David Hopes, who earlier this year published The Falls of the Wyona, has announced the publication of a new novel. Set in Asheville in the 1980s, Night, Sleep, and the Dreams of Lovers tells the story of Charlie Ballard, Asheville’s vanished van Gogh, and TJ Gunn, his imperfect patron, in the days when the city we know now was being, blindly and hopefully, hammered into being.
In September, Father Abraham, a trilogy of plays by David Hopes, will be performed in Asheville. The first part of the trilogy, The Loves of Mr Lincoln, was produced in New York, but the other two, Earthly Power and The Testament of Major Rathbone, are being debuted. The plays will be read over three successive Saturdays, September 7, 14, and 21, beginning at 6 PM at A Block Off Broadway– the YMI Building on Eagle St. This is a FREE event, though seating is limited, so come early.
On August 24, Amanda Wray, in partnership with the Western North Carolina LGBTQ Oral History Project, hosted a training session on conducting oral histories with LGBTQ communities and their allies. The workshop focused on methodology and opportunities to participate.
A new play by David Hopes, IN THE ASSASSINS’ GARDEN, opened in June 2019 at the Magnetic Theatre in Asheville.
Amanda Wray’s LANG 354 students partnered with Mr. DeWayne Barton to produce interactive media for Burton Street Community Peace Gardens. The website can be viewed here. Started in 2003, the Burton Street Community Peace Gardens is “a sanctuary for positive action.” The space includes vegetable and flower gardens, a stage area, fire pit, and many sculptures, murals, and art installations. The ambition of the website is to make visitors’ experience in Burton Street Community Peace Gardens more interactive and informative.
The Falls of the Wyona, a coming-of-age novel by David Hopes, was awarded the Quill Prize for Fiction by Red Hen Press, which published the book in May 2019.
The YMCA of Western NC generously funded a grant proposal Dr. Amanda Wray wrote in collaboration with Dr. Rachel Muir of Blue Ridge Pride. The organization dedicated $6,000 to help transcribe interviews, and to develop a summer workshop for training community members in oral history methods. Grace Whittaker (English major), Libby Ward (Mass Communications major), and Corey Childers (Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies major) worked with Dr. Wray throughout Spring 2019 to launch a regional LGBTQ oral history and archival research project. More information about this project is available at Blue Ridge Pride.
In February 2019, Amanda Wray was interviewed by Blue Ridge Public Radio about collecting oral histories from members of the LGBTQ+ community. The interview is available for streaming here.
At the 2019 Appalachian Studies Association conference Erica Abrams Locklear won the Stephen L. Fisher Award for Excellence in Teaching award. At that same conference, two former UNC Asheville English majors (Britt DiBartolo and Zoe Bergmire-Sweat) and two current UNC Asheville English majors (Sara Williams and Claire Boyer) presented papers on a panel called “Literature as Resistance.”
Kirk Boyle edited the special issue, “Repeating Jameson?”, for the International Journal of Žižek Studies. Articles in the issue examine intersections between the work of literary critic Fredric Jameson and philosopher Slavoj Žižek, and include original pieces by each.
Taylor Sykes, currently working in the Writing Center and teaching LANG 120, was awarded a four-week fellowship for a summer 2019 residency at Vermont Studio Center