Thu, Apr 08|
Apr 2021 Book Program
Go back to 1940s rural Georgia as Kristine F. Anderson discusses her debut novel about the events that fracture a family and leave a boy to tell a crooked truth.
Time & Location
Apr 08, 2021, 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM EDT
About The Event
About the Author
Educator, journalist, and novelist Kristine F. Anderson has spent most of her life in Georgia and knows the setting of her debut novel well from family and friends. She holds a Ph.D. in Communicative Arts from Georgia State University and has taught in high school, at Shorter College, and at the Southern Polytechnic State University, which is now a college within Kennesaw State University. After writing numerous freelance magazine and newspaper articles, Kristine began to work on a novel that had been on her mind for a long time.
At a family cookout in south Georgia some fifteen years ago, an elderly relative told Kristine a disturbing story about a boy born there in the 1930s with Down syndrome. She wrote some notes on napkins, and the story stayed with her. Her interest was strengthened by her work with a school boy with the syndrome. Kristine ultimately developed the events she had heard about into a prize-winning manuscript. It was honored by Mercer University Press with the 2018 Ferrol Sams Award as the best work "that speaks to the human condition in a Southern context."
As a last-minute entrant for the award, Kristine was thrilled at the recognition. She lives in Atlanta with her husband. Kristine has a 'green thumb,' especially with her tomato plants, and she has passed on her love of gardening and of books to her three children.
About the Book
Lucas Webster lives on his grandparents' cotton farm in south Georgia near the town of Crisscross. At age fifteen, he is not bothered by the hard work of the farm chores; but the constant care of his child-like Uncle Robert weighs upon him. While he is patient and protective, Lucas dreams of the day he can leave for a new life somewhere else, maybe at college as his grandparents plan. However, with the death of his grandfather, his life changes for the worse, as Lucas and the others living on the farm become subject to the hateful bullying and bigotry of his older uncle, Alvin Earl. Furious that he has not inherited the entire family property, Alvin Earl is a drunken threat to all the others, making lives miserable while he plans to send Robert to the state asylum and make Lucas a full-time farm hand. After this volatile situation erupts in a deadly shooting, and the sheriff arrives, Lucas learns that sometimes to save a family the truth must be twisted.
After Kristine's manuscript won the 2018 Ferrol Sams Award, its subsequent publication as Crooked Truth in 2020 has been greeted with further acclaim. The novel is a contender for the 2021 Willie Morris Southern Fiction Award, with the winner to be announced from Oxford, Mississippi in Fall 2021. Also, Mercer University Press has nominated Kristine as the 2021 Georgia Author of the Year for a Debut Novel. Those winners are to be announced June 12, 2021.
"Anderson perfectly captures family life in a small Southern community and the bigotry of that time.... This is a coming-of-age story with a thread of malevolence running through. It will warm your heart one minute and disturb you the next." Historical Novel Society
"Kristine F. Anderson writes so vividly and confidently of her little postage stamp of Georgia, I couldn't help but imagine Flannery O'Connor and her peacocks watching the goings on in Crisscross with great interest. A true Southern gem." --Daren Wang, author of The Hidden Light of Northern Fires
"Kristine F. Anderson's Crooked Truth inhabits the same fictional corner of the universe as To Kill a Mockingbird or Ferrol Sams's Porter Osborne trilogy....But Anderson's novel claims its own ground. Her... story touches darkness, but it is not a grim book. Instead, it is hopeful, expansive, and at the same time intimate. Race and class and family secrets are all part of this rich brew."
Christopher Swann, author of Never Turn Back and Shadow of the Lions