November 19, 2012 - Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) will continue its 2012-13 Appalachian Reading Series with Pulitzer-finalist Maurice Manning and acclaimed musician Sue Massek. The event will begin at 7 p.m. on Friday, November 30, in the Arnold Auditorium of LMU’s Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum on the LMU main campus in Harrogate, Tenn.

Maurice Manning was born and raised in Kentucky. He often writes about the land and culture of Appalachia, and in so doing, he’s represented the Appalachian region to a new generation of readers. His first book of poems, "Lawrence Booth’s Book of Visions," was chosen by poet and judge W.S. Merwin for the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award. His subsequent books include "A Companion for Owls: Being the Commonplace Book of D. Boone, Lone Hunter, Back Woodsman, &c." and "Bucolics." His fourth book of poetry, "The Common Man," was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2011. A new collection called "The Gone and The Going Away" is forthcoming. Manning teaches in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College, and this fall, he began teaching at Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky.

Sue Massek is a founding member and banjo-player for the Reel World String Band. Her writing and activism have been heavily influenced by her experiences at the Highlander Center, where she met and learned from activists like Rosa Parks and Pete Seeger. With the Reel World String Band, Massek has toured the USA, Canada and Italy and just finished their sixth recording project, "Coast is Clear." Her solo work has taken her to Guatemala and Nicaragua, but more often she is in Kentucky schools teaching diversity, disguised as folk music and dance. Massek's love for nature is a driving force in her life and many of her songs reflect her passion for protecting our environment. Her songs have been featured in films and plays.

In June 2012, Manning and Massek were both featured as part of LMU’s annual Mountain Heritage Literary Festival (MHLF). During the weekend’s festivities, the two collaborated to one of the most memorable performances in MHLF’s history, combining Maurice’s poetry and traditional Kentucky music.

“We are so fortunate to have writers and musicians of Maurice and Sue's stature living so close by,” said LMU Writer-in-Residence Darnell Arnoult. “Everyone loved their presentation at the 2012 Mountain Heritage Literary Festival. It was so well-received we wanted to bring them back so the LMU and Tri-State community can have that same wonderful experience.”

Works from both artists will be available for purchase, and they will be available for a book- and CD-signing after the reading. Admission is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Darnell Arnoult at or call 423-869-7074.

Lincoln Memorial University is a values-based learning community dedicated to providing educational experiences in the liberal arts and professional studies. The main campus is located in Harrogate, Tennessee. For more information about the undergraduate and graduate programs available at LMU, contact the Office of Admissions at 423-869-6280 or e-mail at

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Caption: Maurice Manning and Sue Massek.

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