F. Scott Fitzgerald Society Conference
Nov 6th - 10th, 2013
4. Special Topic Panel: World War I in Montgomery, Alabama
(Friday afternoon, 4:30-5:30 p.m.)
This breakout session will explore the Great War background of "The Last of the Belles" and other glimpses in the Fitzgeralds' work of the interaction between belles and soldiers. Moderated by historian Dan Puckett of Troy University, the panel will feature three great speakers: Marty Olliff, also of Troy and editor of The Great War in the Heart of Dixie, will speak on "Military Bases in Alabama." Montgomery historian and local treasure Mary Ann Neely will illuminate "The Montgomery Homefront," while Professor Howard Robinson of Alabama State University will address the overlooked subject of "African American Experiences." This will be a great opportunity to learn about the history of the Great War as it affected the South.
|Mary Ann Neely||Marty Olliff|
5. Lee Smith, Guests on Earth Reading and Booksigning
(Friday, Nov 8th at 8 p.m., Troy University Montgomery)
|We are delighted that one of the South's leading literary lights-and one of America's greatest living writers-is joining us to celebrate the publication of her latest novel. Fans know Lee Smith as the author of classics such as Fair and Tender Ladies, Saving Grace, and On Agate Hill. Her latest novel, Guests on Earth, will be published in October, just in time for the conference, and Ms. Smith and her publisher, Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, have graciously scheduled her Montgomery stop to coincide with our fête. This event will be free and open to the public. Guests on Earth takes place in Asheville, North Carolina, and figures around the horrific events of March 10-11, 1948 at Highland Home. HERE the author offers a preview of the plot and some of her motivations for tackling the story. Below is a description of the book:|
Evalina Toussaint, the orphaned child of an exotic dancer in New Orleans, is just thirteen when she is admitted to Highland Hospital in Asheville, North Carolina. The year is 1936 and the mental hospital is under the direction of celebrated psychiatrist, Robert S. Carroll. His innovative program of treatment for mental and nervous disorders and addictions is based on exercise, diet, art and occupational therapies, and experimental shock therapy.
Evalina finds herself in the company of some notable fellow patients, including Zelda Fitzgerald, estranged wife of F. Scott, who takes the young piano prodigy under her wing. Evalina becomes the accompanist for the musical programs at the hospital. This provides privileged insight into the events that transpire over the next 12 years, culminating in a tragic fire-its mystery unsolved to this day-that killed nine women in a locked ward, Zelda among them. At the risk of Dr. Carroll's ire and at all costs, Evalina listens, observes, remembers-and tells us everything.