By Lauren Patterson
On September 9 two extremely talented authors, Bobbie Ann Mason and Steve Yarbrough, held a fiction reading in Gailor Auditorium. Mason has received many awards and accolades including the Ernest Hemingway Award for her first book Shiloh and Other Stories, the Arts and Letters Award for Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Photo courtesy of http://larybloom.net/Letters, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Yarbrough also has a very impressive list of achievements including the Mississippi Authors Award, the California Book Award, and the 2010 Richard Wright Award for Literary Excellence. Yarbrough started the event by reading two snippets from his most recent book, The Realm of Last Chances. His reading provided the audience with a glimpse into the world of social recluse Cal, who just moved with his wife from California to a small town north of Boston. The audience was introduced to Cal through a scene where his social awkwardness is painfully put on display, as well as another scene where his love of guitars is examined. Mason, on the other hand, read multiple short stories, one of which was produced through a list of random prompt words her friend gave to her as a challenge. Mason took the audience on a literary journey through multiple perspectives and lives in just thirty short minutes with pieces such as “Clubbing,” about a middle-aged widow thoroughly enthralled with the idea of her teenage niece and her friend going out “clubbing,” and “The Woman in Purple,” shown through the perspective of an easily distracted stalker studying his obsession. Each author gave the audience a completely different (but equally fascinating) experience that was as insightful and enlightening as it was amusing and entertaining. The event was made possible by the Walter E. Dakin Memorial Fund and presented by the Sewanee Writer’s Conference and Department of English.