USC Upstate First Lady to Host Popular Author Michel Stone

October 25, 2018 at 4:57 pm

USC Upstate First Lady Tressa Kelly

University of South Carolina Upstate First Lady Tressa Kelly and Associate Professor Araceli Hernandez-Laroche will host an “Author Spotlight” event with award-winning author Michel Stone on Monday, November 5. The event, which is open to the public free of charge, will be held at the Olin B. Sansbury, Jr. Campus Life Center Ballroom from 5:30 – 7:00 p.m., beginning with a reception.

A native of South Carolina and a longtime Spartanburg resident, Stone is a writer, speaker, educator,

Author Michel Stone

and community volunteer. In 2018 she was awarded the Patricia Winn Award for Southern Literature. Her critically-acclaimed novels, “Border Child” (Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, 2017) and “The Iguana Tree” (Hub City Press, 2012), have been compared to the writings of John Steinbeck. Both books have been optioned for film.

“I am fortunate to have had an opportunity to get to know Michel,” said Kelly. “Her latest novel, ‘Border Child’ is particularly relevant given today’s spotlight on immigration. Dr. Hernandez-Laroche and I wanted to bring a thoughtful discussion to campus, and Michel’s ability to humanize the stories now so familiar to us on the news will provide students and community members with a unique opportunity to participate in this critical conversation.”

Hernandez-Laroche, an associate professor of modern languages, is, herself, a recognized force for cultural diversity, inclusion, and equity. She will lead the discussion with Stone about “Border Child” and the realities of the American immigration experience.

“As an immigrant from Mexico who has studied literature from around the world, I think that it is important to highlight the power of empathy in literary works,” Hernandez-Laroche said. “It’s a great honor to work with Dr. Kelly on this important cultural event that celebrates a phenomenal local author whose novels have captivated audiences.”

“Border Child” has been favorably reviewed by The New Yorker, The San Francisco Chronicle, Charleston Magazine, The Charlotte Observer, and The New York Journal of Books, among many others. Stone currently is working on a third novel.

“Often I’m asked how I came to write fiction about the border,” said Stone in a 2017 essay. “I always say my novels are not so much about the border as they are about the power of human connectedness, of familial love, and how family dynamics change with extreme adversity.”

Stone has published numerous stories and essays, and is a 2011 recipient of the South Carolina Fiction Award. She is a graduate of Clemson University with a Master’s Degree from Converse College, and an alumna of the Sewanee Writers Conference. Stone is the immediate past board chair of the Hub City Writers Project.

For more information about this event, please contact Dr. Araceli Hernandez-Laroche, ahernandez-laroche@uscupstate.edu. Reservations are not required but are strongly encouraged. To RSVP, visit www.uscupstate.edu/authorrsvp. The Olin B. Sansbury, Jr. Campus Life Center is located at 180 Gramling Drive on the USC Upstate campus.