Join us for a conversation between three award-winning literary authors whose work and lives are tied to the state of Virginia.
Betty Joyce Nash (author of Everybody Here is Kin), A.D. Nauman (author of Down the Steep), and
Jody Hobbs Hesler (author of What Makes You Think You're Supposed to Feel Better)
will discuss the craft of writing and their own works.
ABOUT DOWN THE STEEP:
The year is 1963 in small-town Virginia. Willa McCoy is a strong-minded teenager who longs to follow in the footsteps of her father, an important member of the KKK. Willa believes the Klan is daring and brave—like the father she idolizes. She wants only to rise in his esteem; he wants only to keep everyone in their place. When Willa is sent to babysit for the new minister’s wife, Ruth Swanson, she finds herself at Ruth’s kitchen table with Langston Jones, a smart young Black man. At first they despise each other, but they have one thing in common: they both love Ruth. When Langston reveals a secret he’s discovered--that Willa’s father is having an affair--the once-loyal daughter plots to destroy her father’s reputation, unwittingly setting into motion a series of events that leads to her family’s demise.
ABOUT EVERYBODY HERE IS KIN:
On Boneyard Island, Georgia, where everyone’s weirdly kin, 13-year-old Lucille is marooned when her mother goes AWOL with an old flame, leaving Lucille with only her father’s ashes, two half-siblings, and Will, the misanthropic manager of the island’s only motel. The abandonment kills hope of Lucille’s promised snorkeling trip to the Florida Reef before ocean heat kills the coral and illusions she’s harbored about her mother’s sanity. Everybody Here Is Kin explores the lives of this sinking family, the island community, and fears of exposing wounds, old and new, when natural disaster forces them to trust, and depend on, strangers.
ABOUT WHAT MAKES YOU THINK YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO FEEL BETTER:
The grisly death of the hermit outsider in a tight-knit neighborhood prompts a young mom to yearn for solitude. A man wrestles with regrets from a 30-year-old affair while his wife hovers toward death in the ICU. An older, childless woman aches to rescue the seemingly mistreated child she observes in the grocery store. And a girl's desire to avoid the party her father dragged her to nearly gets her abducted. Told with restraint and deep compassion against the backdrop of Virginia back streets and small towns, Jody Hobbs Hesler's debut collection shines with its portraits of longing, disconnection, and the ache for renewal and redemption that comes from our own frailties.
MEET THE AUTHORS:
A.D. Nauman is a Chicago author whose short fiction has appeared in Chicago Quarterly Review, Willow Springs, TriQuarterly, Necessary Fiction, The Literary Review, and many other journals. Her dystopian novel, Scorch, was published in 2001 and re-released in a StoryBundle in 2019. Nauman is an Illinois Arts Council Literary Award recipient, whose work has been produced by Stories on Stage and broadcast on NPR. Though now a Midwesterner, Nauman grew up mostly in Tidewater, Virginia.
Betty Joyce Nash's writing has appeared in journals including North Dakota Quarterly and Across the Margin, as well as in newspapers, magazines, and online; her fiction has been recognized with fellowships from MacDowell (2013), The Ragdale Foundation (2015), and VCCA (2018). In 2014, she was selected as the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts fiction fellow to the Tyrone Guthrie Center in Ireland. She’s taught writing at the University of Richmond, the Albemarle Charlottesville Regional Jail, and several community writing centers; she now teaches at WriterHouse, a nonprofit literary arts center in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Jody Hobbs Hesler has written ever since she could hold a pencil and now lives and writes in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Growing up, she split time between suburban Richmond, Virginia, and the mountains outside Winchester, Virginia. Experiences of all these regions flavor her writing. Her debut story collection, What Makes You Think You're Supposed to Feel Better published from Cornerstone Press in October 2023, and her debut novel, Without You Here is forthcoming from Flexible Press in November 2024. She teaches at WriterHouse in Charlottesville, Virginia and reads for The Los Angeles Review.