FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (May 4, 2022): WNC Historical Association launches 2022 ReadWNC Series to explore fact behind local fiction

ASHEVILLE, North Carolina – The Western North Carolina Historical Association (WNCHA) will kick off its 2022 ReadWNC literary series with Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle’s book, Even As We Breathe, which received the association’s prestigious Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award in 2021.

At the first event, which will be held via Zoom on Tuesday, May 24 at 6:00pm, author Saunooke Clapsaddle and historian Dr. Barbara Duncan will discuss the fact behind the fictional depiction of mid-20th century Cherokee life and culture, the real-life detention of Axis diplomats and their families at Asheville’s Grove Park Inn during World War II, and other local historical tidbits that appear in the novel, including a visit from Charles “Ches” McCartney, also known as “The Goat Man” and memories of drinking Cheerwine soda.

July’s novel, Guests on Earth by Lee Smith, “is set at Highland Mental Hospital in Asheville during the years 1936-1948, the year of the terrible fire in which Zelda Fitzgerald perished along with eight other women patients in a locked ward on the top floor. Her body was identified only by her charred ballet slipper—for the brilliant Zelda was still a talented dancer and choreographer as well as a writer and a visual artist.” Executive Director of The Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum in Montgomery, Alabama, Dr. Alaina Doten will sit down with Máire Martello, author of Stepping Out with Scott and Zelda: Touring the Fitzerald’s Montgomery to separate true historical events from Smith’s imagined fiction.

In October, author Sharyn McCrumb will discuss the extensive historical research she did to craft her novel, The Ballad of Frankie Silver, a fictionalized account of “the true story of Frankie Silver, an 18-year old frontier girl, hanged for murder in Burke County, North Carolina, in 1833, for a crime she might not have committed”.

The 2022 ReadWNC Series is a three-part virtual series that will be held via Zoom. Tickets can be purchased for individual events or as a full series at a discount. Though not required, participants are encouraged to read the books in advance and bring questions for discussion.

Tuesday, May 24 from 6:00-7:00pm
Even as We Breathe with author Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle and Dr. Barbara Duncan

Tuesday, July 19 from 6:00-7:00pm
Guests on Earth with Dr. Alaina Doten and Máire Martello

Tuesday, October 4 from 6:00-7:00pm
The Ballad of Frankie Silver with author Sharyn McCrumb

For more information about the series, to purchase the books, or to register please visit:


Contact: Trevor Freeman
WNCHA Public Programs Director
[email protected]