Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont is pleased to announce Writing the Appalachians, an evening of literary exploration, held Saturday, October 28, at Maryville College’s Clayton Center. The public forum brings Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Powers together with authors Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle, Janet McCue, and Frank X Walker to share stories and insights from their own experiences writing about the region’s beauty, culture, and challenges.
Writing the Appalachians is part of the inaugural Tremont Writers Conference, held October 25–29 on Tremont’s campus in Townsend, Tennessee. Led by faculty members Clapsaddle, McCue, and Walker, the five-day conference invites 20 participants—chosen from over 200 applicants—to participate in daily workshops, one-on-one conferences with workshop leaders, and guided naturalist explorations meant to spark creativity. Though all spaces for the conference itself have already been filled, the October 28 forum is a ticketed event open to the public.
Each panelist is also a member of the Tremont Writers Conference faculty. Residing part-time in Townsend, Powers is a MacArthur Fellow and fiction writer whose last two books are partially set in the Great Smoky Mountains. Clapsaddle became the first enrolled citizen of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians to publish a novel in 2020 with the release of Even As We Breathe, which was a finalist for the Weatherford Award, one of NPR’s Best Books of 2020, and winner of the 2021 Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award. Walker is the first African American Kentucky Poet Laureate, coined the term “Affrilachia,” and has won multiple Appalachian heritage awards. McCue co-authored Back of Beyond: A Horace Kephart Biography with George Ellison, a nonfiction work that won the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award in 2019. Currently, she is collaborating on a biography of George Masa with film director Paul Bonesteel.
“The opportunity to listen and learn from this distinctive panel on a subject and setting so near and dear to my heart is remarkable,” said Catey McClary, CEO and president of GSMIT. “I am thrilled we get to share this evening with our community and those who inspire us to see the mountains around us through new perspectives.”
The event begins at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 28, in the Clayton Center at Maryville College, 502 E. Lamar Alexander Parkway, Maryville, Tennessee. Tickets to join these renowned authors for an evening of intimate conversation and audience questions are $20 per person and can be purchased through the Clayton Center box office. Host Committee tickets, which include a pre-show dinner with Tremont Writers Conference participants and reserved VIP seating, are $125.
Writing the Appalachians and the Tremont Writers Conference are hosted by Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont in partnership with Great Smoky Mountains Association. Support for Writing the Appalachians is provided by SouthArts, National Endowment for the Arts, Tennessee Arts Commission, and WDVX. Learn more about the Tremont Writers Conference at writers.gsmit.org.