Appalachian Thursday – Place as Character

If you haven’t caught on yet, I LOVE these Appalachian Mountains. And my hope is that when I write about Appalachia in my books the sense of place is so strong it’s practically its own character. I even go so far as to lead a workshop about “Setting as Character.” And I’ll be leading that very class at the John C. Campbell Folk School May 15-17, 2020.

I’ve had the opportunity to teach classes at several regional writing conferences and book festivals. I really enjoy sharing the tips and tricks I’ve learned and hearing from writers at all different stages of the process.

I’m always excited about leading a class. But I’m SUPER excited about this one!

The folk school began in 1925, based on the model of Danish folkehojskole. These rural schools have no exams or degrees but rather focus on “learning for life.”

In the early 1900s John C. Campbell came from Wisconsin to the Southern Appalachians where he and his wife studied mountain life from Georgia to West Virginia. They learned about everything from farming practices to folk ballads to handicrafts. After John died in 1919, his wife Olive and her friend Marguerite Butler, decided to take what they had learned to start a folkehojskole in Appalachia.

They approached a storekeeper in Brasstown, NC, with the idea and promised to return in a few weeks to see if the locals were interested in helping. When they returned they were met by more than 200 people who offered labor and supplies to make the dream a reality.

Today, the school offers a variety of classes including handicrafts, music, art, nature studies, and writing. And in May, I get to be one of those teaching writing! If you’d like to learn, write, and talk about your writing, I hope you’ll consider joining me. See you in Western North Carolina!

Published by Sarah Loudin Thomas

Author, wife, child of God.

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