December 4, 2021
Capacity for this event is extremely limited! We expect to sell out rapidly. A $5 ticket is REQUIRED to attend.
Join us for this event with two up and coming writers. Click HERE for tickets.
Julia Ridley Smith, Sum of Trifles
When Julia Ridley Smith’s parents died, they left behind a virtual museum of furniture, books, art, and artifacts. Between the contents of their home, the stock from their North Carolina antiques shop, and the ephemera of two lives lived, Smith faced a monumental task. What would she do with her parents’ possessions?
Smith’s wise and moving memoir in essays, The Sum of Trifles, peels back the layers of meaning surrounding specific objects her parents owned, from an eighteenth-century miniature to her father’s prosthetics. A vintage hi-fi provides a view of her often tense relationship with her father, whose love of jazz kindled her own artistic impulse. A Japanese screen embodies her mother’s principles of good taste and good manners, while an antebellum quilt prompts Smith to grapple with her family’s slaveholding legacy. Along the way, she turns to literature that illuminates how her inheritance shaped her notions of identity and purpose.
The Sum of Trifles offers up dark humor and raw feeling, mixed with an erudite streak. It’s a curious, thoughtful look at how we live in and with our material culture and how we face our losses as we decide what to keep and what to let go.
JULIA RIDLEY SMITH is the 2021-22 Kenan Visiting Writer at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has also taught creative writing and literature at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. Her essays and short stories have appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, Ecotone, Electric Literature, the New England Review, and The Southern Review among other publications. She lives in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Sarah Grunder Ruiz, Love, Lists, and Fancy Ships
Sometimes a yacht, a bold bucket list, and a kiss with a handsome stranger are all a person needs to dive into the deep end of life.
For the last year, yacht stewardess Jo Walker has been attempting to complete a bucket list of thirty things she wants to accomplish by her thirtieth birthday. Jo has almost everything she’s ever wanted, including a condo on the beach (though she’s the youngest resident by several decades) and an exciting job (albeit below deck) that lets her travel the world.
Jo is on track until the death of her nephew turns her life upside down, and the list falls by the wayside. But when her two nieces show up unannounced with plans to stay the summer, they discover her list and insist on helping Jo finish it. Though the remaining eight items (which include running a marathon, visiting ten countries, and sleeping in a castle) seem impossible to complete in twelve weeks, Jo takes on the challenge.
When she summons the courage to complete item number five–kiss a stranger–and meets Alex Hayes, all bets are off. As her feelings for Alex intensify and Jo’s inability to confront difficult emotions about her family complicates her relationships, she must learn to quit playing it safe with her heart before she loses what matters most.
SARAH GRUNDER RUIZ is a writer, educator, and karaoke enthusiast. Originally from South Florida, she now lives in Raleigh, North Carolina with her husband and two children. She holds an MFA in creative writing from North Carolina State University, where she now teaches First-Year Writing.