"Ansa tells a good quirky story, and she tells it with humor, grace and great respect for the power of the particular."
That's the judgment of The New York Times about Georgia author Tina McElroy Ansa. Statesboro will have the opportunity to see for itself when the award-winning novelist reads at the Statesboro Library Tuesday at 7 p.m.
The Meet the Author event is co-hosted by the Statesboro Friends of the Library and Georgia Southern University's Department of Writing and Linguistics. The reading is preceded by a reception at 6 p.m., and all events are free and open to the public.
Ansa also will speak to 150 eighth grade students at Langston Chapel Middle School during her visit.
"I want to inspire students to read and to write," Ansa said. "Sometimes young people just need to see an author to know they're regular people. It connects them to stories and helps them realize they can write their own."
Walt Strickland, president of Friends of the Library, said, "One of the missions of the library is to take books and reading beyond the walls of the library and out into the community. We're thrilled Friends of the Library can help bring a writer like Tina Ansa to our young people, too."
The Langston Chapel classes were chosen because Georgia curriculum standards for eighth grade require students to read a Georgia author.
Ansa calls herself "one of those little Southern girls who always knew she wanted to be a writer."
She grew up in middle Georgia in the 1950s hearing her grandfather's stories on the porch of her family home and strangers' stories downtown in her father's juke joint. The experiences became the inspiration for Mulberry, Georgia, the mythical world of her five novels.
Ansa's books were chosen were selected by the Georgia Center for the Book for their list of 25 Books Every Georgian Should Read. In 2005 she received the Stanley W. Lindberg Award, which honors a lifetime of significant contributions to Georgia's literary culture.
Ansa's first novel, "Baby of the Family," was named a Notable Book of the Year by the New York Times and was also on the African-American Bestseller List for Paperback Fiction, and won the American Library Association's Best Book for Young Adults Award, the Georgia Authors Series Award, and the African-American Blackboard List.
"Ugly Ways," her second novel, was named Best Fiction by the African-American Blackboard List. In the year it was published, Ansa was nominated for an NAACP Image Award. "The Hand I Fan With," her third novel, was also awarded the Georgia Authors Series Award, making Ansa the only two-time winner of the honor.
Her newest novel, "Waiting for Mudear," also marks the debut of Ansa's publishing company, DownSouth Press.
The novelist, publisher, filmmaker, teacher and journalist is a regular contributor CBS Sunday Morning and also written for the Los Angeles Times, (New York) Newsday, The Atlanta Constitution, and the Florida Times-Union. Her non-fiction work has appeared in Essence Magazine, The Crisis Magazine, MS. Magazine, America Magazine, and Atlanta Magazine.
Ansa's visit is also a preview of a creative writing workshop course, "Writing the Novel," which she will teach at Georgia Southern this summer as the 2011 Visiting Writer for the Department of Writing and Linguistics.
Public readings are also planned, and more information about additional events will be made available once finalized. The event marks the first partnership effort between the Friends of the Library and the GSU department.
"When the Friends of the Library works with GSU, it helps us both reach a wider audience with great programs like Tina Ansa," Strickland said. "I hope we can do more in the future."