On April 2, the UWG’s Spring Book Discussion featured author Anthony Grooms in the Campus Center Ballroom at 7 p.m. The event was free and open to the public and included a reception, panel discussion and book signing with the award-winning author.
The Center for Diversity and Inclusion hosts a book discussion each Fall and Spring semester. According to their website, these book discussions are designed to promote intercultural communication, education and awareness through the reading and discussion of various books about various cultures. Many other organizations collaborated to make the event possible. Other sponsors included the University of West Georgia’s Presidential Commission on Campus Inclusion, Ingram Library, West Georgia Athletics, Housing and Residence Life, the Student Activities Council, the Center for Adult Learners and Veterans, and the College of Arts and Humanities. The event was also supported by Horton’s Books & Gifts, Underground Books and the Carrollton Writers Guild.
“Since the book discussion is so big in the Spring we look to feature Georgia authors,” said Doris Kieh, Program Coordinator for the Department of Institutional Diversity. “Librarian Craig Schroer from the Ingram Library works with professors to get students to come to the discussion. One of our committee members, Michelle Morgan, works in the community. We had quite a few people from the community who came.”
Featured in this Spring’s book discussion was Grooms’ most recently published and well-known novel, Bombingham. Selected as a Washington Post notable book of the year, Bombingham is a story about Walter Burke, a man affected by and first-hand experience with the violence at the height of the Civil Rights Movement and the war in Vietnam. In this critically-acclaimed novel, Burke is attempting to write a letter to the parents of a fallen soldier. As Burke writes this letter he is struggling internally with violent memories, that he shares with a childhood friend, of a segregated Birmingham. Bombingham also places focus on the infamous bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in 1963.
Grooms is a professor of creative writing and literature at Kennesaw State University. His writing focuses on racial inequality of the Jim Crow South and the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. Grooms is a two-time winner of the Lillian Smith Book Award for fiction – the South’s oldest and most well-known book award. The award has been honoring authors, whose books illuminate racial and social inequities and propose a vision of justice and human understanding in the American South, since 1968.
“Grooms gave a wonderful historical overview of the city of Birmingham,” said Kieh. “He is a great author.”
UWG hosts a book discussion bi-annually. These events always feature decorated, award-winning authors. It is a great opportunity for students to network and learn from professionals who are veterans in their field.