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Literature and Author Receptions


Thursday June 13  4:00-6:00

Author Book Talk & Wine Reception: "I Come From a Place"

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Join artist and author Alan Shuptrine in a private setting at one of the plateau’s many beautiful homes for an intimate evening discussing his book, I Come From a Place, inspired by his solo museum exhibition. Focusing on the land, people, and culture found along the Appalachian Trail, Alan highlights our ancestors hailing from the United Kingdom and their influence on our culture today. Additionally, he will share stories about his childhood and upbringing in Highlands, as well as details about his upcoming Artist in Residency at The Carnegie Club at Skibo Castle in Scotland. Copies of Shuptrine’s book will be available for purchase and personalization.

Location: Private Residence. Address will be emailed to the registered attendees closer to the program date.

Presenter: Alan Shuptrine, nationally awarded artist and master craftsman, is renowned for his intricate watercolors, oils, gilded panels & handcrafted gold leaf frames. Alan continues the legacy of Realism painting established by his father, Hubert Shuptrine (1936-2006). Shuptrine has exhibited in several museums, including his solo 4-museum exhibition with his published award-winning book, I Come From A Place. He has exhibited and taught at The Florence Academy of Art, Italy, and recently was the Artist in Residence at Palmetto Bluff Resort, South Carolina. Continuing with his love of the outdoors and nature, Alan’s new body of work will be on exhibit at The Carnegie Club, Scotland 2025.

Friday June 14  2:00-4:00

Wine and Sign: An Afternoon with Ron Rash 


Join CLE for an afternoon with award-winning and NC Literary Hall of Fame author, Ron Rash. This exclusive, intimate event will take place on Friday, June 14 from 2:00-4:00pm at High Country Wine and Provisions in Highlands, NC. Ron will present a reading from his latest novel, "The Caretaker," as well as a Q&A. City Lights Bookstore will also be on site to sell copies of "The Caretaker," for signing. Wine and charcuterie will be provided for all attendees. This is an event you won't want to miss!

Location: High Country Wine and Provisions (Highlands, NC)

Author: RON RASH is the author of the PEN/Faulkner finalist and New York Times bestselling novel Serena, in addition to the critically acclaimed novels The Risen, Above the Waterfall, The Cove, One Foot in Eden, Saints at the River, and The World Made Straight; five collections of poems; and seven collections of stories, among them Burning Bright, which won the 2010 Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award, Nothing Gold Can Stay, a New York Times bestseller, Chemistry and Other Stories, which was a finalist for the 2007 PEN/Faulkner Award, and In the Valley. Three times the recipient of the O. Henry Prize, his books have been translated into seventeen languages. He teaches at Western Carolina University.

Wednesday June 19  4:00-6:00

Author Book Talk & Cocktail Reception: “Tell It True”


Join us at a beautiful home overlooking Brushy Face for a cocktail reception, book signing and discussion of John Pruitt’s novel of historical fiction, Tell It True. Drawing on his experience as a reporter covering the murder of an African American serviceman by Klansmen on a rural road in Georgia in 1964, Pruitt weaves his story around journalists who cover the murder, the lawmen who must solve it, the civil rights leaders who capitalize upon it, the politicians who exploit it, and the Atlanta magnate who fears its impact on the New South image he desperately wants to protect. TV news cameraman Gil Matthews and AP reporter Mindy Williams team up to follow the twists and turns of the investigation as rural, state and federal lawmen clash, a civil rights leader fends off a black power challenger, and voters take sides in a governor’s race pitting virulent racist Roscoe Pike against moderate underdog Harrison Parker. The book focuses on the challenges faced by journalists as they covered a societal revolution and brought the dramatic and sometimes violent scenes to television screens around the world night after night. Taking us to a time when the future of the South hung in the balance, readers will no doubt recognize that many of those same troubles are still with us today. “There were many momentous stories I covered during my career,” says Pruitt, “but none equaled the magnitude of the struggles for racial equality in the South.”

Location: Private Residence. Address will be emailed to the registered attendees closer to the program date.

