Dalton State Welcomes Author Sharyn McCrumb


Regional award-winning author Sharyn McCrumb will speak at Dalton State on Tuesday, November 9, in the Goodroe Auditorium of Memorial Hall on campus. The event begins at 7:30 pm and is free and open to the public.

Best known for her Appalachian “ballad” novels, McCrumb has earned several honors, including the Wilma Dykeman Award for Regional Historical Literature, the Chaffin Award for Achievement in Southern Literature, and the Appalachian Writers Association Outstanding Contribution to Appalachian Literature Award. Several of her novels have spent weeks on the New York Times best-sellers list.

She Walks These Hills, The Rosewood Casket, and The Ballad of Frankie Silver are among those novels that reflect the Appalachian ballad motif.

 “My books are like Appalachian quilts,” says Sharyn McCrumb. “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.”

Both She Walks These Hills and The Rosewood Casket deal with the issue of the vanishing wilderness in the mountains of East Tennessee and North Carolina. The Ballad of Frankie Silver is the story of the first woman hanged for murder in the state of North Carolina; The Songcatcher is a genealogy in music; and Ghost Riders is an account of the Civil War in the Appalachian mountains.

A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, McCrumb received a master’s degree in English from Virginia Tech. Her great-grandfathers were circuit preachers in North Carolina’s Smoky Mountains more than a century ago, and she credits her family’s long history in the region for forming the background for her work.

“I find that the more I write, the more fascinated I become with the idea of the land as an intricate element in the lives of the mountain people and of the past as prologue for any contemporary narrative,” she has said. “This connection to the land is personal as well as thematic.”

McCrumb is also known for her “NASCAR” novels, which include St. Dale and Once Around the Track. St. Dale, modeled loosely after Geoffrey Chaucer’s masterpiece The Canterbury Tales, tells the story of a group of ordinary people who go on a pilgrimage in honor of racing legend Dale Earnhardt and who discover a miracle in the process.

St. Dale won the 2006 Book of the Year Award from the Appalachian Writers Association and also received the Library of Virginia People’s Choice Award. Once Around the Track, which also was set in NASCAR country, was nominated for the Weatherford Award.

For more information about the lecture, please call 706-272-4469.