Sharyn McCrumb, an award-winning and New York Times bestselling author, will speak about her latest book, The Ballad of Tom Dooley, at the Tuttle Dining Room, McBryde Hall, on the campus of Winthrop University on Thursday, November 3 at 6:30 p.m.
This latest novel is a part of her famous series of Appalachian “Ballad” novels, which are “set in the North Carolina/Tennessee mountains. These books weave together the legends, natural wonders and contemporary issues of Appalachia.” The series includes If Ever I Return Pretty Peggy-O, The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter, She Walks These Hills, The Rosewood Casket, The Ballad of Frankie Silver, The Ghost Riders, and The Devil Amongst the Lawyers.
Most persons are familiar with the folk song made famous by the Kingston Trio in the 1950s, “Hang Down Your Head, Tom Dooley.” This song is based upon a true incident that occurred in the North Carolina mountains in 1866.
Sharyn relates the basic elements of the story on her website: “Laura Foster, a simple country girl, was murdered and buried in a shallow grave on a mountain side, and her lover Tom Dula [Dooley] was hanged for the crime. The sensational elements in the case attracted national attention: a man and his beautiful married lover accused of murdering the other woman; the former governor of North Carolina [Zeb Vance] spear-heading the defense; and a noble gesture from the prisoner on the eve of his execution, saving the woman he really loved.”
McCrumb’s novel is historical fiction, but as with her earlier “Ballad” books, she did considerable historical research on her subject, unearthing new information of the case. Hence, she maintains that her new novel, “tells the true story behind the celebrated folk song.”
Current plans are for Sharyn McCrumb to speak on her novel and then take questions from the audience. After that, she will autograph copies of her books, which will be for sale at the event.
This program is sponsored by the Friends of the Dacus Library and is open to the general public.