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By the Book: David Wright Faladé and Phoebe Zerwick

June 15, 2023 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm


Two award-winning authors discuss witnessing history, and how writing about Black stories can explore the hopes and challenges of American democracy. David Wright Faladé, author and filmmaker about North Carolina’s Outer Banks, and Wake Forest University professor and author Phoebe Zerwick will be in conversation at the Greensboro History Museum on Thursday, June 15 at 6 pm as part of the By the Book Series.

Faladé’s novel, Black Cloud Rising, features the experiences of the Union army’s African Brigade in northeast North Carolina during the Civil War.  He also wrote the narrative history, Fire on The Beach: Recovering the Lost Story of Richard Etheridge and the Pea Island Lifesavers, and the screenplay for the documentary, Rescue Men: The Story of the Pea Island Lifesavers, about the nation’s first and only all-black Coast Guard crew.

Black Cloud Rising was selected by the New York Times and the New Yorker as one of the Best Books of 2022. His first book, Fire on the Beach, was one of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Best Books of 2001. His second, Away Running, was named an Outstanding International Book by the US Board on Books for Young People. Charles Frazier, National Book Award-winning author of Cold Mountain, praised Black Cloud Rising for breathing “life into a revolutionary moment when the US moved a vital step forward toward achieving the ideals we’ve always proclaimed.”

“Richard Etheridge’s story has so much to teach us about race, mixedness, and what it means to be ‘American.'” says Faladé, who is excited to be in conversation with North Carolina audiences about “the lessons we can draw from people like Etheridge.”

Faladé teaches at the University of Illinois. Learn more about him and his work at davidwrightbooks.com.

Phoebe Zerwick is an award-winning investigative journalist, narrative writer, and college professor. Her writing has appeared in O, The Oprah Magazine; National Geographic; The Nation; the Winston-Salem Journal; and Glamour, among other publications. Her work has been recognized by the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University, Investigative Reporters and Editors, the Society of Professional Journalists, Columbia University, and the North Carolina Press Association and featured in the HBO documentary “The Trials of Darryl Hunt.” A graduate of the Journalism School at Columbia University, Zerwick is the director of the journalism program at Wake Forest University, where she teaches writing and journalism, including courses taught at the law school in collaboration with the director of Wake Forest’s Innocence & Justice Clinic. She lives in Winston-Salem, NC.

Zerwick’s Beyond Innocence: The Life Sentence of Darryl Hunt is a deeply reported, gripping narrative of injustice, exoneration, and the crippling impact of incarceration. The book tells  the dramatic story of Darryl Hunt, imprisoned for years for a crime he did not commit, which sheds vitally important light on the realities of the American justice system and carceral state. Beyond Innocence was shortlisted for the Southern Book Prize in nonfiction. David Zucchino, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Wilmington’s Lie, calls the book “a lacerating indictment of a deeply flawed American justice system that systematically targets young black men.”

Learn more about Zerwick and her work at phoebezerwick.com.

Moderating the program is Greensboro writer, performer and arts programmer Deonna Kelli Sayed, of the PEN America NC Piedmont Chapter. Her debut solo show, American Body, is in pre-production with support from a 2023 Artist Support Grant from ArtsGreensboro.

Signing to follow, with books for sale from Scuppernong Books.

Greensboro History Museum’s By the Book series features authors exploring history connections across NC and the Southeast. On July 27, Patrick Lee Lucas (University of Kentucky), author of Athens on the Frontier, investigates Grecian-Style Architecture in the Southeast, and on August 17, Lisa Tolbert (UNC Greensboro), author of Beyond Piggly Wiggly, dives into the popularization of self-service grocery stores.





June 15, 2023
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
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