Wed. 6/13, 7:30 pm (note slighly later start time)
Silas House in conversation with Algonquin Books Executive Editor Kathy Pories about his new novel Southernmost
With an introduction by Lee Smith
"In Silas House’s moving new novel, a pastor wrestles with a crisis not just of faith but of all the apparent certainties of his life: a crisis of marriage, of community, of fatherhood. This is a novel of painful, finally revelatory awakening, of fierce love and necessary disaster, of the bravery required to escape the prison of our days, to make a better and more worthy life.”—Garth Greenwell, author of What Belongs to You
When a flood washes away much of a small community along the Cumberland River in Tennessee, Asher Sharp, an evangelical preacher there, starts to see his life anew. He has already lost a brother due to his inability to embrace his brother’s coming out of the closet. Now, in the aftermath of the flood, he tries to offer shelter to two gay men, but he’s met with resistance by his wife. Furious about her prejudice, Asher delivers a sermon where he passionately defends the right of gay people to exist without condemnation.
In the heated battle that ensues, Asher loses his job, his wife, and custody of his son, Justin. As Asher worries over what will become of the boy, whom his wife is determined to control, he decides to kidnap Justin and take him to Key West, where he suspects that his estranged brother is now living. It’s there that Asher and Justin see a new way of thinking and loving.
Southernmost is a tender and heartbreaking novel about love and its consequences, both within the South and beyond.
Silas House is the author of five novels, including the New York Times bestseller A Parchment of Leaves. He is a frequent contributor to the New York Times and a former commentator for NPR's All Things Considered. House is a member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers and is the winner of the E. B. White Award, the Nautilus Award, the Appalachian Book of the Year, the Hobson Medal for Literature, and other honors.
Kathy Pories is an Executive Editor at Algonquin Books. She has edited the last six winners of the PEN/Bellwether Prize, for which she is also a judge. Her authors have been Alex Award winners and finalists for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, the Kirkus Prize, the Story Prize, the Barnes & Noble Discover Award, the First Novel Prize, and the National Book Award. Authors she has worked with include, in addition to Lee Smith and Silas House, Dan Rather, Gabrielle Zevin, Lisa Ko, Rebecca Lee, Bill Roorbach, Lauren Grodstein, Hillary Jordan, Robert Olmstead, and others. She received her Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Lee Smith really needs no introduction, however in case you're new to Earth: Born in the small coal-mining town of Grundy, Virginia, Lee Smith began writing stories at the age of nine and selling them for a nickel apiece. Since then, she has written seventeen works of fiction, including Fair and Tender Ladies, Oral History, Guests on Earth, and most recently a memoir; Dimestore. She has received many awards, including the North Carolina Award for Literature and an Academy Award in Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; her novel The Last Girls was a New York Times bestseller as well as winner of the Southern Book Critics Circle Award. She lives in Hillsborough, North Carolina, with her husband, the writer Hal Crowther. Visit her at www.leesmith.com.