HUNTINGTON — The August Writers Can Read monthly event will be held at 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 20 at Empire Books and News at Pullman Square in Huntington. Nancy Abrams, Mark Henson, and Don Hatfield will be the featured readers.
The reading is free and open to the public.
Hatfield will be reading from his new memoir, “Newspaperman: A Memoir,“from Bowen Books. From 1953 until 2000, Hatfield spent 47 years in the newspaper industry. During his career, he was a part-time sports writer to president, publisher and editor who chalked up 32 years with the Huntington newspapers before being promoted to Tucson, Arizona.
Hatfield, who previously published a book of his newspaper columns as well as a short story book, said the memoir has been six years in the making. He began by compiling dozens of behind-the-scenes stories of some of his experiences through the decades.
Hatfield, who played high school basketball against Hal Greer, writes about covering Greer integrating Marshall University basketball, and being over the newsroom in Huntington as they covered some of the region’s greatest tragedies from the Marshall University plane
crash and the Silver Bridge collapse to Buffalo Creek.
The memoir also covers his hard decision to move west where he spent 15 years as regional vice president over newspapers in El Paso, Santa Fe, Tucson and a USA Today print site outside of Phoenix. Hatfield was also the president, editor and publisher of The Tucson Citizen.
Nancy L. Abrams, is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism, where she trained as a photojournalist. She has worked for over four decades as a photographer, writer, and editor at The Preston County News and the Dominion Post. Here, she edited the Sunday magazine, “Panorama.” She holds an MFA in creative writing-nonfiction from The New School.
Abrams will be reading from her book, “The Climb from Salt Lick: A Memoir of Appalachia,” where she describes coming to West Virginia in the mid-1970s plunging into life as a small-town journalist. She befriends the hippies on the commune one mountaintop over, rents a cabin in beautiful Salt Lick Valley, and falls in love with a local boy. Within these struggles, she is wrestling to balance the demands of a job and a personal life. She learns how to survive in Appalachia — how to heat with coal and wood, how to chop kindling, plant a garden, and preserve produce. All these experiences are described as she uses words and pictures to tell the rich stories of those around her.
Michael Henson is author of four books of fiction and four collections of poetry and has worked as an addiction counselor and community organizer. His work has been published in Still: The Journal, Appalachian Heritage, and many other periodicals. He is a co-editor of Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel, an annual publication of Southern Appalachian Writers Cooperative.
“The Way the World Is: the Maggie Boylan Stories,” an Appalachian Ohio book set amid the opiate epidemic, was the 2014 winner of the Brighthorse Prize for Short Fiction. He has worked as a teacher, a factory hand, a community organizer, and a substance abuse counselor and is a member of the Southern Appalachian Writers Cooperative. He lives in Cincinnati.
After the readings wrap up, depending on time available, there will be a public open mic reading, during which folks can step up and read segments of published work or work in progress. The Writers Can Read series is organized by Eliot Parker and features a wide range of regional writers from all over Appalachia and beyond.
While you are at Empire, be sure to check out the book sale, as the store is transitioning to its new look.
The fall cleanup/purge is starting on Monday as they begin cleaning out the back rooms and putting out thousands of $1 books.
“This is simply years of accumulation of back stock and used books that we have neither the time nor manpower to sort through,” said the new owners Jarrod and Jaime Greer. “This sale will last only a few days and we will be purging most everything hanging around in the back and all of our clearance books to make room for new fresh inventory.”
The Greers, who own Geek Inc., based in Ashland, announced the purchase of Empire Books & News at Pullman Square in downtown Huntington. That sale was official Aug. 1. Geek Inc. currently operates two comic book and vintage toy stores, known as “The Inner Geek,” and operates the Lexington Comic & Toy Convention in Lexington, Kentucky.
Empire Books & News has been a fixture at 30 Pullman Square since 2004, when the downtown destination opened.
“The entire staff is staying on to ensure a great transition and the Greers want to ensure everyone that the bookstore they know and love isn’t going anywhere,” a recent press release said. “Some cosmetic upgrades, expansion back into the former 12,000-square-feet footprint, additional product lines and a name change will come in time, but in the short term it’s business as usual at the store.”
The store is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and from noon until 6 p.m. on Sunday.
Go online at http://empirebooksandnews.com/for more information about Empire Books and News.