The 2009 North Carolina Literary Festival

This year's Literary Festival is going to have over 100 authors both famous and not so famous. The headlines will largely revolve around keynote speakers like John Grisham, Kathy Reichs, Anna Deavere Smith, and Pulitzer Prize Winning author Elizabeth Strout. However the true gems are lesser known authors like
Janis Owens because they don't get as much exposure. Lord knows we all are aware of Grisham's opinions on being a lawyer and Reichs is well known due to both her books and that annoying TV show, Bones, on Fox.

Speaking of Owens, her new book is The Cracker Kitchen: A Cookbook in Celebration of Cornbread-Fed, Down-Home Family Stories and Cuisine. It's part cookbook and part family memoir of her own crackery family and their background in the swamps of Florida. Here's a recipe and commentary from the book:

Hummingbird Cake

3 cups cake flour
2 cups white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 eggs, beaten
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons Watkins, or real vanilla extract
8 oz crushed pineapple, drained
1 cup chopped pecans
2 cups squashed banana – the riper, the better

1. Heat oven to 350, and Pam or grease three 9-inch cake pans.
2. Sift dry ingredients.
3. Add eggs, oil and stir till they’re combined.
4. Add vanilla, pineapple, pecans and banana.
5. Bake 30 minutes, or till a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool a while, then frost with this heavenly frosting. If I live in your town, call me and I’ll take your left-overs.

16 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup softened butter
2 pounds powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Combine cream cheese and butter and mix till smooth. Add sugar, beating with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, then stir in vanilla. Ice the cake in layers, then sprinkle with pecans.

This cake will seal your reputation. It will make you make you swallow your pride and start ordering nightgowns from Lady Bryant. It has that power.

The Festival kicks off with the keynote speech by John Grisham and Kathy Reichs on Thursday, September 10, 7:30 pm. Like all events at the Literary Festival it's free and open to the public. It does require tickets but they can be obtained by phone---if there's any left.

In addition to the keynote speeches there's going to be several live performances.

Good Ol' Girls on Saturday with Lee Smith and Jill McCorkle, along with Nashville musicians Matraca Berg and Marshall Chapman. That's at 8pm and requires free tickets too. The second performance is The Bible Salesman and it's at 4pm on Sunday. Clyde Edgerton and Mike Craver will perform a musical rendition of Edgerton's book, The Bible Salesman. Sweet.

Lots of stuff for the kids too with authors R.L. Stine, Judy Schachner and Brian Pinkney to speak at the Children's Main Stage. I know all 3 of my nephews loved Stine's Goosebumps series. I don't know if the books are still as popular now though.


jan said…
Most impressive. One hundred authors, something for the whole family and the price is right.-

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