Knoxville author Charles Dodd White headlines Emory & Henry Literary Festival

Charles Dodd White
Charles Dodd White, an associate professor of English at Pellissippi State, will be the featured author at Emory & Henry’s Literary Festival this week.

An associate professor of English at Pellissippi State Community College is the featured author at the 38th Annual Literary Festival at Emory & Henry College this week.

The works of Charles Dodd White of Knoxville will be the focus of this year’s festival, which is themed “Gothic Realism in Appalachian Literature.”

White will present a reading and hold a book signing at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 24, in Emory & Henry’s McGlothlin Center for the Arts – Black Box Theatre, as well as present a session on genre and tone and give a public interview on Friday, Oct. 25.

“It’s a great honor to have my work discussed by scholars,” White said. “You spend so much time sitting in a room alone trying to say something worthwhile that it’s meaningful when others respond to that value and talk about it in a way they talk about other pieces of serious fiction.”

Founded in 1982, the Emory & Henry Literary Festival celebrates an outstanding writer with ties to Appalachia. The designated writer participates in the festival, which includes papers by visiting scholars, and meets with students in various forums.

White is the author of three novels and a short story collection. He was inducted into the East Tennessee Writers Hall of Fame for fiction last October, and his latest novel, “In the House of Wilderness,” was named the 2018 Appalachian Book of the Year by the Appalachian Writers Association in June.

“Given the depth of characterization, the accurate depiction of the natural world and the lyrical prose present in Charles White’s fiction, it is not at all surprising that Emory and Henry College has chosen to devote this year’s literary festival to his works,” said Pellissippi State Interim Vice President of Academic Affairs Kathy Byrd. “Charles is an immensely gifted writer and an important voice in Appalachian studies. Pellissippi State is fortunate to call him our own.”

The festival, which is free and open to the public, will feature three sessions on Thursday and three on Friday, all in the MCA – Black Box Theatre, 30481 Garnand Drive, Emory, Virginia.

Presentations on White’s work include:

  • “Charles Dodd White’s Writing Life” by Associate Professor Wayne Thomas of Tusculum University at 3:30 p.m. Thursday;
  • “Gothic Realism in Charles Dodd White’s Short Fiction” by Lecturer Jessica Cory of Western Carolina University at 3:30 p.m. Thursday;
  • “A Shelter of Others” by Assistant Professor Bethann Bowman of Young Harris College at 1:30 p.m. Friday;
  • “Surprising Tenderness in Charles Dodd White’s Novels” by Professor Thomas Alan Holmes of East Tennessee State University; and
  • “Father and Son Relationships in the Work of Charles Dodd White” by Instructor Denton Loving of Lincoln Memorial University.

White himself will present “Writing What Bothers You:  Changing Genres when Changing Tone” at 10:30 a.m. Friday in addition to his reading, book signing and public interview sessions.

“I started trying to write seriously more than 25 years ago,” said White, whose next novel should be published late in 2020. “In that time a lot has changed, but I’m still under the weird impression that being a writer is simply one of the most interesting things you can do with your time.

“I’ve been pleased that my books have been getting increasing attention over the years,” he added. “It’s also rewarding to realize you change as you develop. I’m working on a book of essays at the moment. I like trying to tell the truth of the world in the form.”

Other presenters will focus their sessions on the broader topic of Gothic Realism, including former Pellissippi State Professor Carol Luther, who will present “The Gothic Tradition in British Literature: An Overview” at 10:30 a.m. Thursday.

For a complete schedule of the 38th Annual Literary Festival at Emory & Henry, visit For more information, contact Literary Festival Director Nicole Drewitz-Crockett at