Third Place Books welcomes educator and historian Wayne Flynt to our Lake Forest Park store! Flynt will be discussing his new book, Afternoons with Harper Lee, which offers a unique window into Flynt's friendship with Lee and the life, mind, and preoccupations of one of America's best-loved writers. This event is free and open to the public. Registration is required in advance.
This event will include a public signing and time for audience Q&A. Sustain our author series by purchasing a copy of the featured book!
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In a friendship that blossomed over a dozen years starting when Lee relocated back to Alabama after having had a stroke, Flynt and his wife Dartie became regular visitors at the assisted living facility that was Lee’s new home. And there the conversation began. It began where it always begins with Southern storytellers, with an invitation to “Come in, sit down, and stay a while."
The stories exchanged ranged widely over the topics of Alabama history, Alabama folklore, family genealogy, and American literature, of course. On the way from beginning to end there were many detours: talks about Huntingdon College; The University of Alabama; New York City; the United Kingdom; Garden City, Kansas; and Mobile, Alabama, to name just a few. Wayne and his wife were often joined by Alice Lee, the oldest Lee sister, a living encyclopedia on the subject of family genealogy, and middle sister Louise Lee Conner.
The hours spent visiting, in intimate closeness, are still cherished by Wayne Flynt. They yielded revelations large and small, which have been shaped into Afternoons with Harper Lee. Part memoir, part biography, this book offers a unique window into the life and mind and preoccupations of one of America’s best-loved writers. Flynt and Harper Lee and her sisters learned a great deal from each other, and though this is not a history book, their shared interest in Alabama and its history made this extraordinary work possible.
"For sixty-four long afternoons, Wayne Flynt, his wife Dartie, and Harper Lee sat and talked away the day, revisiting the subjects of sharecroppers and old courthouses and busy New York streets and the wider world. Flynt wrote down those memories and offers them to us in what is a true open window into the life of one of the South's most private icons. This is no deep dive into Harper Lee, but a warm, easy visit with her in the twilight of her life. Flynt also recently lost his beloved wife. This book is a monument to her and Harper Lee and a South we will never see again."
—Rick Bragg, author of Where I Come From
"Often described as reclusive, Nelle Harper Lee was warm and genial with close friends such as Southern historian Wayne Flynt. Based on a decade of delightful conversations and shared storytelling in the Southern tradition, Afternoons with Harper Lee reveals the multi-faceted personality — witty, caustic, generous, self-deprecating, kind, searingly honest — of one of our nation’s most revered writers."
—Cynthia Tucker, columnist and author
"No biography of any person has made me feel so palpably that I sat with its subject as Wayne Flynt's Afternoons with Harper Lee. NewSouth Books has given us a seat next to one of the most important writers, globally, of the last hundred years. Flynt's contextualizing of his (and our) visits with important information about both local and national time and place completes the experience."
—Sena Jeter Naslund, author
Wayne Flynt is a professor emeritus in the history department at Auburn University. He is the author of fourteen books, and his numerous awards include the Rembert Patrick Award for Florida History, the Lillian Smith Prize for Nonfiction from the Southern Regional Council, the Alabama Library Association Award for nonfiction, the C. Vann Woodward/John Hope Franklin Prize by the Fellowship of Southern Writers, the F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum Award for Excellence in Writing, and the Alabama Governor's Award for the Arts.
Want a signed edition of the featured book, but can't make it to the event? Order through our website or over the phone, and write your request for a signature or personalization in the comments field at checkout. Please call the hosting store if you're placing your order within 24 hours of the event.
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