Joshi­lyn Jack­son to speak at li­brary

Jack­son au­thor of ‘Gods of Alabama’

The Covington News - - LOCAL NEWS -

The Friends of the Li­brary in­vites the com­mu­nity to hear au­thor Joshi­lyn Jack­son speak in the meet­ing room at the li­brary at 7 p.m. Mon­day, Aug. 20.

Jack­son’s best­selling de­but novel “Gods in Alabama” won the South­ern In­de­pen­dent Book­sell­ers Al­liance’s 2005 novel of the year award and was a No. 1 Book­Sense pick. “Be­tween, Ge­or­gia” was also a No. 1 Book­Sense pick, mak­ing Jack­son the first au­thor in Book­Sense his­tory to re­ceive No. 1 sta­tus in back to back years. Jack­son read the au­dio ver­sion of “Be­tween, Ge­or­gia” and won a Lis­ten Up award from Pub­lisher’s Weekly and made Au­diofile’s Best of 2006 list. Both books were cho­sen for the Books-A-Mil­lion Book Club. Her third novel “The Girl Who Stopped Swim­ming” will be pub­lished in March 2008.

Joshi­lyn, a south­erner, lives out­side of At­lanta with her hus­band, their two chil­dren, a dog and a 23-pound Maine Coon cat. She dropped out of col­lege to pur­sue a ca­reer as an ac­tor, work­ing in re­gional reper­toire and trav­el­ing the south­ern third of the coun­try with a din­ner theatre troupe. She soon re­al­ized she pre­ferred writ­ing plays to act­ing in them.

She re­turned to col­lege, at­tend­ing Ge­or­gia State and ma­jor­ing in English lit­er­a­ture, fo­cus­ing on mod­ern and me­dieval theater. Grad­u­at­ing with hon­ors, she then moved to Chicago and earned a mas­ter’s in English from the Univer­sity of Illi­nois at Chicago. While at the Univer­sity of Illi­nois, she taught English, in her words, “try­ing to ex­plain the func- tion of the gerund and why Moby Dick is a great book to crowds of hung-over 18 year olds.” She won the Stu­dent’s Choice Award for Best English In­struc­tor in her first year of teach­ing.

Jack­son ad­mits to be­ing a ra­bid fan of south­ern fiction, es­pe­cially Flan­nery O’Con­ner, William Faulkner, Eu­dora Welty and Lee Smith.

“But I can’t read them when I am work­ing — a truly great south­ern book like ‘To Kill a Mock­ing­bird’ can put me on the floor, foam­ing and bit­ing the car­pet, and yelling ‘Why, Lord, Why! Why do I even try to write when Harper Lee al­ready said ev­ery­thing worth say­ing per­fectly,’ said Jack­son.

“Gods in Alabama” is the story of Ar­lene Fleet. She left a small town in Alabama to go to col­lege, vow­ing never to re­turn. She made God three prom­ises if God would make sure the body of the high school quar­ter­back would never be found. Ten years later, ques­tions are raised by an old school mate.

“Be­tween, Ge­or­gia” cen­ters of the town of Be­tween, pop­u­la­tion 90. A feud be­tween the Fretts, who prac­ti­cally own the town, and the Crab­trees, who rent space in its jail cells, is about to ex­plode and drag Nonny Frett, born a Crab­tree but raised a Frett, into the mid­dle of it.

Her next novel “The Girl Who Stopped Swim­ming” will cen­ter around a stay-at-home­mom who gets sucked into a 20-year-old nest of se­crets when a young girl drowns in her back­yard pool. She and her sis­ter go to war against the will­ful blind­ness that south­ern­ers of­ten­times prac­tice and call good man­ners.

Jack­son will have books avail­able for pur­chase and will sign them. Cof­fee and dessert will be served.

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