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Novelist Amy Greene to Speak March 23

Novelist Amy Greene will present the Wilma Dykeman Stokely Memorial Lecture on Thursday, March 23, 7 p.m. in the East Tennessee History Center. The lecture is sponsored annually by the Library Society of the University of Tennessee and the Friends of the Knox County Public Library. The event is free and open to the public.

Amy Greene. Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess.

Greene was born and raised in the foothills of East Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains, and she began writing stories about the people of Appalachia from a very young age. Her two published novels reflect the people and the land she knows well.

Her debut novel, Bloodroot (2010), a family saga set in the Smoky Mountains, has been called a “spot-on account of a land and its people — with its old-fashioned Scots-Irish dialect and its close-knit communities, its homespun Christianity and its folk remedies.” But the New York Times says, “Don’t be misled by the dreamy pastoral image on the dust jacket . . . [T]his story is really about the fraught, sometimes dangerous, bonds between children and their mothers, and the appalling spillover of violence from one generation to the next.”

Bloodroot received numerous recognitions, including Booklist’s Top 10 Debut Novels and the Weatherford Award for fiction from the Appalachian Studies Association.

In Greene’s latest novel, Long Man (2014), the Tennessee Valley Authority has dammed the Long Man River to generate electricity, and the little town of Yuneetah will soon be submerged. Most of the townspeople have taken the government payout and moved on. But Annie Clyde Dodson and a few other holdouts refuse to move. As the river rises, her three-year-old daughter disappears. Has the child simply run off, or was she kidnapped by a drifter who has just returned to Yuneetah?

“I think of writing as an act of discovery, in a way, and with these characters, they did come to me almost as archetypes,” Greene told the Charleston City Paper. “You have the hermit and you have the fortune teller, the drifter, the lawman, the farmer. What began to happen as I got deeper into the story and began to learn these characters is that they started to become human.”

Learn more at the Wilma Dykeman Stokely Memorial Lecture about Greene’s writing process and what informs her Appalachian novels.

The Friends of the Knox County Public Library established the Wilma Dykeman Stokely Memorial Lecture in 2007 to honor the late writer, speaker, teacher, historian, and environmentalist. This is the fourth consecutive year that the Friends of the Knox County Public Library and the UT Library Society have co-sponsored the lecture.

For more information on Amy Greene, please visit

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