BOONE — High Country Writers welcome John Guzlowski, poet, Holocaust speaker and author of the mystery “Suitcase Charlie” as the speaker for the regular program meeting, Thursday, May 8, at the Watauga County Public Library.

Meetings are from 10 a.m. to noon. Programs are co-sponsored by the library, and the public is invited.

John Guzlowski was born in a refugee camp after World War II and came with his family to the United States as a displaced person in 1951. Growing up in the immigrant and refugee neighborhoods in Chicago, he was surrounded by those with stories similar to his parents’ — clerks with Auschwitz tattoos on their wrists, Polish officers who still mourned for their dead comrades and women who had walked from Siberia to Iran to escape the Russians.

Guzlowski’s poetry, fiction and essays evoke them and their voices. A number of these poems appear in his books, “True Confessions: 1965 to Now,” ”Echoes of Tattered Tongues,” “Language of Mules,” and “Lightning and Ashes.”

Nobel Laureate Czeslaw Milosz, reviewing the Polish translation of “Language of Mules,” for the journal “Tygodnik Powszechny,” said, “This volume astonished me.” Guzlowski is author of novels, “Road of Bones,” forthcoming from Kasva Press, about the German soldiers who murdered his mother’s family during the Second World War and “Little Schoolboys,” a mystery about the murder of a nun and a pedophile priest.

A professor emeritus at Eastern Illinois University, John Guzlowski currently lives in Lynchburg, Va. He writes a weekly memoir-based column for the Polish Daily News in Chicago, the oldest Polish newspaper in the country.

His most recent novel, “Suitcase Charlie,” from Kasva Press, is a noir crime thriller about the murder of a young boy whose dismembered body is found in a suitcase. Set in Chicago in 1956, Guzlowski was inspired by a series of murders that horrified his city in 1955. Marilyn Stasio, in the New York Times, wrote, “Even the hard-bitten police lieutenant in charge of the fictionalized case is shaken by the singular brutality of the unknown killer… The sheer cruelty of the case’s multiple murders demands coarse language, at which Guzlowski excels. But in describing the saintly Sisters of St. Joseph nuns who live near the murder scene as ‘tough broads, eyes like razors,’ he lets us know that, back in the day, the city of Chicago was an all-around rough town.’”

High Country Writers has been “energizing writers since 1995.” Regular meetings are at the Watauga County Public Library on the second and fourth Thursdays of most months from 10 a.m. to noon, and speakers’ presentations are co-sponsored by the library.

HCW members present writing and publishing skills workshops the first Thursday of most months, partnering with Watauga County Arts Council to offer them at Art Space. Guests are welcome.

For more information about HCW, visit www.highcountrywriters.org.

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