts)
The 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 at their next joint book signing, dinner, and lecture, scheduled for Tuesday, October 29, 2019, in Hardy Alumni Hall on the Barton College campus.
The book signing will be held from 6:00-6:30 pm outside Hardy Alumni (weather permitting), with dinner inside at 6:30 pm, followed by the program immediately after. Books by the author will be sold during the book signing as well as after the program, when Roberts will be available to autograph them.
Despite his varied resume, Terry 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 (himself a past Friends of Hackney Library guest speaker) 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.”
Terry Roberts’ fiction is grounded in his own family’s longstanding North Carolina roots. Born and raised near Weaverville, North Carolina, 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, North Carolina (which describes itself as “helping teachers lead students in critical thinking and civil dialogue”). 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 BA from the University of North Carolina at Asheville (where he also later taught in the English Department), an MAT from Duke University, and a PhD in American and Southern Literature from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He lives in Asheville, North Carolina with his wife, Lynn; they have three children: Jesse, Margaret, and Henry.
Admission to the event is $35 for all guests. Invitations will be mailed in September 2019; they will also be available for pickup at both Hackney Library and the Wilson County Public Library. The deadline for reservations is 5:00 pm on Monday, October 21, 2019.
We hope you will join us on October 29 for an entertaining evening with Terry Roberts.