From Mark Twain to William Faulkner, from Flannery O’Connor to Fannie Flagg, a vast chorus of voices has sung (or drawled) in all possible keys about the wonders and oddities of Southern culture and history. Grace Episcopal Church invites the community to interact with a current member of that provocative choir on Feb. 28, when author and Grace parishioner, Susan Gregg Gilmore, signs books at a reception in her honor from 5-7 p.m. in the Ruth and Leon Balch Reading Room.
Ms. Gilmore writes fiction set in familiar territory to most of us – Ringgold, Sequatchie County and Nashville – and which documents Southerners’ heroic virtues, hilarious peculiarities, and challenging issues. Her novels Funeral Dress, The Improper Life of Bezellia Grove and Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen will resonate with those who have lived in the region and have both the warm hearts and the psychic scars to prove it; not only does she present amusing portraits of individuals but also manages to show frankly some uncomfortable truths underlying matters of race, social strata, illusion, and the value of community in the course of her story-telling.
Ms. Gilmore grew up in Nashville, the child of an artistic mother and father who was a gifted raconteur, having been raised by a revival-bred preacher. She reported for the University of Virginia’s newspaper before graduating with a degree in history and taking a secretarial job for the Smithsonian Institution; she later earned a Master of Arts Degree in American Studies from the University of Texas. She and her husband have raised three daughters, and she has participated fully in the culture of Southern motherhood, baking cookies for bake sales, teaching Sunday School, and chairing fundraisers. At some point, her taste for history and affection for the South and its singular flavor, led her to attempt a screenplay, which turned into a novel. With three works of fiction currently in publication, she is now working on a fourth work, which will be a historical novel.
There is no charge for the event. Copies of Ms. Gilmore’s books will be available during the event through the church’s bookstore.
For more information, call 423 243-3257 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.