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Author Brett Lott speaks at Appalachian April 4

BOONE—The spring Hughlene Bostian Frank Visiting Writers Series at Appalachian State University hosts fiction writer and memoirist Brett Lott on Thursday, April 4.

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Lott will present the craft talk “Writing With So Great a Cloud of Witnesses” at 3:30 p.m. in Plemmons Student Union’s Table Rock Room. He will read from his work beginning at 7:30 p.m., also in Table Rock Room. Book sales and signing will follow each event. The public is welcome.

Lott is the bestselling author of 13 books, most recently the novel “Dead Low Tide,” (Random House 2012). Other books include the story collection “The Difference Between Women and Men,” the nonfiction book “Before We Get Started: A Practical Memoir of the Writer’s Life,” and the novels “Jewel,” an Oprah Book Club pick, and “A Song I Knew by Heart.”

His work has appeared in The Yale Review, The New York Times, The Georgia Review and in dozens of anthologies.

“Dead Low Tide” is a murder mystery set in South Carolina’s Lowcountry and is a sequel to “Hunt Country,” also set in South Carolina. “Jewel,” set in Mississippi in the 1940s, was inspired by his grandmother, who had six children, one who had Down Syndrome.

“I never intended to become an author,” Lott told an interviewer at the University of Mount Union. “I intended to become a park ranger.” He subsequently explored and rejected a series of careers from marine biologist to cola salesman and teacher.

“Looking back, I realize now that the process of becoming a writer was a major part of my life. I read everything as a child,” he said in the interview. “I was never thinking of the authors, though. I was enjoying the stories and thinking about the people in those stories.”

Born in Los Angeles, Lott received his B.A. in English from Cal State Long Beach in 1981, and his M.F.A. in fiction from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, in 1984, where he studied under James Baldwin.

From 1986 to 2004 he was writer-in-residence and professor of English at The College of Charleston, leaving to take the position of editor and director of the journal The Southern Review at Louisiana State University. Three years later, in the fall of 2007, he returned to The College of Charleston to teach.

His honors include being named Fulbright Senior American Scholar and writer-in-residence to Bar-Ilan University in Tel Aviv, Israel; speaking on Flannery O’Connor at The White House; and being appointed a member of the National Council on the Arts. He lives with his wife in Hanahan, S.C.

The spring Visiting Writers series is supported by the Appalachian State University Foundation, Appalachian’s Office of Academic Affairs, the College of Arts and Sciences, the Department of English, the University Bookstore, Belk Library and Information Commons and the Appalachian Journal. Business sponsors are The Gideon Ridge Inn and The Red Onion Restaurant. Community sponsors include John and Marjorie Idol, Paul and Judy Tobin, Alice Naylor, Thomas McLaughlin and The High Country Writers.

The Visiting Writers Series is named in honor of Hughlene Bostian Frank, class of 1968, a former member of Appalachian’s Board of Trustees and a generous supporter of the university.

Parking is free on campus after 5 p.m. The College Street parking deck adjacent to Belk Library and Information Commons opens to the public at 5:30 p.m. and provides the closest access to the student union.

For more parking information or a map, see http://parking.appstate.edu or call the Parking and Traffic Office 828-262-2878.

For further information on the spring season, call 828-262-2871 or see http://visitingwriters.appstate.edu. To receive Appalachian’s “This Week in the Arts” announcements by email, contact arts-events@appstate.edu.

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