Local author John Bateman will be the first lecturer for the Friends of the Library's fall Books and Authors series hosted by the Starkville Public Library.

Bateman will read from his new book "Who Killed Buster Sparkle?" and discuss the writing process and how it has impacted his life.

The event is free, open to public and will continue for at least two more times this fall and three times in the spring. 

Sue Minchew, the public relations chair for the Friends of the Library, said these events are meant to educate adults in the community and serve as intellectual stimuli.

“We love the work done for the children at the library, but we think our adults need something too,” Minchew said. “The Friends of Library try to do something throughout the year that functions as education for our adult patrons of the library.”

Minchew encourages readers and writers in the Golden Triangle area to attend this event since it is an opportunity to learn in a public space with their fellow community members.

“It's a wonderful time for them to get to hear from published authors as well as socialize with others who are interested in books and reading,” Minchew said. “They develop a comradery.”

Bateman said he is excited to participate in this event and promote literacy in his community, as well as discuss his writing process and experiences. 

“I think it is really important to support the libraries as community centers because they often have a variety of activities like this,” Bateman said. “Along with reading from my book, I will talk a little bit about writing and the process, as well as the role it has on my life.”

Growing up in Starkville, Bateman has been able to see first hand the importance that literacy has on professional development and wants to promote continued reading to the adults in his community as a means of growth and learning.

“Literacy is a needed work force development skill, but it also serves to build critical thinking skills,” Bateman said. “Anything that prompts writing and reading is something I want to support.”

Minchew said the organization primarily highlights Mississippi authors with the occasionally generally Southern author included as well. 

Next month the Terry Lynn Thomas, author of The Silent Woman who began her writing career in MS, will speak at the meeting, and Janet Brown, author of “Deadly Visit,” from the Jackson area, will be the final speaker for the fall meetings.

In regards to his own experiences as a Mississippi author, Bateman said the South serves as inspiration for much of his writing and deeply impact his life.

“I wrote this book set in Mississippi and when I was in New York City,” Bateman said. “There is a tremendous amount of influence and inspiration that comes from the Deep South. I truly like being a southern writer.”

Since the release of his book, Bateman said it has been well-received, and its impact is already evident in some of the more thoughtful comments he has been given. 

“I didn’t know what to expect at first,” Bateman said “But now, I have had people who tell me, ‘John, I am not a reader, but I couldn’t put the book down.’ That’s a huge deal for any writer to hear.”

As Minchew and her fellow members of Friends of the Library, prepare for the coming sessions, she encourages those involved and interested to communicate their literary interests so the group can continue to host events that are interesting to the public.

“We have hosted a wide range of authors included Michael Cardos, who teaches as MSU, and Andy Harkness, who works at Disney, but we are always looking for new ideas and ways to connect with our audience,” Minchew said.

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