2023 Fall for Literacy Luncheon a Huge Success! Photo Gallery Now Online!

More than $22,000 was raised, and 145 attendees came to listen to award-winning author Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle discuss her groundbreaking new novel. View the slideshow below, find your photos, and celebrate your own role in helping make our community better educated. Thank you to our sponsors and attendees!



Award winning writer, Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle will discuss her stunning debut novel, Even As We Breathe, at Chatham Literacy’s Fall for Literacy Luncheon, Thursday November 2nd, at Chatham County Agriculture and Conference Center, from 12:00pm-2:00pm. (Tickets are $100, tables seat 10 people).

Clapsaddle is the first enrolled citizen of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians to publish a novel, which one critic says, “sings on every level.” Described as “profound…prophetic…and provoking of thought,” Clapsaddle’s work of historical fiction also involves mystery and surprises. Even As We Breathe was a finalist for the Weatherford Award and named one of NPR’s Best Books of the Year.

Set in the summer of 1942 when World War II raged in Europe, the protagonist, 19-year-old Cowney Sequoyah, wants to escape his hometown in Cherokee. Working at North Carolina’s Grove Park Inn he is surrounded by Axis diplomats and their families who are being held as prisoners of war. While there, the main character must prove his innocence and deal with prejudice. “This work of historical fiction wraps itself around mystery,” Clapsaddle said, “but it has very modern themes with race, class, citizenship and belonging.”

Clapsaddle says she has always wanted to be a writer. “First and foremost,” Clapsaddle said, “my writing is about introducing readers to a unique place that everyone can connect to on some level. We (Cherokee Indians) have been here since the beginning of time, so we are not only familiar with and connected with this place but are also its stewards. It is paramount to my writing that place makes stories and is where everything begins.” Clapsaddle says it is very important to portray Native American’s authentically in her literature.

After graduating from Yale University and The College of William and Mary, Clapsaddle returned to her community to work as Executive Director of the Cherokee Preservation Foundation. She taught high school in her home community of Swain County for over a dozen years. She continues to help run Indigenous writers’ workshops, as Clapsaddle said, “to show our community opportunities and to encourage the incredible storytellers in their midst.” She also serves on the Board of Directors for the Museum of the Cherokee Indian and is President of the Board of Trustees for the North Carolina Writers Network. 

At Chatham Literacy’s Fall for Literacy Luncheon on November 2nd, Clapsaddle will touch on themes in her novel Even as We Breathe as well as discuss how literacy enables individuals to actively participate in building the future of their communities.

McIntyre’s Books will donate 20% of book sales to Chatham Literacy.  

Our Sponsors

Our sponsors make these events possible, and we are so grateful for their support. Below are the sponsors for this Fall for Literacy Luncheon.

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