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Volume 26, Number 5 — May 2019

Sunday with Friends hosts director and writer Collete Burson

March 28, 2018

The Washington County Public Library, Abingdon, Virginia, hosts Collete Burson and Wiley Cash during April.

Burson, the Abingdon native who made the recent film “Permanent,” visits Abingdon and participates in a number of public discussions about her film career and the making of “Permanent.”

Burson is the featured speaker in the Sunday with Friends series, Sunday, April 8, at 3 p.m. at the Washington County Public Library. On Monday, April 9, at 1 p.m., she is at Virginia Highlands Community College in room ISC 130, where she will be talking to the students, staff and community members. Finally, Burson conducts question and answer sessions later that Monday after the 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. showings of “Permanent” at the Abingdon Cinemall.

The film is based on Burson’s memories of growing up in Abingdon. It stars Academy-Award winner Patricia Arquette, Rainn Wilson and Kira McLean. In the 1980s, “perms” are all the rage, and 13-year-old Aurelie dreams about getting one to finally fit into her new school. However, when her clueless parents take her to a hairdressing academy to save a few dollars, things go incredibly wrong.

The film is about adolescence, socially awkward family members, and “bad hair.” Burson is the award-winning writer/director of the HBO series, “Hung,” which ran for three seasons, as well as an earlier feature film, “Coming Soon.”

Burson’s visit is sponsored by the Friends of the Washington County Public Library and the Arts Array cultural outreach series at Virginia Highlands Community College.

Cash, the most acclaimed young Appalachian novelist, is featured Sunday, April 29, at 3 p.m., at the Washington County Public Library, Abingdon, Virginia, as part of the annual Sunday with Friends series.

Cash celebrates the publication of his third novel, ”The Last Ballad.” Set in the Appalachian foothills of North Carolina in 1929 and inspired by actual events, the book chronicles a single mother’s desperate struggle for her rights in a textile mill. Lyrical, heartbreaking and haunting, it is a moving tale of courage in the face of oppression.

Christine Baker Kline, the author of “Orphan Train,’’ said, “Lives are changed in this intimate and yet expansive novel about a real-life 1929 North Carolina mill strike. With subtlety and insight, Wiley Cash reveals the dignity and humanity of people asking for a fair shot in an unfair world. Fraught with the turmoil of social change, ‘The Last Ballad’ moves inexorably toward a devastating moment of reckoning. A timely and topical portrait of a community in crisis.”

Lee Smith has said that the book is amazingly relevant for today’s world, when workers’ rights are besieged as they haven’t been since the Great Depression. Cash is a writer-in-residence at UNC-Asheville and is the author of two earlier novels, “A Land More Kind Than Home” and “The Dark Road of Mercy.”

A reception and book sale follow the presentation. Cash’s visit is sponsored by the Friends of the Washington County Public Library.

Topics: Literature

Wiley Cash