The Friends of the Library invites the community to hear author Joshilyn Jackson speak in the meeting room at the library at 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 20.
Jackson's bestselling debut novel "Gods in Alabama" won the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance's 2005 novel of the year award and was a No. 1 BookSense pick. "Between, Georgia" was also a No. 1 BookSense pick, making Jackson the first author in BookSense history to receive No. 1 status in back to back years. Jackson read the audio version of "Between, Georgia" and won a Listen Up award from Publisher's Weekly and made Audiofile's Best of 2006 list. Both books were chosen for the Books-A-Million Book Club. Her third novel "The Girl Who Stopped Swimming" will be published in March 2008.
Joshilyn, a southerner, lives outside of Atlanta with her husband, their two children, a dog and a 23-pound Maine Coon cat. She dropped out of college to pursue a career as an actor, working in regional repertoire and traveling the southern third of the country with a dinner theatre troupe. She soon realized she preferred writing plays to acting in them.
She returned to college, attending Georgia State and majoring in English literature, focusing on modern and medieval theater. Graduating with honors, she then moved to Chicago and earned a master's in English from the University of Illinois at Chicago. While at the University of Illinois, she taught English, in her words, "trying to explain the function of the gerund and why Moby Dick is a great book to crowds of hung-over 18 year olds." She won the Student's Choice Award for Best English Instructor in her first year of teaching.
Jackson admits to being a rabid fan of southern fiction, especially Flannery O'Conner, William Faulkner, Eudora Welty and Lee Smith.
"But I can't read them when I am working - a truly great southern book like 'To Kill a Mockingbird' can put me on the floor, foaming and biting the carpet, and yelling 'Why, Lord, Why! Why do I even try to write when Harper Lee already said everything worth saying perfectly,' said Jackson.
"Gods in Alabama" is the story of Arlene Fleet. She left a small town in Alabama to go to college, vowing never to return. She made God three promises if God would make sure the body of the high school quarterback would never be found. Ten years later, questions are raised by an old school mate.
"Between, Georgia" centers of the town of Between, population 90. A feud between the Fretts, who practically own the town, and the Crabtrees, who rent space in its jail cells, is about to explode and drag Nonny Frett, born a Crabtree but raised a Frett, into the middle of it.
Her next novel "The Girl Who Stopped Swimming" will center around a stay-at-home-mom who gets sucked into a 20-year-old nest of secrets when a young girl drowns in her backyard pool. She and her sister go to war against the willful blindness that southerners oftentimes practice and call good manners.
Jackson will have books available for purchase and will sign them. Coffee and dessert will be served.