LUMBERTON — New York Times bestselling author Mary Alice Monroe will be the headliner for the Book ‘Em North Carolina event to take place at the Carolina Civic Center next year.
Monroe is a resident of coastal South Carolina and an environmental fiction writer who has written more than a dozen novels with themes and parallels to nature. She has also written several non-fiction and children’s books that portray her love of the natural world. She is the recipient of the South Carolina Center for the Book Award for Fiction and the International Book Award for Green Fiction.
The event will be held on Feb. 23.
“I’m very honored and delighted to be headlining this event,” Monroe said. “I really appreciate that they support literacy. I’m a strong supporter of raising literacy rates, so I’m proud to be headlining an event that benefits raising literacy rates.”
The Book ‘Em North Carolina, which is a writer’s conference co-founded by Patricia M. Terrell, a Lumberton author, also hosts a book fair for all ages. The event raises awareness about the connection between illiteracy and crime.
“The goal of Book ‘Em North Carolina’s annual event is to raise money that goes directly toward increasing literacy in Robeson County,” Terrell said. “It’s well known that the more literate a person is, the better their job opportunities, leading to a far better quality of life. And when citizens are educated and employed, it always reduces the crime rate, resulting in a better place for everyone to live.”
Proceeds from the book sales are donated to anti-crime measures and literacy campaigns in Robeson County. The last event raised more than $9,000 for these campaigns. Next year’s event will again benefit the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, Communities In Schools and the Friends of the Robeson County Public Library.
“By the time kids are in eighth grade and illiterate, the drop-out rate is very high,” Monroe said. “They get into trouble, and this opens the door to crime. Catching illiteracy early and getting the kids reading and active in school is critical for any student’s success. Tutoring has been a great success in turning them around.”
Joining Monroe at the Book ‘Em North Carolina event will be Hollywood producer-director-actor Chuck Williams, as well as more than 75 authors, publishers, literary agents and book promoters.