Kaye Gibbons, award-winning author of the coming-of-age novel “Ellen Foster,” will kick off this fall’s Fine Arts and Lecture Series events with a lecture at Dalton State College on Sept. 27.

Her presentation will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Goodroe Auditorium of Memorial Hall and is free and open to the public.

Gibbons, a native of North Carolina, is best known for the 1987 release of “Ellen Foster,” the tale of a young girl’s difficult adolescence and her journey toward adulthood. Her other novels include “A Virtuous Woman,” “A Cure for Dreams,” “Charms for the Easy Life” and “Sights Unseen.”

“Kaye Gibbons is not only an accomplished novelist, but she’s also one of the funniest speakers I’ve ever heard,” says Keith Perry, chair of the Fine Arts and Lecture Series committee.

“I heard her speak as part of a panel two years ago during the Conference on Southern Literature in Chattanooga and she was easily the most entertaining speaker of the whole conference.”

“Ellen Foster” was chosen by the Modern Library Association as one of the 200 Best Novels in English published since 1950. The novel is often taught in high schools and universities, frequently teamed with such standards as “Huckleberry Finn,” “Catcher in the Rye” and “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

The character of Ellen Foster is “a Southern Holden Caulfield, tougher perhaps, and as funny,” said novelist Walker Percy. The novel is “the real thing — which is to say a lovely, sometimes heart-wrenching first novel.”

The book drew from some of Gibbon’s personal experiences growing up and won a first fiction award from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters and a Special Citation from the Ernest Hemingway Foundation.

In 1998, Gibbon’s novels “Ellen Foster” and “A Virtuous Woman” were chosen together as Oprah Book Club selections and led The New York Times bestseller list for many weeks.

For more information on this event and other events for fall, call (706) 272-4469.

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