LITERARY NOTES: Pinehurst Man Completes Book
Marv Mercer of Pinehurst announces the publication of his first novel, "Yearning to Breathe Free."
The book uses the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre as its backdrop. The story follows Han Yu-tai, the student leader of the Tiananmen protest, as he makes his escape circuitously through China to Taiwan. There he believes he will be free to tell the story of the betrayal of the Chinese people by their government. Although granted political asylum to live with his uncle's family, he feels betrayed once again when the Taiwan government forbids him to denounce the Communist regime.
There are ongoing top secret negotiations between the two countries as a first step toward normalization, and the Taiwan authorities do not want Han to jeopardize the negotiations by embarrassing the Communist government. However, when the Taiwan Liberation party, a fanatical political party which opposes any normalization, co-opts Han Yu-tai to their cause, the government must react. Han is arrested, escapes and then is held prisoner by the Party he thought would be his salvation.
This is also the story of four ex-Vietnam veterans who make port in Taiwan when their 51-foot ketch is damaged at sea. Their lives become intertwined with that of Han Yu-tai through a common denominator: two beautiful women; one is Han Yu-tai's Taiwan cousin, the other a member of the Taiwan Liberation Party and passionate in its cause.
The title, "Yearning to Breathe Free," is taken from the inscription on the base of the Statue of Liberty which Han Yu-tai quotes as the aspiration of the Chinese people when he compares the Statue of Liberty to his "Goddess of Democracy."
Marv Mercer is a retired U.S. Air Force colonel who spent two tours in Taiwan where he dealt with its people, and military and government officials. He gained an enormous appreciation for the people of Taiwan and an insight into their customs, practices and politics. Consequently it seemed natural that the setting for his first novel would be in that part of the world. The June 4, 1989, massacre in Tiananmen Square provided him the subject.
Throughout the book, the physical description of the land, the customs, traditions and the lifestyles of the people, and the politics of the area, are woven into a fast-moving plot, giving the reader a unique sense of being in that beautiful and exciting area of the world.
The novel may be purchased on the Internet at PublishAmerica's Web site www.publishamerica.com/shopping/index, Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and Books-a-Million.
Book Selected as Finalist
ForeWord Magazine announces "Southern Fried Women," by Pamela Cable, as a finalist in the eighth annual Book of the Year Awards. This book represents some of the best work coming from today's independent press community.
Nearly 1,400 books were entered in 59 categories. A panel of librarians and booksellers, selected from our readership, will determine the winners. ForeWord's Book of the Year Awards program was designed specifically for them to share in the process of discovering distinctive books across a number of genres with judgments based on their own authority in each category and on their patron/customer interests.
Gold, silver, and bronze winners, as well as Editor's Choice Prizes for Fiction and Nonfiction will be announced at a special program at BookExpo America at the Javits Center in New York City, Friday, June 1, from 2:30 p.m. at LIVE Second Stage located on the main show floor. The winners of the two Editor's Choice Prizes will be awarded $1,500 each.
Winston-Salem Poetry Event
Award-winning poet Tony Hoagland will give a public reading at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, April 12, in Scales Fine Arts Center on the campus of Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, and will be featured at the public library's fourth annual "On the Same Poem" luncheon/ discussion at noon, Friday, April 13, at the Forsyth County Public Library on Fifth Street.
The two appearances are sponsored by the Forsyth County Public Library, Wake Forest University, the English Students' Association of Wake Forest University, and the Salem College Center for Women Writers.
Hoagland is the author of three books of poetry ("Sweet Ruin," winner of the Brittingham Prize; "Donkey Gospel," winner of the James Laughlin Award; and "What Narcissism Means to Me," a 2003 National Book Critics Circle Award finalist), two chapbooks, and a collection of critical essays titled "Real Sofistikashun."
He is a native of Fort Bragg, teaches at the University of Houston and is on faculty at the low residency master's of fine arts program at Warren Wilson College.
Former poet laureate Robert Pinsky describes Hoagland as "restless, pungent, intellectually ambitious and slyly colloquial." Robert Hirsch identifies him as "one of the few poets self-consciously trying to come to terms with the apparent omnipotence and inescapability of the mass culture that surrounds us."
Funny, edgy and deceptively profound, Hoagland succeeds Rita Dove, Martn Espada, and Thylias Moss as Forsyth County's featured "On the Same Poem" poet.
The combination public reading and community luncheon/ discussion at the Library has become a staple of National Poetry Month in Forsyth County.
An extension of "On the Same Page" -- the county's annual community reads one book project -- "On the Same Poem" revolves around the shared experience of reading and discussing a single poem selected for the occasion by the featured poet. Drinks and desserts will be provided, courtesy of Whole Foods Market. English instructors and local authors will be assigned to each lunch table to facilitate concurrent discussions of "America" -- this year's featured poem. After lunch, Hoagland will field questions about the poem from the room at large.
In 2005, Hoagland won the Folger-Shakespeare Library's prestigious O.B. Hardison Jr. Poetry Prize -- the only prize honoring one's talents as poet and educator -- as well as the Poetry Foundation's Mark Twain Award, in recognition of his contribution to humor in American poetry.
The public reading, book signing and reception at Wake Forest University on Thursday, April 12, is open to all.
Reservations are strongly recommended for Friday afternoon's Same Poem luncheon/discussion. Call 336-703-3050 before Monday, April 9, to reserve a seat at a discussion table.
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