2012 Literary Festival Includes Local Authors and Close Ties to the Area

Brunswick, GA When Bill Starr, Executive Director of the Georgia Center for the Book, considered the Golden Isles as a destination for the Georgia Literary Festival, the abundance of local talent was one of the draws. “The area is gorgeous, and there are so many outstanding writers in the region that we knew it would be among the best and biggest book festivals we've ever held,” he said. This year’s Festival will be held November 9-10 on Jekyll Island, with some ancillary activities on November 11.

The Georgia Center for the Book, which is headquartered in Decatur, is the annual sponsor of the state literary festival, which began in 1999 as a way to celebrate writers and writing in a different part of Georgia every year. They partner with the Georgia Humanities Council to provide initial funding for the event. This year’s Festival the 14th is their first visit to the southeastern coast of the state.

Tina McElroy Ansa, a St. Simons Island resident, serves on the advisory council of the Georgia Center for the Book. Her novel, Taking After Mudear, was listed on the Center’s “Top 25 Books by Living Georgia Writers” in 2008. Taking After Mudear, her sequel to Ugly Ways, is the book Ansa has selected to feature for her Festival presentation on Saturday afternoon, November 10, at the Jekyll Island Convention Center.

Although now writing full time and living in St. Augustine, Steve Berry practiced law for 30 years in St. Marys, serving in public office for 14 years. His genre is thrillers based on fascinating historic questions - the mysteries of “what if” or “what happened to.” After many manuscript rejections (85, according to Berry), one of his novels was accepted for publication by Ballantine Books The Amber Room. He has 14 million books in print which have been translated into 40 languages. His novels regularly debut on the New York Times bestseller list. The Columbus Affair, his most recent release, will be featured at the Festival.

June Hall McCash discovered Jekyll Island and the Georgia coast in 1983. A few years later, she bought a house on Jekyll, splitting her time between Georgia and Tennessee. Her son and co-author of The Jekyll Island Club Hotel, Bren Martin, was born in Tennessee, but he’s been a regular visitor to Jekyll Island for nearly 30 years. She has authored or co-authored four books about Jekyll Island and her fiction includes local coastal settings.

The Jekyll Island Club Hotel, her 10th book, was written as part of the 125th anniversary celebration of the historic hotel and will be released just before the November Festival. Non-fiction, the book is part of the Festival’s history track. McCash and Martin will discuss the book Saturday morning at 11:00 in the Jekyll Island Club Hotel Ballroom. A complimentary tour of the hotel will follow the presentation. (Reservations for the tour are recommended: 912.635.2600.)

McCash will discuss two of her novels, Plum Orchard and Almost to Eden, as part of the fiction track during the afternoonat the Jekyll Island Convention Center.

Jack McDevitt is a well-known name to science fiction fans. His stories and novels are regularly nominated for and frequently win the top prizes in the genre. McDevitt first came to the area in 1980 for a one-year assignment at FLETC. Five years later he returned on permanent assignment and he says he and his wife, Maureen, have acquired too many good friends to even consider leaving. As part of the fiction track, McDevitt will discuss science fiction in general and three works in particular: Firebird (nominated for the 2012 Nebula); The Cassandra Project; and editing Going Interstellar.

Like McDevitt, Pamela Bauer Mueller has a FLETC connection. She first experienced the Golden Isles as a student at FLETC in 1988. She met her husband-to-be, Michael, while there and they made a pact that if they married, they would return to the area to live some day. Twelve years later they did just that Michael as an instructor at FLETC and Pamela as a full-time writer. Mueller wrote five children’s books the Kiska trilogy and two about Aloha, a guide dog for the blind before focusing on historical fiction. She had read Eugenia Price’s novels about the area, but discovered others whose stories she felt compelled to tell, such as Neptune Small’s and Mary Musgrove’s. A former actress and model, Spanish language tutor (she lived in Mexico City for 18 years), and US Customs Agent, the Jekyll Island resident will share her sense of adventure and drama, as well as her love of the area, as she presents Splendid Isolation in the fiction track.

William Rawlings, Jr., is a physician as well as a writer. His practice and his daughter’s high school are in Sandersville, but he also has a house on Sea Island and he comes and goes as time and his daughter’s schedule permit. His first five novels are thrillers, including The Lazard Legacy and The Rutherford Cipher. A history buff, Rawlings planned to debut his first non-fiction book at the Festival, A Killing on Ring Jaw Bluff, but a rescheduled 2013 publishing date shifted his presentation to fiction - The Mile High Club, his most recent novel.

Janisse Ray grew up in Baxley, about 75 miles from Brunswick, and now lives on her farm in Reidsville, the same distance, more or less. Her first book, Ecology of a Cracker Childhood, is a Southern environmental classic and a paean to the longleaf pine ecosystem. Drifting Into Darien, published last year, chronicles her week-long journey down the Altamaha River. Her passion for plants and growing is reflected in this year’s book, The Seed Underground: A Growing Revolution to Save Food, which she’ll present at the Festival. Writing prose as evocative and melodic as poetry, Ray will also be a featured panelist for The Georgia Review contributors’ discussion at the conclusion of Saturday’s programs at the Jekyll Island Convention Center, “What Worlds Do Authors Save?”

Jeffrey Small, Jr., was born in Brunswick and lived on St. Simons Island as a toddler. His parents moved to Atlanta, but are part-time residents of Sea Island. Small’s life has taken him from Brunswick to Bhutan and back. He is a graduate of Yale and the Harvard Law School with a Masters in the Study of Religions from Oxford University in England. He studied yoga in India, practiced Buddhist meditation in Bhutan, earned a Black Sash in Kung Fu with a specialization in the Internal Arts, competed with his wife as US Champion amateur ballroom dancers, founded MDH Partners in Atlanta, serves on the Board of Trustees of The General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church in New York, and is passionate about theological discourse and spirituality. His first suspense novel, The Breath of God, which he’ll be discussing at the Festival, won the Nautilus Book Awards’ Gold Medal for fiction.

Although he now lives in Pawleys Island, South Carolina, Jesse Tullos is a Brunswick native and lived there and on St. Simons Island for a total of 24 years. In fact, his mother and two brothers still live in Brunswick. A graduate of UGA’s Grady School of Journalism, Tullos was a newspaper reporter and editor for 35 years. His first job was as a cub reporter at The Brunswick News. Part of the history track, Tullos’ book chronicles a historic moment in local football history The Red Terrors: The Story of Glynn Academy’s Drive to Football Glory in 1964.

All of the Festival presentations at the Jekyll Island Convention Center on Saturday, November 10 are free and open to the general public. McCash’s presentation at the Jekyll Island Club Hotel on Saturday morning is also free.

The fiction track of the Festival is sponsored by Southeast Georgia Health System and the history track, by GP Cellulose.
Release Date: 8/31/2012
Source: College of Coastal Georgia

Media Contact:
Peggy L. Golden
Staff Liaison to the 2012 Georgia Literary Festival