Henry Doss

Henry Doss speaking at Night of the Spoken Word.

JEFFERSON — The yearly Night of the Spoken Word was held Saturday, May 25, at the Ashe County Arts Center, which celebrated the tradition of oral storytelling as well as the abilities of local writers.

Since the event began in 2002, it has been a haven for writers to share their work, with more than 50 people participating since, according to Arts Council Executive Director Jane Lonon.

“Over the years, we have featured over 52 readers, many of them have read multiple times,” Lonon said. “It’s just such a treat to hear new work and the diversity of the work which has been created.”

Readers at the events range from university professors and elementary school teachers to columnists and authors. This year’s event featured 11 readers: Becky Stragand, Dianne Renfroe, Naomi Faw, Chris Arvidson, Scott Pope, Pat Beaver, Janet Pittard, Henry Doss, Loftin Hargrave, Pam Pellegrino and Christy Palmer.

The tone of the works ranged from the funny and happy “Yard Sale” from Hargrave to the more serious and somber untitled piece from Doss about the recent shooting at UNC Charlotte. The subject matter was just as varied, with Arvidson setting the ground rules for her upcoming grandchildren to to Faw’s anecdote about homemade chicken feed.

The event started as, and still acts as an offshoot of, the Wordkeepers Writers’ Salon, which also allows writers to show off their work while celebrating words of all conveyance.

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