Historic Downtown eNews  |  Archive

Acclaimed Author and Poet Rita Quillen to have Book Event at the Bristol Public Library

May 26, 2014

Acclaimed Appalachian poet and author Rita Quillen will have a book talk and signing at the Bristol Public Library on Sunday, June 1. Ms. Quillen will speak about her new novel Hiding Ezra and read some of her poetry at 2:30 PM in the J. Henry Kegley Meeting Room. The event will continue until 4:30 PM with a book signing. There will be copies of Quillen’s poetry books and Hiding Ezra for sale.

Published in March, Hiding Ezra is Quillen’s first novel. Set during the time of World War I the novel was inspired by a true story from Quillen’s husband’s family and details how a deserter struggled to survive and evade arrest in the rugged mountains of Southwest Virginia.

The tale is of a farmer, Ezra Teague, who is forced to choose between fighting for his country and taking care of his family. Like more than 175,000 other young men, Ezra chose his family—not because he was a coward or a pacifist, but because he was practical and because he felt his Christian faith called him to do so. Hiding Ezra is also a love story, as we see Alma Newton, the girl he loves, try to figure out how to extricate Ezra from his predicament. Hiding Ezra is the story of an adventure, a quest, and a chase, as the authorities—including local boy, Army Lieutenant Andrew Nettles—try to bring Ezra to military justice.

In Hiding Ezra, Quillen reveals a deeply emotional understanding of the complexities of war, loyalty, and family. The adventurous drama is a narrative that deepens our love and appreciation for the characters and the region. Hiding Ezra captures the rural hardships experienced in Southwest Virginia during the tumultuous times surrounding the 1918 influenza pandemic and WWI. Novelist Silas House says of the novel, “Hiding Ezra is that rare literary page-turner, the kind of book that is so action packed we want to keep flying through, but so lovingly written that we want to savor the language.”

A semi-finalist for Poet laureate of Virginia in 2012, Quillen’s collection Her Secret Dream: New and Selected Poems is from Wind Press in Kentucky and was named the Outstanding Poetry Book of the Year by the Appalachian Writers Association in 2008. Previous works are poetry collections October Dusk and Counting the Sums, as well as a book of essays Looking for Native Ground: Contemporary Appalachian Poetry. Her new collection entitled Something to Anchor to will be available at the event.