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Bestselling author to visit Columbia County Library

Posted: April 11, 2015 - 11:12pm  |  Updated: April 13, 2015 - 2:52pm
Mayes
Mayes

 

When Natalie Gibson begins the researching and recruiting authors to speak at the Columbia County Library, she brings in writers with different perspectives and genres.

This time around, the library’s reference services manager says she has discovered that abundance of perspective in a single author.

On April 23, the library will feature the multi-faceted Frances Mayes, best known for writing the novel on the New York Times’ bestseller list Under the Tuscan Sun, which has since been made into a major motion picture.

“I am interested in hearing her speak because she writes on so many topics – memoirs, cookbooks, travel, poetry,” Gibson said. “She has a wider variety of work than we typically have had.”

Mayes, a native of Fitzgerald, Ga., will be discussing her writing career, with a particular focus on the paperback publication of her latest work, Under Magnolia: A Southern Memoir. Formerly a professor of creative writing at San Francisco State University, Mayes is now a full-time author.

The event, which beigns at 7 p.m., is part of an effort to bring in both Georgia authors and national authors. Gibson said that she and her staff members try to have events with a local writer every quarter and from one well-renowned author once a year. Past speakers have included Nicholas Sparks (The Notebook, Dear John), Kathy Reichs (Bones series), Charlaine Harris (The Southern Vampire Mysteries series that was adapted into the television show Trueblood), young adult writer Gary Paulsen (Hatchet series), and Augusta native Virginia Willis (numerous cookbooks and work with Food Network).

Mary Lin Maner, the library director for the Greater Clarks Hill Regional Library System, said that she enjoys being able to give Columbia County residents the chance to meet the authors who have captivated them with their stories.

“They’re just star-struck sometimes,” Maner said. “They’ll have all of their books and want them autographed. They’ll just want to touch the author and make sure (the experience) is real. For a lot of people, it’s a chance in a lifetime meeting.”

She said that the library has been extremely fortunate that the authors have been generous and engaging.
For these events, the library partners with The Book Tavern, a local downtown bookstore. The store carries selections from the featured authors. David Hutchison, owner of the Broad Street bookstore, has worked alongside the Columbia County Library on the events.

“They have definitely showed great generosity towards us,” he said. “Their desire to support the local independent economy is what caused them to include us.”

Hutchison said that making money as a result of the authors’ visit is not the primary goal. He noted that, through the process of bringing the books in and dealing with returns, the store might make a couple dollars on every book sold.

It’s all about cultivating the literary scene locally, he said.

“(Having the speakers) raises the profile of literature in the city,” he said. “It helps to develop the opportunities for writers. Obviously, if we have a lot of authors coming here, there are more opportunities for authors who are here to interact with them... Literary events draw readers and writers together.”

Hutchison expects 2015 to be a big year for literary events. Georgia Regents University will serve as host to both the Third Annual Writers Weekend at Summerville (April 16-18, with keynote address by 2014 National Book Award winner Phil Klay); and the Georgia Literary Festival in November.

For information about Mayes, visit francesmayesbooks.com.­

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