My Southern roots inform me that this past weekend marked the beginning of dove hunting season--at least Alabama and North Carolina. Although I live too far away from the hunters in my family now, I occasionally sweet talk someone around here into parting with a few birds so I can make one of my favorite meals, a dove stew over rice.
Around here another season seems to be kicking in--author season. No, we're not shooting them, but they are making appearance this morning all around me. Greg Mortenson, co-author and inspiration behind Three Cups of Tea, will speak at Appalachian State this Thursday. Lenoir-Rhyne College kicks off this year's Visiting Writer Series next Thursday with Richard Rodriquez (to be followed by a stellar list throughout the school year, finishing with Julia Alvarez as part of Hickory's Big Read.)
Other colleges within an easy driving distance have similar series, so I keep my calendar marked. Successful writers inspire me to write, and they enrich my reading experience as well, so the North Carolina Literary Festival that runs this week from Thursday through Sunday in Chapel Hill will be a feast.
The festival, which for some time ran every other year, moving among the university campuses in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area, comes a year late. I attended for the first time when the festival was last held on the Duke campus. I especially enjoyed the joint presentation by Allan Gurganus and his former student author Ann Patchett.
This year's roster has something for everyone--John Grisham and Kathy Reichs, Rick Bragg and Ron Rash, Jaki Shelton Green and Kathryn Stripling Byer, and dozens more. The children's Tent will host sessions for the young ones, including R. L. Stine of Goosebumps fame. I am particularly eager to hear Elizabeth Strout, this year's Pulitizer prize winner for Olive Kitteridge.
The event even plans a strand of sessions related to food. Now if I only had a mess of doves my own life would be complete.