UNCG Campus Weekly

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Lee Smith, Hal Crowther Will Speak

021611Feature_FOLIt’s a two-authors-for-one deal at this year’s Friends of the March 16 UNCG Libraries dinner.

Lee Smith, novelist and short story writer, and Hal Crowther, essayist and cultural critic, will headline the dinner Wednesday, March 16. Crowther and Smith, husband and wife, have titled their remarks “Prose and Cons.”

The reception begins at 6:30 p.m. in Cone Ballroom, Elliott University Center. The seated dinner begins at 7:15 p.m., and the program begins at 8:30 p.m.

Smith, author of “Oral History” and “Fair and Tender Ladies,” grew up in the coal mining town of Grundy, Va. The spiritual and imaginative Smith gave a tea party for God as a child, and describes her childhood as being filled with “God and wonders.”

“I grew up in a family of world-class talkers,” she says. “They were wonderful talkers and storytellers, both the women and the men. I was an only child, and so I heard all this adult conversation all the time. I was always taken where these wonderful stories were being told. So I really did grow up on stories. … And I read all the time. I was a compulsive reader. I think I went naturally from reading to writing little stories …”

Crowther, who once wrote for Time and Newsweek, was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and describes himself as “a middle class hillbilly raised by Unitarians.” He has published such collections as “Cathedrals of Kudzu: A Personal Landscape of the South” and “Unarmed but Dangerous: A Withering Attack on All Things Phony, Foolish, and Fundamentally Wrong with America Today.”

“I come from a verbal, rhetorical clan, where each of us was perpetually presenting his case and establishing his defense,” he recalls. “In one sense I guess everything I’ve ever written is a part of my brief — my authorized version, to minimize misunderstanding and misinterpretation when I can no longer speak for myself.”

Smith and Crowther live in Hillsborough, in a house once owned by the town’s undertaker. They have been married for 25 years, despite advice he once offered his readers: “The best mating advice for any young person, male or female, is ‘Never sleep with a writer’ – though of course I’ve being doing it for 24 years.”

Proceeds benefit the Friends of the UNCG Libraries. Call the University Box Office at 4-4849 or visit http://www.uncg.edu/euc/boxoffice/ for tickets or sponsorships.

Dinner tickets are $48 for Friends members, and $58 for non-members, and must be ordered by March 4. Program-only tickets are $15, and may be purchased in advance or at the door on a space-available basis.

Table sponsorships are $500 for a table of eight, and individual sponsorships are $67.50 each. Both table and individual sponsorships bring preferential seating recognition in the event program if received by March 1.

By Michelle Hines and Barry Miller