She may have gone to college at UNC-Chapel Hill and lived in the Boston area for years, but author Jill McCorkle goes back to her roots in the Coastal Plains of southeastern North Carolina when she’s working.
“When I sit down to write, I’m always in Lumberton, or a place like Lumberton,” she told a crowd of nearly 170 at Chatham Literacy’s 5th annual Spring for Literacy luncheon.
“We define ourselves by place, and there’s almost always a story” there, she said.
Asked why the South is home to so many writers, she said it’s “because we have that long tradition of oral storytelling.” She pointed to influences like her mother, “who can’t tell a story in a straight line,” and others she grew up with whose stories were “like a thread you’d be pulling for hours.”
Ms. McCorkle said the word literacy makes her think of people who inspire others as readers and writers. For her, she said, it was a third grade teacher who “instilled such a love of reading and writing.”
“I think it’s a love we often take for granted …,” she said “That exposure can open doors and turn your life around.”
Ms. McCorkle, the featured Spring for Literacy author, also discussed and read from her most recent book, Life After Life, at the April 23 luncheon at Galloway Ridge.
All proceeds from Spring for Literacy benefit the Chatham County Literacy Council’s free literacy programming for adults who live or work in Chatham County. This year, Chatham Literacy netted $16,000 from ticket sales, sponsorships, and donations to the event.
Katerina Sinha, who earned her high school equivalency credential at Central Carolina Community College in January, told the audience that she got behind in school after contracting the Epstein-Barr virus in ninth grade and ultimately had to drop out of high school to focus on recovery.
“When I joined the GED Program at CCCC, I was worried that getting back into the swing of preparing for timed testing would be a struggle,” she said. She credited her instructor and her Chatham Literacy tutors with helping her succeed.
“From day one they took a personal interest in the learning needs of each of us. This attitude gave the classroom a sense of encouragement, which helped me do my best,” said Ms. Sinha, who was awarded a CCCC Foundation scholarship. She said she plans to earn a doctorate in cognitive psychology and to become a college professor so that she can stay “in the atmosphere of gaining and spreading knowledge.”
The Chatham Literacy staff and Board of Directors are grateful to them, to everyone who attended Spring for Literacy, and to the following individuals and businesses who supported the event:
Spring for Literacy Committee:
Committee Chair Jewel Hoogstoel; committee members Bill Arthur, Bonnie Bechard, Sarah Carr, D.J.Lynch, Vicki Newell, Liza Terll, and Evelyn Ullman; and volunteers Fran Mears, Terry Parsons, Paul Stiller, and Joanne Stoller.
Platinum Sponsor R.B. Fitch; Silver Sponsor Godsey & Gibb Wealth Management; Bronze Sponsors Evelyn Barrow, Duke Energy, Galloway Ridge, Terry Parsons Interior Design, Anonymous; Friend Sponsors Baba Antique Wooden Floors, Cackalacky, Carolina Meadows, Chatham Economic Development Corporation, Duke Center for Living at Fearrington, Les and Grace Ewen, Jewel Hoogstoel, Carl and Edna Newell, Bettina Patterson, Robert and Gloria Wilkins, and Anonymous.