category: Campus News

Public invited to ‘Deep in the Earth’ reading

Carson-Newman University will host a public reading of fiction writer Mary Bozeman Hodges’ first novel, “Deep in the Earth,” a coming-of-age tale set in an East Tennessee zinc mining town during the early 20th century.

The Appalachian Cultural Center and English Department will present the reading at 7 p.m. Dec. 3 in the Thomas Recital Hall of the Tarr Music Center.

Hodges will read short passages from the book, which was released by Sapling Grove Press on Nov. 1, and talk about the writing process. Admission is free.

In her latest work, lead character Moss McCullen struggles to grow up, care for his family and find love. In the perilous zinc mines, Moss and his fellow miners sustain their communities and those who love them by descending each day into the rock below their very farms and houses, deep in the earth.

“‘Deep in the Earth’ is not only a passionate love story but also a detailed picture of work in the mines and life in this small town where class and race determine many fates,” author Lee Smith said of the novel. “You will find yourself deeply involved in these lives and loves. ‘Deep in the Earth’ is that rarity — a literary page-turner.

Former Kentucky Poet Laureate George Ella Lyon declared the novel “a classic story of a boy trying to take his father’s place and live his father’s dream, only to be caught in the same web of classism and racism that marred his parents’ lives.”

Following the event, Hodges will sign copies of the book, available for purchase at the reading, online at and, and by request at booksellers around the region.

A native of Jefferson City, Hodges has served as an adjunct English professor at the University since 1988. She is the author of two previous short story collections, “Tough Customers and Other Stories” and “Plastic Santa and Other Stories.” Her writings have also been included in journals such as “Appalachian Heritage” and “Journal of Kentucky Studies” and in anthologies including “Listen Here: Women Writing in Appalachia.”

Founded in 1851, Carson-Newman is a Christian liberal arts university located in Jefferson City, Tennessee, among the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. The University has over 2,500 students and offers 50 undergraduate majors, as well as associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees. The institution’s website is

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