Raymond L. Atkins, winner of the 2014 Georgia Author of the Year for Fiction, will be the first speaker in the Friends of Memorial Library’s Author Talk series.
The event is Sept. 9 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Fackler Room of LaGrange Memorial Library.
Born in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Atkins wrote his first short story in third grade. His father was a career military man, but he spent the majority of his teen years in Valley Head, Alabama. \
Atkins jokes, “I guess you could say I’m a Southerner by preference.” He currently resides in Rome, Georgia.
Atkins received many awards for his first novel, “The Front Porch Prophet,” including 2009 Georgia Author of the Year for First Novel; 2009 IPPY Gold Medal Best Regional Fiction: Southeast; 2009 IPPY Award Finalist: Best Popular Fiction. His third novel, “Camp Redemption,” was awarded the 2011 Ferrol Sams Award for Fiction by Mercer University Press and the 2014 Georgia Author of the Year Award for Fiction.
According to Portland Book Review, his first novel, “The Front Porch Prophet,” “combines a zany bunch of characters in unforgettable predicaments set in small town Sequoyah, Georgia. Mr. Atkins has written a heartwarming, witty, Southern tale with likeable characters that will stay with the reader long after turning the last page of this wonderful debut novel.”
His second novel, “Sorrow Wood,” was praised by Atlanta Magazine as “a casually clever, darkly humorous mystery that centers on the fiery death of a self-proclaimed witch in drowsy Sand Valley, Alabama … The author, who lives in Rome, Georgia, has a firm but subtle grasp of the freakishly ordinary people and understated, often unintentional humor that make a small town tick.”
Of “Camp Redemption,” Atkin’s third novel, Don Noble of Alabama Public Radio says: “It indeed feels like a (Ferrol) Sams novel: witty, with small town, off-beat characters who hold traditional beliefs but are tolerant and questioning. This novel nearly goes sentimental with homeless, hungry children being fed and visits by angels, Mama and other people you might expect to meet in heaven, but it doesn’t quite. It is neither a Christian novel nor a satire of faith. … With a supporting cast of a cynical lawyer, cynical bootlegger and …a murderous father, Camp Redemption remains, happily, dark comedy. There is even some violence, gunplay, and killing. This is rural northwest Georgia, after all.”
His fourth novel, Sweetwater Blues, is due for release by Mercer University Press in September.
The Author Talk series is free and open to the public.