Brady Author’s Symposium to feature George Singleton, Tom Cooper

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 11, 2018

Those attending Catawba College’s 32nd annual Brady Author’s Symposium on Thursday, March 1, will be treated to not one, but two authors. George Singleton and Tom Cooper will share the stage during a symposium moderated by Dr. Forrest Anderson, a Catawba associate professor of English and acting dean of students.

The event will be in the Robertson College-Community Center on Catawba College’s campus. Tickets for the symposium, followed by a question and answer period, a seated luncheon and book signing, are now on sale at or by contacting Catawba’s Public Relations Office at 704-637-4393.

Singleton is a Southern author of two novels and seven collec­tions of short fiction including “Between Wrecks” and “Calloustown.” He is a for­mer Guggenheim Fellow, and the recipient of a Pushcart Prize, the Hillsdale Award for Fiction from the Fellowship of Southern Writers, and the Corrington Award for Literary Excellence. He grew up in Greenwood, S.C., and lives in Spartanburg where he is the John C. Cobb Endowed Chair in the Humanities and teaches fiction at Wofford College. He was inducted into the Fellowship of Southern Writers in April 2015.

He graduated from Furman University with a degree in philosophy and was an inductee into Phi Beta Kappa. He earned his MFA degree in creative writing from UNC-Greensboro.

Long known for his humorous stories about oddballs who live in out-of-the-way places, Singleton’s characters are complex and sympathetic and the issues he covers range from love to alcoholism to the meaning of life.

In a spring 2017 interview for “Subtropics” with writer Jacob Guajardo, Singleton gave some insights into his career as a writer. He shared that “Every human being that I talk to teaches me something about writing,” and noted that “Manual labor jobs — or even mind-numbing office temp jobs — are perfect ways to, without knowing it, gather research.”

He lamented his inadequacy as a self-promoter of his fiction, sharing, “I was late into the self-promotion game. I didn’t join the Facebook or Twitter until recently. Publishers, agent, editors kept saying, ‘You need to get on social media and talk about yourself!’ I thought that’s what publicists at publishing houses were supposed to do.”

Singleton said in that same interview: “Me, I’m old and don’t really want to go out anymore hawking books. So be it.”

Cooper’s short stories have appeared in “Ox­ford American,” “Mid-American Review” and “Gulf Coast,” among many others. His stories have been nominated four times for the Pushcart Prize. Random House/Crown published his first novel, “The Marauders,” in 2015. He is at work on several new projects, in­cluding television scripts and novels. Born in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, he now lives in New Orleans.

Cooper came to New Orleans during a turbulent time, in the middle of the BP oil spill, the incident which helped give birth to his novel, “The Marauders.”

He shared his reason for finally writing a novel in a 2015 interview with Kristen Fritz who was writing a Q&A article about him and his novel for “Signatures.”

“My intention was always to write a novel, from the beginning. Only, I didn’t have the chops. It requires a different kind of finesse, novel-writing. In the end, I guess the answer is very simple. I wanted to be read by more people. I wanted to write something a little more immersive and detailed. Something that would linger with readers. And the story I wanted to tell demanded something of novel-length.”

On creating and developing characters, he likened himself to Victor Frankenstein, noting he takes “a phrase, a mannerism, an idiosyncrasy, a haircut, a facial expression, an accent. But I never write about a specific person, no. Not because of any sensitivity toward persons living or dead. Everything’s fair game. Ha.”

Fiction excites him, Cooper said because it allows “us to live a little bit with people we don’t know. And if it’s really good fiction, then we live vicariously through them.”

Singleton and Cooper will be the latest to join the group of authors who have spoken at previous symposia, including Reynolds Price, Josephine Humphreys, Doris Betts, Lee Smith, Kay Gibbons, Fred Chappell, Jan Karon, John Berendt, Pat Conroy, Gail Godwin, Tim McLaurin, Rick Bragg, Susan Vreeland, Jodi Picoult, Gish Jen, Joanne Harris, Chris Bohjalian, Elizabeth Berg, Colum McCann, Jane Hamilton, Meg Wolitzer and John Hart.

Tickets can be ordered online at or through the Catawba College Public Relations Office at 704- 637-4393 via contacts Tonia Black-Gold or Maegen Worley. Symposium events include an 11 a.m. moderated symposium followed by a question and answer session ($20), a catered, seated luncheon ($20), and book signing (free). Those purchasing patron tickets (an additional $10) will receive preferential seating at the symposium and a special gift.

Moderated symposium followed by a question and answer session
11 a.m.
Robertson College-Community Center

Seated luncheon*
12:30 p.m.
Peeler Crystal Lounge
*Luncheon reservations are limited and will be taken in the order in which they are received.

Book signing
1:30 p.m.
Lobby of Keppel Auditorium, Robertson College-Community Center