LUMBERTON — Jill McCorkle, an award-winning novelist born and raised in Lumberton, will speak Saturday at the sixth annual Book ‘Em when the annual literacy-promoting event is held at Robeson Community College.
Book ‘Em is free to the public and begins at 9:30 a.m. and runs until 4 p.m. Authors will line the halls of RCC to discuss and sell their books. Children’s programs are at 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
McCorkle will speak at 2 p.m. in the campus’ A.D. Lewis Auditorium.
It is the sixth Book ‘Em, which was started by Patricia Terrell, a Lumberton writer who uses the pen name p.m. terrell. Among the authors speaking Saturday is morning program headliner LeJuane Bowens, an award-winning slam poet, author and motivational speaker from Fayetteville.
Crystal Edmunds, RCC English Department chair, coordinated Saturday’s edition of Book “Em. The event was held in the spring for the first five years, but was moved to the fall this year.
“What does a book mean?” Edmunds said. “For each person the answer is different, and everyone is invited to come and add to their collection of books, converse with authors and support literacy.”
Two special events Saturday include sidewalk works by chalk artist Katie Bush and an auction of best-selling books autographed and written by Nicolas Sparks and Kathy Reichs.
In an interview with The Robesonian this week, McCorkle said she is thrilled to be part of Book “Em for the first time.
“I’ve heard wonderful things about it, and it looks like they have a great lineup of writers,” McCorkle said. “I’m happy it worked out that I could come. It’s been so long since I spoke in Lumberton that I can’t remember the last time.”
McCorkle grew up in Lumberton and visits family often from her home in the Triangle.
“I came to Lumberton after the hurricane in my husband’s truck, which we filled with water,” she said. “It was hard to get there, and it was devastating to see.”
McCorkle has scaled back her teaching at N.C. State University and rejoined the graduate writing program at Bennington College in Vermont. With a flexible schedule, she has more time to write.
The author has written several short stories since publishing the full-length novel “Life after Life” in 2013. McCorkle is working on another novel now, and like her past work, it continues to weave in memories and scenes of Lumberton and Robeson County.
“I am Robeson County born and bred,” she said. “To me it’s an important place, and my work does reflect this place.”
“My childhood memories there are still vivid to me,” McCorkle said.
This novel like her earlier work are “maps of our lives over time,” she said. Many of the characters, but not all, are older, and there is a courtroom trial as a backdrop.
There is also some Robeson County history, which McCorkle drew in part from letters she asked Lumberton attorneys Bill McLean and the late Horace Stacy to write.
“I don’t have a title yet,” she said. “I’ve been avoiding it.”
On Saturday, she will talk about how stories come together and how to build characters, McCorkle said.
“I am not sure what I will read yet,” she said. “I will talk about storytelling because that’s what it’s all about. This area is rich in oral storytelling.”
Saturday’s lineup is:
10 a.m. — Chalk artist Katie Bush is in the Red Room, and in the Green Room, there will be a panel discussion on poetry as healing power with Jerry Bradley and Tiffany Upchurch-Rivera.
11 a.m. — LeJuane Bowens will speak in the A.D. Lewis Auditorium.
Noon — Avie Banks will be in the Red Room, and in the Green Room, there will be a panel discussion on publishing by the publisher’s Prospective Press and The Dancing Lemur Press.
1 p.m. — “H’yoanh’s Experience” will be the topic of a discussion led by Harriet Hill and H’yoanh Buonya in the Red Room, and in the Green Room, there will be a panel discussion on self-publishing by Wendy Fields and Richale Reed of The Writer’s Perspective.
2 p.m. — McCorkle will speak in the A.D. Lewis Auditorium.
3 p.m. — In the Red Room, Randy Johnson will discuss his book “Grandfather Mountain: The History and Guide to an Appalachian Icon.” In the Green room, there will be a panel discussion on “Finding the Unique Feature of Your Work” with Jerry Jones, Michael Maccalupo, and Hector Miray.
In the children’s corner, Jane Pait will read “The Little Red-Headed Angel” at 10:30 a.m., and at 12:30 p.m. Deborah Watkins will discuss her book, “Read? Yes, I Can!” There are other activities for children.