All Festival events are open to the public. Most are free; some require reservations and/or tickets due to limited seating.

Events that require registration:

  • Chris Arvidson writing workshop: “Getting Things Started: Filling Your Writing Notebook with Beginnings”,Wednesday, September 14, 8:30 – 10:30 a.m.
  •  Mark Powell writing workshop, parts I and II: Writing strong openings, Wednesday, September 14, and Friday September 17, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.  
  • Page Turners reception at Ashe Arts Center, Thursday, September 17, 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. If you’re a PAGE TURNER, join us for this evening reception and give us the opportunity to say “thanks.”
  • Judy Goldman writing workshop: Writing Memoirs, Friday, September 16, 9:00 – 11:00 a.m.
  • Literary Trails Luncheon with Georgann Eubanks. There is a $10 charge for the Literary Trails Luncheon. Friday, September 16, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Scroll down through the events schedule listed below and fill out the online form.

Please call the Ashe County Arts Council at 336-846-2787 if you need assistance with tickets, reservations, and details.
Plan to arrive a few minutes early to events to be seated prior to program start.


Yes! If the event is not listed above, registration is not required and anyone can attend without advance sign up.


Almost all events take place downstairs in the Community Room of the Ashe County Public Library, 148 Library Road in West Jefferson, unless otherwise noted in the description below.


1:00 – 2:00 p.m. Festival Read Wrap-Up.

Fight Songs: A Story of Love and Sports in a Complicated South, by Ed Southern. A presentation and discussion of this year’s Festival Read, led by Barry Lawing.

7:30 p.m. Charlotte Blake Alston. Performance.

Location: Ashe Arts Center, 303 School Ave., West Jefferson

Alston, a storyteller and performance artist, brings her unique talent to Ashe County, providing an evening that promises to be memorable.


8:30 – 10:30 a.m. Chris Arvidson. Writing Workshop. “Getting Things Started: Filling Your Writing Notebook with Beginnings.”

*Registration Required* 

This session is for writers of any genre and any level of experience. Each participant will end the workshop with the beginnings of several pieces to expand and revise. Registration is limited to 25 participants.

11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Terry Roberts. Reading.

Roberts is the author of five novels, including The Sky Club released in July 2022. This event is a special feature presented by the Friends of the Ashe County Public Library.

2:00 – 3:30 p.m. Ed Southern. Reading.

Since 2008, Southern has served as executive director of the nonprofit North Carolina Writers’ Network. His most recent work, Fight Songs: a Story of Love and Sports in a Complicated South, our Festival Read, was a finalist for the 2022 Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) Southern Book Prize.

4:00 – 5:30 p.m. Anne Shelby. Reading.

Shelby has authored books for children and adults including The Adventures of Molly Whuppie and Other Appalachian Folktales, an American Folklore Association Aesop Accolade winner.

6:00 – 8:00 p.m. Mark Powell. Writing Workshop, Part I.

*Registration Required*

Novels and short stories both rely on strong openings that establish both stakes and expectations. We will look at examples of strong openings and discuss why they work. Participants will be asked to write the opening 150-300 words of a novel or short story to bring to the second session. Registration is limited to 25 participants, and reservations are required for both Parts I and II.


9:00 – 10:30 a.m. Charlie Lovett. Reading.

A Winston-Salem native, Lovett’s breakthrough came with the novel, The Bookman’s Tale, a New York Times bestseller. Most recently, he penned Escaping Dreamland, a novel about four authors in 20th century New York City.

11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Paul Jones. Reading.

Jones, twice a nominee for the Pushcart Prize, has been publishing poetry since high school. His book, Something Wonderful, was published in 2021, the same year he was inducted into the NC State Computer Science Hall of Fame.

2:00 – 3:30 p.m. Mark Powell. Reading.

Powell’s most recent novel, published in April 2022, is Lioness, and follows six previous novels including Small Treasons. Recipient of several fellowships, including from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Fulbright Foundation, he directs the Creative Writing Program at Appalachian State University in Boone.

4:00 – 5:30 p.m. Sheila Turnage. Reading.

New York Times bestselling author Sheila Turnage is best known for her Newbery Honor book, Three Times Lucky, and the award-winning Mo & Dale Mysteries series that followed. Her poetry collection, Just Off Half-Moon Road, came out in 2021.

6:00 – 7:00 p.m. Page Turners Reception.

Location: Ashe Arts Center, 303 School Ave., West Jefferson

If you’re a PAGE TURNER, join us for this evening reception and give us the opportunity to say “thanks.”

7:30 – 9:00 p.m. Georgann Eubanks, Paul Jones, and Ed and Jamie Southern. Panel Discussion.

Location: Ashe Arts Center, 303 School Ave., West Jefferson

Join this lively discussion of the state of publishing and book selling today. There will be time for a Q&A, so bring your questions for this team of experts!


9:00 – 11:00 a.m. Judy Goldman. Virtual Writing Workshop.

*Registration Required* 

“Everything – Really, Everything! – Judy Goldman Knows About Writing Memoir” promises to be interesting, inspiring, and fun. For both beginning and experienced writers. Registration is limited to 50 participants and a reservation is required. We will be in person at the library, Judy will join us virtually.

11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Literary Trails Luncheon with Georgann Eubanks.

*Reservations Required* 

From the mountains to the coast on North Carolina’s Literary Trails to Saving the Wild South’s plants from extinction, Georgann always takes us on a journey, with plenty of insights and laughter. Boxed lunches are available for $10. 

2:00 – 3:30 p.m. Judy Goldman. Reading.

Join Judy as she reads from and shares more about her new memoir, Child, which was published in May 2022 and has been named a Katie Couric Media Must-Read Book for 2022. We will be in person, Judy will join us virtually.

4:00 – 5:30 p.m. Donna Everhart. Reading.

USA Today and IndieBound bestselling author of Southern fiction, Donna Everhart returns with her latest novel, The Saints of Swallow Hill and immerses readers in a unique setting – a turpentine camp buried deep in the vast pine forests of Georgia during the Great Depression, for a captivating story of friendship, and survival. Other works include the Indie Next List selection The Education of Dixie Dupree, The Forgiving Kind, The Moonshiner’s daughter, and the Southeastern Library Association award winning novel The Road to Bittersweet.

6:00 – 8:00 p.m. Mark Powell. Writing Workshop, Part II.

*Registration Required*

See Part I description above. Registration is limited to 25 participants, and reservations for both Parts I and II are required.


9:00 – 10:30 a.m. Paul Jones. Reading.
Location: Old Orchard Creek General Store, Lansing, North Carolina.

Jones has published poems in Poetry, Hudson Review, Red Fez, North Carolina Literary Review, and Broadkill Review, as well as in cookbooks, travel anthologies, and in collections about passion and love.

11:00 a.m. – Noon. Kelly Kazek. Reading.

An award-winning journalist, humor columnist and author, Kazek writes two series of children’s books for It’s a Southern Thing. Her first series, including Y is for Y’all and No Hissy Fits, celebrates Southern culture in a fun way that both kids and grownups love. In May 2022, her second series kicked off with Mo Possum is Awesome: A Southern Critters Book.

1:30 – 2:30 p.m. Stacy McAnulty. Reading.

A children’s book author, McAnulty has written over 30 books, including the Indie bestselling middle-grade novel, The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl, and the 2017 Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Honor Book, Excellent Ed.