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Friday, Nov. 3-Sunday, Nov.5

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National Book Award-winning Author Jason Mott Joins 2023 Storyfest

Black man in center of images of book covers for "Hell of a Book"

June 26, 2023

Speakers at the 2023 Storyfesr include National Book Award-winner Jason Mott.

The celebrated author grew up in Bolton, North Carolina, a town of 600 people. Mott graduated from a  state college – the University of North Carolina Wilmington – and took a job as a customer service rep for a big cell phone company.

He also wrote two books of poetry and a novel, The Returned, about the return of dead people to the world of the living. “Mott's haunting debut … is a crackling page turner,” People magazine said.

The 2013 novel was turned into a TV series by Brad Pitt’s production company, Plan B, in association with ABC. It aired under the title “Resurrection” in 2014 and 2015.

His next two novels, The Wonder of All Things and The Crossing, included fantasy, paranormal and dystopian elements.

But his fourth novel, Hell of a Book, grappled with something new: racism, police brutality and growing up Black in America.

Hell of a Book, which takes the reader to Mott’s hometown, won the 2021 National Book Award and the Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Fiction.

It was a finalist for many other awards, including the Joyce Carol Oates Literary Prize, Willie Morris Award for Southern Writing, and Maya Angelou Book Award.

Booklist called it “Maddening, disorienting, and illuminating.”

Mott, whose work was first discovered by an agent in a slush pile, dedicated his National Book Award to “all the mad kids, all the outsiders, the weirdos, the bullied, the ones so strange they had no choice but to be misunderstood by the world and those around them.”

He praised those storytellers who “refuse to outgrow their imagination, refuse to abandon their dreams and refuse to deny, diminish their identity, or their truth, or their loves, unlike so many others.”

Mott will speak to conference-goers, attend a panel on novel writing, and sign books at SCWA’s 2023 Storyfest in downtown Columbia this fall.

2023 Storyfest is one of the South’s biggest gatherings of authors, poets, filmmakers, documentarians, agents, publishers and editors.

Don’t miss it! Register today!

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