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Lit Cafe – Back of Beyond: A Horace Kephart Biography

10/08/2020 @ 2:30 PM - 3:30 PM


An icon of the Southern Appalachian region known for books such as Camping and Woodcraft and Our Southern Highlanders, Horace Kephart was instrumental in efforts to create a national park in the Smokies and to establish the Appalachian Trail through North Carolina and Tennessee. This librarian-turned-woodsman had a far-reaching effect on wilderness literature and outdoor pursuits throughout North America.

In 2019, Back of Beyond: A Horace Kephart Biography, published by Great Smoky Mountains Association and co-written by George Ellison and Janet McCue, won our Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award. On October 8, the book’s editor, Frances Figart, will interview the authors about their experience writing this award-winning publication. During the interview, the authors will read excerpts from the biography, share behind-the-scenes details about their research, provide insights into their writing process, and disclose mysteries of Kephart’s past still to be discovered.

George Ellison has lived near Bryson City, North Carolina, since 1973. A writer-naturalist, he has written the Nature Journal column for the Asheville Citizen-Times since 1987. In 2012, he won the Wild South Roosevelt-Ashe award for “Outstanding Journalism in Conservation.” In 2016 he and his wife, the artist Elizabeth Ellison, were named “Blue Ridge Naturalists of the Year.”

Janet McCue lives in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York and is a writer, researcher, and avid hiker. Her interest in Kephart began with backpacking trips in the Smokies in the 1970s and continued throughout her career as a librarian at Cornell University, where she specialized in library administration and digital library development.

You do not have to have read the book to attend, but it is encouraged!
Click Here to support the Great Smoky Mountains Association by purchasing the book directly from their website.

About Lit Cafe
Has the quarantined and socially distanced lifestyle sent you searching for good books? Would you like to discuss them and catch up with other avid readers and authors in the process? We at Western North Carolina Historical Association invite you to join us for Lit Café, a book discussion group with a purpose.

Every year since 1955, WNCHA has presented the annual Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award (TWMLA) to celebrate excellence in literature about Western North Carolina or by an author from our region. Last month, we kicking off Lit Café by revisiting the first award winner – Wilma Dykeman’s 1955 historical work The French Broad. (Did you miss it? The recorded webinar is available. Email for a link. Free for members, $5 for nonmembers of WNCHA.)

The Details
Date: Thursday, October 8, 2020
Time: 2:30pm – 3:30pm
Location: Zoom webinar; A link and instructions to view the live webinar will be sent to all registrants the week of the event. A recorded version of the webinar will be available to registrants unable to attend the live event one day after the event.
Cost: Free for members of WNCHA  (If you are uncertain of your WNCHA membership status, please email; $5-$15 requested donation for nonmembers.
Registration: Register at the bottom of the page.

Lit Cafe Experiences
– On Saturday, October 10, hike in the Smokies with WNCHA historian, Trevor Freeman.
Coming in November! Find out who won the 2020 TWMLA at our awards ceremony.


2:30 PM - 3:30 PM
Event Category:


Zoom Webinar
283 Victoria Road
Asheville, 28801


Western North Carolina Historical Association (WNCHA)