Charles Frazier Tops Lineup for Burnsville Literary Fest

BURNSVILLE, N.C. – The 14th annual Carolina Mountains Literary Festival features New York Times bestselling author and WNC native Charles Frazier as its keynote speaker. The three-day festival, Sept. 5-7, brings 31 authors to downtown Burnsville.

Frazier gained recognition with his first novel, “Cold Mountain,” which won the National Book Award in 1997 and was adapted into an Academy Award-winning film. He has released three additional novels; the latest, “Varina,” came out in spring 2018. Frazier’s Saturday evening address is a conversational format with participation from Elaine Neil Orr, a novelist and nonfiction writer.

For the Friday night banquet, Andrew Lawler speaks on his latest book, “The Secret Token: Myth, Obsession, and the Search for the Lost Colony of Roanoke.” Lawler explains how the 16th century tale of the missing Colonists remains relevant to Americans today.

The festival includes more than 50 events, such as readings, discussions, speeches, book signings and workshops, that take place at the library, town hall, town center, churches, restaurants and inns throughout town. All of the happenings tie to this year’s theme, On the Move: Stories of Migration, Immigration and Travel.

“Our country is becoming more and more mobile,” says Kathy Weisfeld, festival chair. “People leave where they grew up, change jobs, come to our country and become citizens, so we thought it’s an appropriate theme for these times. And the festival itself is getting people from a wider range of places; last year we had people from 63 different zip codes.”

Events kick off Thursday evening with a live puppet show by professional puppeteer Lisa Sturz. The adults-only performance is based on the life of Sturz’s grandfather, a fourth-generation Jewish cantor who endured the European turmoil during the first half of the 20th century.

Malaprop’s Bookstore out of Asheville is the festival’s official bookseller and sets up shop at Burnsville Town Center with titles by participating authors.

Many festival events are free and open to the public. Four workshops — poetry, nonfiction, science fiction and memoir — require registration and a $35 fee. Friday night’s banquet, $35, and Saturday night’s keynote, $25, also require registration.

For a full schedule and registration information, go to For information about Burnsville, including lodging options, go to