Featured Speaker

Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle

Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle, a citizen of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, resides in Qualla, NC. She holds degrees from Yale University and the College of William and Mary. Her debut novel, Even As We Breathe (UPK 2020), was a finalist for the Weatherford Award, named one of NPR’s Best Books of 2020, and received the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award (2021). Clapsaddle’s work appears in Yes! Magazine, Lit HubOur State Magazine and The Atlantic. She teaches secondary English and Cherokee Studies, is an editor for the Appalachian Futures Series (UPK), and serves on the board of trustees for the North Carolina Writers Network.

Even As We Breathe, University of Kentucky Press, examines race and class in the secluded microcosm of Grove Park Inn in Asheville, North Carolina, during the summer of 1942.  Clapsaddle tackles the complexities of race relations, familial identity, and citizenship for Cherokees and draws comparisons between rural Cherokees, rural whites (soldiers and civilians), and upper-class foreign diplomats.

“A fresh, welcome, and much needed addition to the fiction of the Appalachian South and its neglected people and places.”

—Charles Frazier, New York Times

bestselling author of Cold Mountain

Festival Youth Headliner Sarah Glenn Marsh

In recent years, the book festival has also sponsored an author to visit area schools.  The 2022 virtual youth headliner Sarah Glenn Marsh writes young adult novels and children’s picture books. An avid fantasy reader from the day her dad handed her a copy of The Hobbit and promised it would change her life, she’s been making up words and worlds ever since.

When she’s not writing, Sarah frequents the pottery studio, volunteers her time to sighthound rescue, and raises awareness about her autoimmune disease, Type 1 diabetes. She often enjoys pursuits of the nerd variety, from video games to tabletop adventures. She’s never met an animal or a doughnut she didn’t like.

Sarah lives in Richmond, Virginia with her husband and their tiny zoo of four rescued sighthounds, two birds, and many fish. She is the author of Fear the Drowning Deep, the Reign of the Fallen series, and several books for younger readers.

Sarah will be signing books at the Stryker Center from 3:00 to 4:00 Saturday afternoon. You can hear her speak on an AOFTA stage at 2:15 on Saturday.