The Carolina Mountains Literary Festival in Burnsville, NC on September 8-10, 2016 will offer 50 free presentations with authors, musicians, artists and actors. There will be 2 ticketed evening events that require preregistration. Friday night September 9 is a locally sourced banquet with speaker, Fred Chappell. He is a fiction writer of southern gothic literature and was NC Poet Laureate. Preregistration- $35 BYOB. Saturday night, September 10 at 6:30 will be Keynote Speaker, David Haskell. Preregistration-$20.
The festival is pleased to be a recipient of a NC Humanities Council Pulitzer Initiative Grant, bringing David Haskell, Pulitzer Finalist for The Forest Unseen: A Year’s Watch in Nature. Haskell journeyed most days to a square meter (10 3/4 square feet) mandala of old growth forest and regales the reader with this work that integrates scientific, literary and contemplative studies of the natural world. An article in the New York Times said, “Haskell thinks like a biologist, writes like a poet, and gives the natural world the kind of open-minded attention one expects from a Zen monk.”
In addition to being a Pulitzer Finalist, Haskell won the National Academy of Science’s Best Book Award as well as many other literary awards. He was also the recipient of the Carnegie & Chase Professor of the Year Award in Tennessee where he is a professor of biology and environmental sciences at the University of the South. He is recognized for his innovative teaching, bringing activism to the classroom.
His scientific research in animal ecology, evolution and conservation is sponsored by the National Science Foundation, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Fish and Wildlife Service and the World Wildlife Fund. He serves on boards and advisory committees of local and national conservation groups.
Kathy Weisfeld, member of the planning committee, says that she keeps The Forest Unseen by her reading chair. She often reads the closest entry to understand something she saw on her daily walk in the forest. Sometimes she reads the entry first and journeys out to find what Haskell describes. She also says, “ All that goes on in one square meter is astonishing and he makes the science so accessible. It’s like reading a mystery or a poem. While I still kill them, I will never look at a tick in the same way again.” Haskell wrote,” The foot-waving tick is engaged… in questing behavior. This gives [them] a measure of Arthurian nobility,… tempering our disgust….The image of a quest is particularly apt because both the Knights of the Round Table and the Arachnids of the Leafy Forest seek the same end: a blood-filled Grail.”
Haskell newest book, Songs of the Trees, will be published by Viking in 2017.