Novelist Lee Smith to teach workshop Oct. 23

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 1, 2009

CONCORD ó Lee Smith, author of 11 novels and three short story collections, will teach a creative writing workshop at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College on Oct. 23.The workshop is part of the “One Book One Community ó Cabarrus Reads” program sponsored by the Cabarrus County Public Library, with events scheduled Oct. 1 through 29.
Smith will teach the workshop from 3 to 4:30 p.m. at RCCC’s South Campus, in Concord. Registration will begin Oct. 1. Contact Amelia Likin, RCCC reading instructor, at 704-216-3548 or will discuss how to develop colorful characters and guide participants through her “People-ing the Page” technique, while offering other hints. Her novels include “Black Mountain Breakdown,” “Oral History,” “Family Linen,” “Fair and Tender Ladies,” “The Devil’s Dream,” “Saving Grace,” “The Christmas Letters,” and “The Last Girls.” The Cabarrus Reads program will focus on Smith’s most recent novel, “On Agate Hill,” published in 2006.”On Agate Hill” explores North Carolina during the Reconstruction era after the Civil War. Told through several voices with different perspectives, the story follows Molly Petree, self-described “ghost girl,” as she finds her way through life while remaining true to herself.
A resident of Hillsborough and Jefferson, Smith is a retired professor of English at N.C. State University. She was born in 1944 in a small coal mining town in southwest Virginia. By the age of 9, Smith was already writing stories ó which she sold for a nickel a piece ó about her neighbors and hometown in the Appalachian Mountains.
Smith enrolled at Hollins College in Roanoke, Va. She and fellow student Annie Dillard, later an essayist and novelist, became go-go dancers for an all-girl rock band, the Virginia Woolfs. In 1966, Smith submitted an early draft of a coming-of-age novel to a Book-of-the-Month Club contest and was awarded one of 12 fellowships. Two years later, that novel, “The Last Day the Dogbushes Bloomed,” became Smith’s first published work of fiction.
Smith has received numerous distinguished writing awards. Her novel, “The Last Girls,” was a New York Times bestseller and a winner of the Southern Book Critics Circle Award.
In addition to her creative writing workshop, Smith will attend a Concord reception and sign copies of her books at a meet-the-author event on Oct. 24.
For a full listing of One Book One Community program events, go to any branch of the Cabarrus County Public Library, or see the library’s website at
RCCC offers several writing and literature courses through its English department. RCCC students who need help with their writing can take advantage of the college’s Writing Center and its tutoring services.