“Our stories are all we have,” Lee Walburn said quoting someone who once said that to him. Walburn took 50 years of his stories and published them in his first book “Just My Type: 50 years preserved in ink.” In his book, Walburn scours all his years of writing and formed a collection of what he considers his best work.
Born and raised in LaGrange, Walburn returned to his Alma mater LaGrange College for a book selling and signing. Dozens of followers came out to Lewis Library to meet Walburn and purchase an autographed copy.
In attendance at the book signing was lifelong friend and acclaimed novelist Terry Kay. Author of 16 novels, including “To Dance with the White Dog,” Kay spoke a few words to the crowd, reading excerpts and telling stories about Walburn. The two met during their time at LaGrange College and what started out as a “contentious” relationship, Kay said, turned into a brotherhood. Kay credits Walburn for being the reason behind his first writing experience and the two have since shared their writing journeys with each other.
Best known for his column work, Walburn boasts a long and lucrative career. Currently a columnist for Rome News Tribune, his first writing job was LaGrange Daily News’ sports editor, during which, he was still attending LaGrange College.
He was the editor of Atlanta Magazine for 15 years, editor of Atlanta Weekly, the Sunday magazine of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. While serving as the sports reporter at the Macon Telegraph, he became the Director of Public Relations and Promotions for the Atlanta Braves after which he formed his own public relations company which Walburn said he hated. After six years, he took a $28,000 pay cut to finally go back to newspapers.
Approached several times to publish his work, Walburn declined until he found a good reason to do so. Cancer Navigators was that reason. Serving on the board of directors of Cancer Navigators and looking for a way to raise money, he self-published this book and all the proceeds will go to the organization. The nonprofit hits close to home as both Walburn and his wife, Jackie, are cancer survivors.
“I felt like maybe my words could finally do something for somebody else,” he said.
Based in Rome, Ga., Cancer Navigators provides a “mind, body and spirit” support for those affected Walburn said.
“It’s considered to be so unique that it’s not been able to be duplicated in its entirety,” he said.
“Just My Type” starts out telling about Walburn’s upbringing in the town mills. The rest of the books tells stories of small town life, stories of whimsical and eccentric individuals, life’s trials and his experiences with the homeless and the Ku Klux Klan.
Walburn is a multi-award winning journalist. Under his leadership, Atlanta Magazine won more than 200 awards. He received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the national City and Regional Magazine Association and is a member of Georgia Magazine Association Hall of Fame. He won national, regional and state awards for his stories and columns. LaGrange College awarded him an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters in 2003.
Walburn’s book is purchased through a minimum $25 donation to Cancer Navigators. “Just My Type” can be ordered at cancernavigatorsga.org or by calling 705-295-4119.