The 2013 Virginia Festival of the Book headliner fiction event, “Tales of Life and Death,” will showcase well-reviewed and best-selling authors Christopher Tilghman, Jill McCorkle, Randy Susan Meyers, and Susan Richards Shreve. These American writers will discuss their recent novels, all of which take on the challenges of living and dying, at the University of Virginia’s Harrison Institute and Small Special Collections Library on March 21 at 8 p.m. Ira Silverberg, literature director at the National Endowment for the Arts, will moderate the discussion.
Christopher Tilghman’s most recent novel, The Right-Hand Shore, revisits the characters and setting of his 1996 debut novel, Mason’s Retreat. The story of the Mason family and their ancestral home on Maryland’s Eastern Shore is partly inspired by Tilghman’s own family farm on the Eastern Shore, where he spent his childhood summers. A long-time resident of Charlottesville, Tilghman is a professor of English and the director of the creative writing program at the University of Virginia.
Jill McCorkle, a participant in the 2012 Virginia Festival of the Book event “Southern Refrains,” returns to Charlottesville with Life After Life, her first novel in seventeen years. Life After Life, which will be published in March, explores the interconnected lives of the residents and staff of a North Carolina retirement center. The author of several novels and short story collections, McCorkle teaches creative writing in the MFA program at North Carolina State University and is a core faculty member of the Bennington College Writing Seminars.
Randy Susan Meyers’s novels, The Comfort of Lies and The Murderer’s Daughters, reflect the author’s lifelong dedication to social service and education. Meyers began working with perpetrators and victims of domestic violence after her daughters went to college, and the influence of these experiences is evident in her recent work. The Comfort of Lies, published in February, connects the stories of three women through issues of infidelity, adoption and the search for truth. The Murderer’s Daughters (2010) addresses family violence, its aftermath, and redemption.
Susan Richards Shreve takes readers back to 1973 in You Are the Love of My Life. Against the backdrop of the Watergate scandal and the end of American involvement in the Vietnam War, she tells the story of a woman whose life is founded on shame, secrets, and lies. Shreve is author of numerous books for adults and children. She founded the MFA program for creative writing at George Mason University, where she is a professor of English.
Plan now to attend “Tales of Life and Death” and hear these talented writers explore past and present, truth and lies, life and death – and the ties that bind us as human beings.