TCR Guest Author Series featuring Julia Franks

Book Title: Over the Plain Houses (Hub City Press, 2016)
Dates, Times, & Locations:
Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2018; 11:30 a.m.; SH-1500 (Classrooms Building) Perimeter College’s Decatur Campus
Thursday, Oct. 4, 2018; 11:30 a.m.; NB-1601 (Student Center) Perimeter College’s Dunwoody Campus

About Over the Plain Houses: It’s 1939, and the Federal Government has sent Virginia Furman—USDA agent and thoroughly modern woman—into the North Carolina mountains. Her mission: to ease hard-living rural homemakers into the twentieth century. It’s here, amongst the bonnets and home-bakes, that Virginia meets Irenie, the shy and shuffling wife of a local preacher. It’s a dangerous friendship for the women to pursue. Irenie’s husband, Brodis—threatened by modernity—has been acting strangely, his peculiar brand of fundamentalism warping into survivalist hellfire.

Fearing his touch, Irenie starts to ramble at night through the woods, storing strange keepsakes in a mountain crevice and sneaking back into bed with supernatural stealth. . .unaware, all the while, that she’s being stalked by the Bible-haunted man who fears his government and is staking his integrity upon an older way of life. Convinced that Irenie is consorting with the devil, Brodis brings about an act of violence that shakes his entire community, while his strained marriage threatens to explode.

About Julia Franks: Julia Franks is the author of Over the Plain Houses, her debut novel, for which she has won the 2018 Townsend Prize for Fiction; the 2017 Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award; the 2017 Georgia Author of the Year Award in Literary Fiction; the 2016 SIBA Book Award in Literary Fiction, and a Gold Independent Book Publishers Award (IPPY) in Literary Fiction. Over the Plain Houses was also noted as an NPR Best Book of 2016; one of the Chicago Review of Books Best Fiction Books of 2016; and one of Bustle’s Fifteen Great Appalachian Novels. In addition to writing fiction, Franks has also published essays in The New York Times, among other places.

An outdoorswoman, Franks has spent years kayaking the rivers and creeks of Tennessee, North Carolina, and West Virginia. Her roots are in the Southeastern mountains, but she lives in Atlanta, Georgia, where she crusades for more book choice in school curricula, and where she owns, The Loose Cannon, a web application that facilitates, tracks, and energizes reading choice and personalized reading in secondary school classrooms. More information about Julia Franks is on her Website.

In Julia’s Own Words: For me, novels come from questions. You have some question, or questions, that you can’t stop thinking about, can’t stop worrying over. So you start writing, and you don’t know where the questions are going to take you. . . . For me, Brodis propels the novel more than Irenie, mainly because I have more questions about him. What does it mean to believe the Bible is literally true? Where might that take a person? I actually like Brodis, partly because I made him, but also because he’s actually very introspective. . . . He also follows his own rules. What I mean is that, within the ethical system he’s created, he succeeds. He puts the Lord first. Likewise, he has a clear goal of the kind of person he wants to be, and he works very hard and makes real sacrifices to become that person. And, in the end, he does become the person. How many of us can say we’ve been able to do that?

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This reading is free and open to the public. Faculty members from the English and Humanities departments are strongly encouraged to bring their classes. For more information, contact Alicia Johanneson: ajohanneson@gsu.edu or 678.891.3275. To request disability accommodations at this event, please contact Jessie Weintraub, director of the Office of University Events Management at jweintraub1@gsu.edu or 404.413.1350. Please provide your name and the event’s name, date, and sponsor when making your request.

The Chattahoochee Review Guest Author Series connects the strong, vibrant, and diverse literary community The Chattahoochee Review has built over the course of its 37-year history to Perimeter College students with the intent that these students will have a greater opportunity to engage with real-world writers who can better shape their writing and understanding of literature in all of its forms.

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