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Norman Delivers New Material

Gurney Norman, acclaimed author of Divine Right’s Trip and Kinfolks, and the featured author for the Summer 2005 issue of Appalachian Heritage Magazine, came to Berea on November 16 to read in tribute of the Fall 2007 issue, featuring writer Thomas Wolfe.

Author Gurney Norman entertained audiences during the Appalachian Heritage reading.

Before the reading, Norman drifted through the large crowd of students, faculty, and community members to speak freely with all the patrons there. He seemed at home with the people and eager to converse with the audience about his works.

The talented writer was introduced by students Juli Sloan and Beth Bissmeyer. “I first read Gurney Norman’s book Kinfolks my second semester here in my Appalachian Literature class,” said Bissmeyer. “It was one of my favorites of all the wonderful works we read, so when I learned I was going to introduce him at the reading, I became pretty nervous. After I introduced him though, he shook my hand and said I did a good job, which is a pretty neat thing to hear from a writer you admire.”

Norman took the stage to read material that left the audience mesmerized and wanting for more. Treating the audience to new material, he read “Fifteen Dollars,” a piece from a forthcoming publication. From the uproarious “Linville Prince” to the Jack Tale, a traditional folktale that he’s well known for telling, Norman brought something for everyone to the reading. Afterward, he stayed to give a question and answer session, as well as to sign copies of his books.

Keeping with his Appalachian roots, Norman tries to remain true to what he knows with his writing. “I have an obligation to represent the truth, not just the factual truth but also a moral truth,” he said. “I am a pure native of this place.”

Norman is a writer in residence at University of Kentucky and is also a professor of creative writing. He has been at the university since 1979.

For more information on Appalachian Heritage Magazine, please visit the Appalachian Center’s website by clicking on the link below.

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