category: Campus News University to host award-winning author Rita Sims Quillen category: Campus News | March 24, 2015 Rita Sims Quillen (March 24, 2015) – Carson-Newman’s Appalachian Cultural Center will host a reading by celebrated Appalachian author Rita Sims Quillen at 7 p.m. Monday, March 30, in the Appalachian Cultural Center. Quillen will read excerpts of several of her works including her novel “Hiding Ezra” and various samples of poetry and essays. A multi-passionate creative, she also plans to play a collection of songs she has written. “Rita Quillen’s work is richly varied—from scholarly essays about Appalachian literature, to poetry, to her new novel,” said Dr. Susan Underwood, director of Creative Writing at Carson-Newman. “The unique spirit of her voice comes through whole in everything she does, genuine and real.” Before the event, Quillen will spend the afternoon working with creative writing students, helping them sharpen their skills and allow a glimpse of life as a creative writer. Quillen, a Virginia native, was a finalist for a DANA Award for “Hiding Ezra.” A chapter of the book is featured in “Talking Appalachian,” a scholarly study of Appalachian dialect. She was a semi-finalist for 2012-2014 Poet Laureate of Virginia for her recent collection, “Something Solid to Anchor To,” and the Appalachian Writers Association named her earlier collection, “Her Secret Dream,” Outstanding Poetry Book of the Year in 2008. “An Evening with Rita Sims Quillen” is free and open to the public. Carson-Newman’s Appalachian Cultural Center is located on Russell Avenue in Jefferson City.