As part of the second Annual Hall-O-Ween festivities, Carnegie Hall partners with the Greenbrier Historical Society to present New York Times best-selling author Sharyn McCrumb on Friday, Oct. 27, at 7 p.m., in the Old Stone Room, as she shares her historical insights and investigative techniques that lie behind the writing of The Unquiet Grave. Tickets are $20.
McCrumb’s book The Unquiet Grave is the true story of the Greenbrier Ghost, the only case in America in which the testimony of a ghost convicted the killer. The 1897 trial which took place at the Greenbrier County Court House in Lewisburg, WV is remembered years later by the African American lawyer who second chaired the defense.
McCrumb is an award-winning Southern writer, best known for her Appalachian “Ballad” novels, set in the North Carolina/Tennessee mountains, including the New York Times Best Sellers: The Ballad of Tom Dooley, She Walks These Hills and The Rosewood Casket.
St. Dale, The Canterbury Tales in a NASCAR setting, in which ordinary people on a pilgrimage in honor of racing legend Dale Earnhardt find a miracle, won a 2006 Library of Virginia Award as well as the AWA Book of the Year Award.
Sharyn McCrumb’s other best-selling novels include The Ballad of Frankie Silver, the story of the first woman hanged for murder in the state of North Carolina (new edition, St. Martin’s Press, 2013,) which was produced as a play in 2016 by the Parkway Playhouse in Burnsville NC. Ghost Riders, an account of the Civil War in the mountains of western North Carolina, won the Wilma Dykeman Award for Literature from the East Tennessee Historical Society and the Audie Award for Best Recorded Book. It was published in a new edition in March 2012 by J.F. Blair Press of Winston-Salem, NC. A theatrical version of Ghost Riders was staged in June 2014 at the Parkway Playhouse in Burnsville, NC.
McCrumb’s other honors include AWA Outstanding Contribution to Appalachian Literature Award; the Chaffin Award for Southern Literature; the Plattner Award for Short Story; and AWA’s Best Appalachian Novel. She was recently named “Best Mountain Writer 2013” by Blue Ridge Country Magazine. McCrumb was the first writer-in-residence at King College in Tennessee. In 2005 she was honored as the Writer of the Year at Emory & Henry College.
She is the subject of the book From A Race of Storytellers: The Ballad Novels of Sharyn McCrumb. Ed: Kimberley M. Holloway. Atlanta: Mercer University Press, 2005. A graduate of UNC Chapel Hill, with an M.A. from Virginia Tech, she lives and writes in the Virginia Blue Ridge.
Frank and Spencer Arwood, McCrumb’s great-grandfathers were circuit preachers in North Carolina’s Smoky Mountains a hundred years ago, riding horseback over the ridges to preach in a different community each week. It is from them, she says, that she gets her regard for books, her gift of storytelling and public speaking, and her love of the Appalachian Mountains.
“My books are like Appalachian quilts,” says McCrumb. “I take brightly colored scraps of legends, ballads, fragments of rural life, and local tragedy, and I piece them together into a complex whole that tells not only a story, but also a deeper truth about the culture of the mountain South.”
McCrumb provides her own point of view about living in and between these cultures in the following excerpt from an interview with Rebecca Laine: “I always was interested in the songs and the legends. Those from my father’s side of the family always seemed to have so much substance. Mother was from the flatlands of North Carolina around New Bern; that was, I suppose, the Plantation South. Her stories didn’t resonate with me. I guess I wasn’t meant to be a Southern writer in the Pat Conroy sense of the word.”
There will be a book-signing at 8 p.m. immediately following the lecture. A selection of works by the author will be available for purchase at the event, provided by A New Chapter Bookstore. Visit A New Chapter at 922 Washington Street East in downtown Lewisburg during the month of October to browse other titles by the author.
Following the lecture and book-signing at 8:30 p.m., a special candlelit Greenbrier Ghost tour led by Kasadi Shock of the North House Museum will visit Old Stone Church Cemetery and the Greenbrier County Courthouse. Tickets for the tour are $13. Limited space is available.
To purchase ticketsfor the lecture or other Hall-O-Ween events, call Carnegie Hall Box Office at 304-645-7917, visit www.carnegiehallwv.org, or stop by at 611 Church Street, Lewisburg. Carnegie Hall Box Office is open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.