Southern Lit Alliance, in partnership with Bessie Smith Cultural Center, will host author Jeffrey Blount for a discussion of his novel, "The Emancipation of Evan Walls," on Wednesday, Feb. 5, at 6 p.m. in the Bessie Smith Cultural Center, 200 E. M.L. King Blvd.
"The Emancipation of Evan Walls" follows the title character as he reflects on his childhood spent in the South during the civil rights movement, and confronts the aftermath of the trauma that he lived through.
In 1968, Evan Walls is 10 years old, living in the town of Canaan, Virginia. Faced with the devastation of the black community as the movement is dealt several setbacks, Evan develops a dangerous dream for a better life outside of Canaan that threatens to turn his family and his peers against him.
As the novel opens, Evan and his wife, Izzy, have just welcomed the birth of their first child. This occasion causes Evan to come face to face with the fact that for years he has hidden much of his past from his wife. Hoping to find a way to protect his child from the suffering he lived through, he begins to share his own painful history.
Blount, who lives in Washington, D.C., retired from NBC News in 2017, where his work as a television director earned him an Emmy Award. In his 34-year career with network television, Blount directed programs such as "The Sunday Today Show," "The Today Show" and "The Chris Matthews Show."
An author of three books, he has won the 2013 USA Best Book Award and the 2013 Readers Favorite Book Award for young adult literature.
Admission to the event is free, but reservations are requested and can be made online at https://www.southernlitalliance.org/jeffrey-blount.