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Author to offer insights into the life of Blind Willie McTell

Lecture set for Tuesday at the Averitt Center

Author to offer insights into the life of Blind Willie McTell

Author to offer insights into the life of Blind Willie McTell


Award-winning author and producer David Fulmer will offer his insights into the life of a Statesboro legend at the Emma Kelly Theater inside the Averitt Center for the Arts in downtown Statesboro. The lecture is set for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 4.

Fulmer, the author of six critically acclaimed historical mysteries and the writer-producer of the documentary “Blind Willie’s Blues,” will deliver a speech about Blind Willie McTell. A blues legend, McTell called Statesboro home during his adolescent and teen years and returned there throughout his life. The Georgia-born blues master’s most famous song is “Statesboro Blues,” which remains a staple of the Allman Brothers Band’s repertoire.

The March 4 speech is free to the public and is the 22nd in the Averitt Lecture Series, begun in 1990 by the late Dr. Jack N. Averitt and his wife, Addie. The lecture series strives to bring to Statesboro outstanding thinkers and authors who can contribute to the public’s understanding and appreciation of Southern history, literature and culture.

The Bulloch County Historical Society, with the support of the Jack N. and Addie D. Averitt Foundation, began sponsoring the lectures in 2007 following the death of Dr. Averitt. At the time of his death, Averitt was dean emeritus of the Jack N. Averitt College of Graduate Studies and professor emeritus of history at Georgia Southern University.

Blind Willie McTell, born William Samuel McTier near Thomson in 1903, is recognized as being on a short list of true masters of country blues. He was among the first to record blues and made records for a dozen labels – including Victor, Okeh, Columbia and Atlantic – over a career that lasted until his death in 1959. Along with “Statesboro Blues,” he is known by blues aficionados for tunes like “Broken Down Engine,” “Travelin’ Blues” and “Dying Crapshooter’s Blues.” It was the latter song that Fulmer used to title his 2006 mystery that used McTell as a character.

Video Librarian described Fulmer’s 1996 documentary on McTell as “... nothing less than the economic, social, and historical evolution of America's indigenous music.” It earned a nomination for a W.C. Handy “Keeping the Blues Alive” Award in 1999.

Fulmer is the author of seven critically acclaimed and award-winning novels. “Chasing the Devil’s Tail” was nominated for a Los Angeles Times Book Prize, a Barry Award and a Falcon Award, was on Borders’ “Best of 2003 List,” and won the 2002 Shamus Award. “Jass” was nominated for the “Best of 2005” lists by Library Journal, Deadly Pleasures Magazine, and The St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “Rampart Street” rated New York Magazine’s “Best Novels You've Never Read,” and the audiobook won a Benjamin Franklin Award. “The Dying Crapshooter’s Blues” received the BookPage “Ice Pick of the Month Award” among other plaudits and “The Blue Door” was nominated for the Shamus Award for Best Novel. “Lost River” was published in 2009 and “The Fall,” was released by Five Stones Press in 2011. “The Night Before,” an adult holiday novella, was published in 2012.

His books have received superlative reviews from the The Times Picayune, The New York Times, Publishers Weekly, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Washington Post, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, BookList, Kirkus Reviews, The Baltimore Sun, Mystery Review, The Detroit News, The Telegraph (of London), The Plain Dealer, Crime Spree Magazine, The Boston Globe, Crimetime UK, The Tennessean, Library Journal, Jazz Review, Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, The Christian Science Monitor and numerous other publications and book websites. Four of his books have been released in audiobook form and have been translated into Italian, French, Japanese and Turkish. His next historical novel, “Will You Meet Me in Heaven?,” will be published later this year.

A native of central Pennsylvania, Fulmer lives in Atlanta.

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