07/29/14 — Tickets available Friday for Reading Between the Wines

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Tickets available Friday for Reading Between the Wines

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on July 29, 2014 1:46 PM

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Michael Malone will be one of the featured writers at Literacy Connections' Reading Between the Wines event Sept. 27.

Wayne County residents will have a chance to meet two famous North Carolina authors and to help their neighbors at the same time this September.

Two North Carolina writers will read some of their works and talk about their craft during Reading Between the Wines, a fundraiser for Literacy Connections, an organization that teaches adults how to read.

The event is set for Sept. 27 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the historic Faison-Thomas home of Betty Duncan and Dave Ham at 705 Park Ave.

In addition to giving participants the opportunity to meet author Michael Malone and author and poet Ruth Moose, Reading Between the Wines also will feature an evening of wine and heavy hors d'oeuvres.

Participants will have the chance to sample all kinds of wines chosen by local wine expert Bob Crenshaw of HealthHabit. Refreshments will be provided by some of Wayne County's best cooks.

But the highlight of the evening will be presentations by Malone and Ms. Moose.

Malone is a North Carolina writer, who has lived a lot of other places, but like most Southerners, still thinks of himself as a Southern writer.

"I'm going to talk about that sense of place among Southern writers," he said.

He has taught at Duke for the past 10 years, and before that at Yale and the University of Pennsylvania.

He currently lives in Hillsborough.

"In Hillsborough, there are so many other Southern writers," Malone said. "You can swing a dead chicken and knock over 10 of them. It's this sense of community that writers are always searching for."

Although Malone is primarily a novelist, he has also written plays and short story collections. But local residents might also know him for another of the famous stories he has penned -- for TV soap operas "One Life to Live" and "Another World."

Malone said Reading Between the Wines is the perfect setting for his presentation.

"I want to talk about how our experience of story has become privatized and solitary," he said. "People used to sit around together and read out loud. There's a wonderful scene in 'Gone With The Wind' where the women are sitting around reading 'David Copperfield' together. That's less true today."

Malone said although there are book clubs these days, there's still largely an absence of the communal act of reading, the communal act of going to stage productions and sitting around watching TV shows together.

He said people today watch a whole TV series on their laptop all alone.

"I'm guilty of that myself," Malone said. "I want to talk about what we have lost. It connects to the question of literacy. One of the reasons for the incredible success of an author like Charles Dickens was the time he was writing was a time when more and more people were learning to read, and adults were learning to read."

When he was writing for "One Life to Live," Malone did a story about adult literacy and the shame people can feel if they can't read.

"We did a great deal of research and talked to a lot of advocacy group to improve literacy and also talked to a lot of adults who learned to read as an adult," he said. "It's something they tried to hide because they were embarrassed. They carried books even though they didn't know how to read them. There's no reason why this country can't solve this loss for everybody in this population."

Malone said reading enlarges people's lives and teaches them to be tolerant of differences.

"It's a great gift to this species to be able to read," he said.

Ms. Moose is originally from Albemarle and lives in Pittsboro.

She recently retired from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, after teaching creative writing there since l996. Her poems and stories have appeared in such publications as Atlantic Monthly, Redbook, Prairie Schooner, Yankee, The Nation and the Christian Science Monitor. Her work has been published in England, Holland, South Africa and Denmark.

She received a McDowell Colony Fellowship and, in 2008, a Chapman Fellowship for teaching.

Ms. Moose will read some of her poetry from her book of poems, "The Librarian." Some of them are grief poems dealing with the death of her husband. Others are persona poems.

Ms. Moose has published six books of poetry and three books of short stories.

And she is not finished yet.

Ms. Moose continues to write and to teach since her retirement in 2010.

At Reading Between the Wines, she will talk about her first novel that was 25 years in the making, "Doing it at the Dixie Dew: A Mystery."

In the novel, Beth McKenzie's wealthy first guest at her bed and breakfast, The Dixie Dew, arrives in a pricey sports car and leaves in a hearse.

So, it is up to Beth to find the real killer when the clueless two-man police force in her small Southern town names her as the prime suspect in the murder.

"I did the novel 25 years ago, and it took this long to get it published," she said. "I kept tinkering with it, revising it and all kinds of stuff."

But being patient paid off as the book won her a $10,000 prize as winner of the 2013 Minotaur Books/Malice Domestic Competition for Best First Traditional Mystery Novel.

"At Reading Between the Wines, I will talk about how short stories and poetry are good training for writing a novel," Ms. Moose said.

She will follow her presentation with a question and answer period, and will also have copies of her book available for purchase, which she will also autograph.

Tickets for the event are $60, and will go on sale Aug. 1 at the Wayne County Public Library.

For more information, call Literacy Connections at 919-735-1880.