Asheboro native Judith Turner-Yamamoto (nee Cox) is the author of LOVING THE DEAD AND GONE, the 2023 Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPYS) Gold Medalist winner in Southern Regional Fiction. The novel was shortlisted for the 2023 UC-Berkeley Eric Hoffer Book Awards Grand Prize and awarded an honorable mention in General Fiction, and was finalist for the Eric Hoffer First Horizon Award for Debut Fiction. PUBLISHERS WEEKLY calls Loving the Dead and Gone “A bittersweet and fantastical debut.” FOREWORD REVIEWS says “Loving the Dead and Gone is a moving, insightful novel about growing through tragedy.”
This atmospheric work of literary and historical fiction depicts how a freak car crash in a mythical Randolph County puts in motion moments of grace that bring redemption to two generations of women and the lives they touch. While this choral novel delves into the minds of four characters and how the traumas of the present stir those of the past, readers will find numerous references to such local landmarks as Little Beane Store, Blue Mist Drive-In, and Sir Robert Motel. Set in the world of 1920s tobacco farms and 1960s textile mills, Loving the Dead and Gone exhibits a lyric strength and deep and empathic understanding of working-class daily life in rural and small-town twentieth century North Carolina.
Judith’s work has appeared in over thirty journals and anthologies, and she has won more than fifteen awards and fellowships, including the Ohio Arts Council, the Virginia Arts Commission, the Sewanee Writers Conference-Scholar, the Washington Prize for Fiction, and the Virginia Screenwriting Award. She has taught fiction at the Chautauqua Writers’ Center, the Danville Writer’s Conference, and the Writers’ Center, Bethesda, Maryland. A featured author and panelist, she has appeared at the Kentucky Book Festival, Books by the Banks, the Ohioana Book Festival, the Gaithersburg Book Festival, and is a keynote speaker at the 2023 Santa Barbara Writers Conference.
An art historian, Judith’s on-air interviews have been featured on NPR affiliate WVXU. Over 1000 articles on the arts, travel, design, books, fashion, and food have appeared in The Boston Globe Magazine, Elle, Interiors, Art & Antiques, The Los Angeles Times, and Travel & Leisure, and many others. She is a contributor to the Southern Review of Books and a speaker with the Kentucky Humanities Speakers Bureau. Learn more about Judith at her website and find her on Facebook or on Instagram and Twitter @jturneryamamoto.
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Begun in 2018, the Sunset Series brings high-profile speakers and performers to the Sunset Theatre. It is sponsored by the Heart of North Carolina Visitors Bureau, the City of Asheboro and the Friends of the Randolph County Public Library.