Blue Marlin

Southwest Virginia native Lee Smith, who recently published the novella ‘Blue Marlin,’ will speak at the public library in Abingdon on May 15 at 3 p.m.

Submitted by Ben Jennings

ABINGDON, Va. — Lee Smith, one of Southwest Virginia’s most beloved writers, will be the featured speaker during “Sunday with Friends” at the public library in Abingdon on Sunday, May 15, at 3 p.m.

Smith has recently published a novella, “Blue Marlin.” Originally included in an earlier collection of short stories titled “News of the Spirit,” Smith has re-worked the original story, “Live Bottomless,” into the novella.

“Blue Marlin” follows Jenny, an adventurous 13-year-old, to Key West, Florida, for a patched-up family vacation following the discovery of her father’s illicit affair. Jenny confronts the frailty of family life while vying for the attention of actor Tony Curtis and a role in his movie “Operation Petticoat.” Smith delivers humor and honesty to her flawed characters with genuine Southern dignity.

At the event, Smith will also describe a new novel, “Silver Alert” — another novel set in Florida that will be published later this year. A family’s plan to force irascible old tycoon Herbert Atlas into assisted living is foiled when he just happens to find a key in an old golf shoe and steals his own car (Porsche Carrera) from his own garage, taking a young blonde manicurist with him as his willing passenger. Dee Dee is as desperate as Herbert is, trying to escape her own dark past and find a new life. They set off through the Keys on fabled Route One, soon having the absolute time of their lives … despite the APB Silver Alert issued by police.

Smith, a Grundy, Virginia, native, started writing stories at the age of 9, selling them for a nickel apiece. During her long writing career, she has written 17 works of fiction including “Fair and Tender Ladies,” “Oral History,” and, most recently, “Guests on Earth.” She has received many awards, including the North Carolina Award for Literature and an Academy Award in Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Her novel “The Last Girls” was a New York Times bestseller as well as a winner of the Southern Book Critics Circle Award.

There will be book sales and signings at the event. For more information, call 276-628-5960.

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