Quinn Hawkesworth kicks-off this year’s “Sunday with Friends” literary series at the Washington County Public Library with a reading from the poetry and fiction of the late Lou Crabtree, which she entitles “Lou Crabtree: the Ride of a Lifetime.” The event is Sunday, Jan. 15, at 3 p.m. at the library in Abingdon, Virginia.
Hawkesworth is a professional actress and was a close friend of Crabtree. Through this program, she hopes to keep the memory and artistry of Crabtree alive in the community. She says, “The poems and stories of Lou Crabtree, like the lady herself, are deeply rooted in this region. At the same time her writing reaches beyond Appalachia, beyond mountain charm and easy compromise, to flash reflections of her spirit in our eyes. Earthy, funny, harsh, reminiscent, fantastical — her words are signposts to her white-hot grasp on life.”
Crabtree, who died in 2016, lived most of her life in Abingdon and Washington County, Virginia. Her career included high school teaching, farming, directing a senior-citizen band and lecturing. Her first book, a collection of short stories entitled “Sweet Hollow,” was published in 1983 by Louisiana State University Press after writer Lee Smith “discovered” Crabtree during a writing workshop at the Virginia Highlands Festival. Crabtree won many awards for her writing, including a PEN/Faulkner award and poetry awards from “Shenandoah” and the Poetry Society of Virginia.
In 1988, Crabtree was declared a “Laureate in Literature” in Virginia. In 1998, the Sow’s Ear Press published a collection of Crabtree’s poems entitled “The River Hills and Beyond,” which was named the Virginia Center for the Book’s “Poetry Book of the Year in 1999.”
Hawkesworth, in addition to acting, is also an accomplished fiber artist who has an exhibit next fall at the Arts Depot in Abingdon. She also is an active volunteer with the Animal Defense League.
There is a reception following Hawkesworth’s event. The Friends of the Washington County Public Library is a voluntary, non-profit organization whose activities have included raising funds to improve library facilities, taking a firm stand in support of intellectual freedom, sponsoring literary and cultural events and providing financial support for special projects.
For more information on the event, call 276-492-2013.