Many upcoming literary events slated for April

April 16, 2018 GMT

HUNTINGTON — Spring has sprung and with it a renewed energy for sitting in the sun and devouring some of the many good books written during the dark hours of winter.

Here are a few of the many upcoming author events and readings in the Tri-State, as well as some other hot-off-the-press literary news.

A poet and a horror writer walk into a bookstore

Empire Books and News at Pullman Square is the site for an unlikely pairing at 7 p.m. Monday, April 16, as the popular monthly Writers Can Read series continues with a couple of award-winning writers in two very different genres.

Pauletta Hansel, a poet, memoirist, teacher and editor who served as the first Poet Laureate of Cincinnati from April 2016 through March 2018, is the author of six poetry collections - most recently “Palindrome” (Dos Madres Press, 2017), which was recently awarded the prestigious Weatherford Award for the best Appalachian poetry book of 2017. Hansel’s poetry and prose has been featured recently in numerous journals, and her poems have been featured on The Writer’s Almanac, Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry and Verse Daily.

Huntington resident and Marshall University graduate Eugene “Skip” Johnson is a children’s author, an anthologies editor and most recently a finalist for Superior Achievement in Non-Fiction for his book “Where Nightmares Come From: The Art of Storytelling in the Horror Genre,” (Crystal Lake Publishing) with Joe Mynhardt.

Johnson, who worked on such films as “16 to Life” and “We are Marshall,” has worked on many horror projects from films to horror anthologies.

“Where Nightmares Come From,” focuses on the art of storytelling in the horror genre, taking an idea from conception to reality - whether short stories, novels, films or comics.

Writers Can Read is free and open to the public.

Head downtown to learn about ‘Hiking Kentucky’

Hiking and outdoors enthusiasts will want to mark Saturday, April 21, on their calendars as author and hiker Carrie Stambaugh will be at Empire Books and News from 3 to 5 p.m. signing copies of her latest book, “Hiking Kentucky: A Guide to 80 of Kentucky’s Greatest Hiking Adventures.”

Stambaugh updated this third edition of this popular Kentucky hiking book that was originally written by Michael H. Brown.

From old country roads to dense forest paths, Kentucky boasts more than 1,500 miles of marked and maintained trails. Stambaugh describes 80 of her favorite hikes, from one-mile nature trails to multi-day backpacks. The book includes detailed information on trailhead location, difficulty and more.

Stambaugh is a journalist and photographer based out of Ashland. Find more information at CarrieStambaugh.com.

War author to sign books

Historian and Marshall University professor of psychology W. Joseph Wyatt will sign copies of his latest book, “The Iraq War, 1998-2018: Quagmire in Babylon,” from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 21, at Empire Books and News.

According to Wyatt’s description, the book details the Bush administrations’ insistence that Saddam Hussein harbored weapons of mass destruction and that Iraq had participated in the 9/11 attacks, as well as the evidence that revealed those claims to have been false. As post-invasion reality set in, what followed was the breakdown of hope that proponents of the war had envisioned for the easy transition of Iraq from an Islamic theocracy to a western-style secular culture.

The book describes the invasion, the push to Baghdad, and the valor and integrity of the troops who did the fighting. The ensuing sectarian violence in the streets and countryside and the parallel Sunni-Shia infighting in the Parliament signaled a war that should not have been fought and could not be won. The Iraq story is brought to the present as it details the war’s costs to the U.S. in terms of troops killed and wounded, the economic costs, and damage to American esteem that followed revelations of torture at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo.

The book includes a number of eloquently authored letters from the author’s son who served two tours in Iraq with the United States Marine Corps and who authored the book’s foreword.

Cat Pleska at Taylor Talks

Author and editor Cat Pleska will read and lead a discussion at Taylor Talks, an event hosted by Taylor Books, in downtown Charleston from 5 to 7 p.m. Sunday April 22. Pleska edited the 2018 anthology “Voices on Unity: Coming Together, Falling Apart,” a collection of stories, essays, poems, and song, which includes 22 West Virginia talented authors and writers. Pleska, contributors Paul Epstein and M. Lynne Squires, and book cover designer Elizabeth Ford will discuss the conception of the anthology and the difficulties of maintaining an artistic spirit in difficult times.

There will be time for questions and answers.

After the presentation, Pleska and the anthology contributors will sign copies of the anthology. The event is free and open to the public.

One Book One West Virginia

For the 13th consecutive year, the West Virginia Library Commission and West Virginia Center for the Book will sponsor the statewide discussion group One Book One West Virginia. Each year, one book by an Appalachian author is selected for this honor, and the 2018 selection is the debut novel by Karen Spears Zacharias, “Mother of Rain.”

In “Mother of Rain,” Zacharias writes about a small, close-knit, East Tennessee community as the Depression yields to World War II. The story follows the struggles of Maizee Hurd as she suffers through a series of setbacks from childhood on: the gruesome early death of her mother; her father’s rejection; the birth, illness and resulting deafness of her infant son, Rain; and the disappearance of her husband during the war. “Mother of Rain” is an exploration of the nature of community in a rural setting and is the 2013 Weatherford Award winner for best novel in southern Appalachian fiction.

The One Book One West Virginia reading campaign helps support the Appalachian Heritage Writer-In-Residence Project developed by Shepherd University. This literacy project invites everyone across the state to read the same book and take part in detailed group conversations about the book’s unfolding storyline. West Virginia readers are urged to join book discussion groups and attend related events, such as meeting the author, character portrayals, movies and workshops.

To join a book group discussion, readers can contact their local library, or they can connect with others through the WVLC statewide Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/groups/1763136937263032/).

To learn more about the WVLC, visit www.librarycommission.wv.gov or call 304-558-2041.