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Author Susan Rivers to speak Sept. 7, proceeds support University Libraries’ Student Employee Scholarship Program

By Lynn Patterson

BOONE, N.C.—Back by popular demand, the University Libraries at Appalachian State University will sponsor “A Novel Experience” fundraising dinner on Thursday, Sept. 7, at 6:30 p.m. at the Blowing Rock Country Club in Blowing Rock. The event speaker will be award- winning playwright Susan Rivers.

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Rivers’ debut novel, “The Second Mrs. Hockaday,” is about a teenage bride who must do whatever it takes to survive during the Civil War. Through a narrative that unfolds in letters, diary entries and inquest reports, “The Second Mrs. Hockaday” brings to life the story of 17-year-old Placidia, who marries a Confederate soldier in haste and is, only days later, left alone to care for his two-year-old child and manage, run and defend his isolated 300-acre farm in rural South Carolina.

In a starred review, Booklist calls the novel a “white-knuckle tale of survival” and states, “With language evocative of the South and taut, almost unbearable suspense, dramatized by characters readers will swear they know, this galvanizing historical portrait of courage, determination, and abiding love mesmerizes and shocks.”

Rivers successfully tackles in this first work these questions and more while illustrating what many Southern women endured during the Civil War. American author Diane Chamberlain called “The Second Mrs. Hockaday” spellbinding and haunting; novelist Hillary Jordan said, “Rivers is an unflinching truth teller. Her characters are deeply human, drawn with compassion and exquisite detail.”

Rivers was awarded the Julie Harris Playwriting Award for “Overnight Lows” and the New York Drama League Award for “Understatements.” She is also the recipient of two playwriting grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. Rivers is a finalist for the 2017 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize. She earned her MFA from Queens University of Charlotte, where she was also awarded a Regional Artist Grant from the Arts and Sciences Council. She currently lives and writes in a small town in upstate South Carolina.

Tickets are $75 each with part of the proceeds going to support the University Libraries’ Student Employee Scholarship Program. For more information, contact Lynn Patterson at 828-262-2087.

Copies of “The Second Mrs. Hockaday” are available in the University Bookstore and will be on sale at the event.

About University Libraries

University Libraries at Appalachian State University contributes to the campus mission of learning, teaching, advancing knowledge, engagement and effectiveness. Belk Library and Information Commons along with the Nicholas Erneston Music Library provide academic resources for all students and faculty. Within the library, students and faculty find group and quiet study spaces, the Digital Media Studio, the inspire lab, the Idea Factory, digital devices to check out, and special collections such as the W.L. Eury Appalachian Collection and Instructional Materials Center. Learn more at

About Appalachian State University

Appalachian State University, in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The transformational Appalachian experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and embrace diversity and difference. As one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina system, Appalachian enrolls about 18,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.