Presenter: John Pruitt covered the news of Atlanta and Georgia as television anchor and reporter for almost half a century. His major stories include the civil rights movement, the funeral of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Jimmy Carter’s gubernatorial and presidential campaigns, the inaugurations of Presidents Carter and Clinton, eleven Democratic and Republican conventions, the 1983 bombing of a Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, and the aftermath of the September 11th attack on the World Trade Center. His reporting career included more than 15 years at WXIA-TV and 27 years at WSB in Atlanta, during most of which he anchored newscasts and reported the news. Since retirement in 2010, John has continued to make periodic appearances on WSB to comment on politics and other important stories. He was inducted into the Georgia Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame and the Atlanta Press Club Hall of Fame. He has won many awards, among them 10 Emmys, the Silver Circle Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and the Pioneer Broadcaster Award from UGA. Pruitt’s novel, Tell It True, is based on his experiences covering the civil rights movement in the 1960s. Pruitt received a history degree from Davidson College.

Wednesday June 26  2:00-4:00

“ Journey Back Into The Vault. In Search of my Faded Cuban Childhood Footprints”

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Join author Mario Cartaya as he dives into one of the most relentlessly complicated, international political dynamics of the last 60 years: the tortured relationship between Cuba and the United States - with Island Cubans and Cuban Americans caught in the middle. He sheds light on the Cuban Diaspora’s collateral damage: including the separation of families, usurped futures, dreams denied on both sides of the Florida Straits, and the process of adaptation and metamorphosis into the new culture, language, customs, and idiosyncrasies of the United States for those who sought refuge in America. His book, Journey Back Into The Vault tells the story of when he first returns to his native country of Cuba, 56 years after fleeing it in traumatic circumstances as a small child. He seeks to reclaim memories lost during his metamorphosis into an American, see what became of the places synonymous with his first years of life, and reunite with the family he once left behind - even if only at their final resting place. Along the way, his seven day journey rewards us with his rediscovery of 1950’s Cuba, its historical contrasts with the Cuba of today, and the island’s challenges going forward.

Location:  CLE Lecture Hall

Presenter: Mario Cartaya was born in 1951 to a middle class family living in Havana, Cuba. Eight years later, the winds of Castro’s Revolution swept over his country, leaving Mario’s family with no choice but to seek refuge in the US. Mario eventually attended the University of Florida; earning a Bachelors Degree in Architecture (High Honors) and a Masters in Building Construction. Four years later - in 1979 - Mario founded Cartaya and Associates Architects PA , the Fort Lauderdale, Florida firm he headed for 43 years, until his retirement in 2022. In 2019, his many architectural accomplishments were read into the record of the US House of Representatives. In 2022, an American flag was flown over the US Capitol to celebrate his legacy - coinciding with his retirement. Mario, now an author, approaches writing non-fiction books with the same passion and creativity that for so long characterized his life of excellence and award-winning designs.

Thursday June 27  5:30-8:30

Book of the Year: “The Caretaker”
This Program is Sponsored By Bobby and Ginny May

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Join us in one of Highlands’ many beautiful homes to enjoy a catered dinner while we examine a book of the last year (2023) that achieved literary acclaim. Since the Book of the Year is too new to be enshrined as a classic, we will have plenty of room to debate its merits and shortcomings. This year we will explore the latest novel by our region’s most famous writer: The Caretaker by Ron Rash. His book opens with a vividly described, devastating moment from the Korean War that propels a tortured series of events in and around Blowing Rock, North Carolina, in 1951. Blackburn Gant, a disfigured and reclusive cemetery caretaker, becomes drawn into his veteran friend’s traumatic life; Gant must learn to navigate love, hatred, and devastating betrayal. John Grisham praised The Caretaker for its “wicked plot.” The backstory of this novel is equally interesting. We will discuss why it was Rash’s most difficult novel (after four years of struggle, he almost gave it up) and how his twenty-second book is by far his most personal. Please plan on reading The Caretaker (Doubleday 2023) before attending so that you may engage in the discussion; we will read the hardcover edition.

Location: Private Residence. Address will be emailed to the registered attendees closer to the program date.

Presenter: Dr. Brian Railsback is a Professor of English at Western Carolina University, where he served as founding Dean of The Honors College and Chair of the Faculty. He teaches creative writing and U.S. literature. He has published a novel, short stories, a scholarly book, and numerous essays. He has lectured or taught courses in Cuba, Georgia, Hungary, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, and Portugal. In 2022, he was selected as a Fiction Participant at the Bread Loaf Writers Conference and in 2023 was named the Steve Kemp Writer in Residence at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

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