Shari Smith

Writers Rock and Read: A Literary Hootenanny | Saturday, May 16, 3:00 - 4:30, Lexington Meeting Room A
Genre(s) Nonfiction

Shari Smith, author of I Am a Town and a contributor to The Shoe Burnin’: Stories of Southern Soul, also is the producer of the “Shoe Burnin’ Show.” She has been published in Thicket Magazine, Wildlife in North Carolina, Western North Carolina Magazine, O. Henry Magazine, Pinestraw Magazine and Abilene Living; and she also has written for BMI (Broadcast Music Incorporated).

Book Title: I Am A Town

In her first nonfiction book, writer and blogger Shari Smith takes us to the small town of Claremont, N.C., where we meet characters so vivid and unforgettable that you’d swear they stepped straight out of a novel.

Smith chronicles the lives and adventures of the Great Margaret Garrison; Russell Boggs; the boys of the Back Table at The Café; Raymond, who lives in a storage unit by the highway; her dog “retired dog” Cannonball Kate and many more. If you’ve lived in the South, or in a small town, you know all these types — if by different names.

Upon moving to Claremont years ago, it was Smith’s intention to hide, feeling a need to be “very, very alone.” But the town had other ideas. And soon Smith was embraced by the good people of Claremont. In turn, she embraced them. Now she tells their stories with a sense of compassion, understanding and place in a style that’s as easy and honest as a country-and-western song. “I am afraid to disappoint Claremont,” Smith said in a recent interview. “To let them down would crush me. I feel a responsibility to make certain they are not clichés, not someone’s version of rural Southerners. I hope that I write so that people see what I see and I rarely write about anyone I don’t love.”