Pulitzer Project reaches halfway point

Leona Charleigh Holman has officially reached the halfway point in her year-long Pulitzer Project and said her overall goal has irreversibly changed compared to when she started.

Holman said she is officially 44 books down, with another 45 to go. The project so far does not include this year’s Pulitzer winner.

“What I am reading is more than a checklist,” Holman said.

In particular, she said books like the Orphan Master’s Son has “left an impression on my psyche,” leading her to the conclusion that literary fiction is more like a series of forgotten memoirs.

“It shows how history affected people in the real world,” she said. “They are fictional characters, but you know it is grounded in truth.”

Another book that illustrated her point is a book that showcased the lives of Vietnamese people during the Vietnam War, both the good and the bad.

“As a reader, I am becoming more empathetic to the characters,” Holman said.

She said these “hidden memoirs” can bear added weight when used to reflect on actual history, which she said often repeats.

“You can look at fiction and read these memoirs of how history affected the person in real life. Not everyone can go to the [Mexico-America] border, but everyone can open a book.”

She said this reading project has also shaped her abilities as a writer.

“It has helped me find my own voice,” Holman said. “I have to turn off the self-critique and realize I am being brought to the book to learn.”

She said a “lofty” project that started as simply finishing items on a list has evolved into a complex dive into not just history but writing as an art form.

“I am genuinely surprised by every book I open,” she said. “I am open to the story and where it will take me.”

Some stories have been light-hearted and funny, while some she said “causes a lump in the throat.” Further, she said she prefers reading in this way, which was a surprise.

“I did not know I was hoping for that,” Holman said.

For others who might be interested in pursuing such a project in the future, she said they need to consider what she herself has learned.

“If you are going to do that, you have to be open for the experience,” Holman said.

The Pulitzer Project’s next meeting is this evening at 5:30 at the Elizabethton/Carter County Library. This month’s meeting will feature a 20-question quiz on Kitridge’s work.

Local news

Fish and Chicken Feast May 4 at Boozy Creek

Local news

ETSU to screen ‘Forest for the Trees’ documentary

Local news

Bites by the Bridge, new event for First Friday at Covered Bridge Park

Local news

Milligan commencement set for April 27

Local news

UETHDA announces commodity distributions for May in area

Local news

TDEC to host public input session for home energy rebate programs

Local news

JCPD joins National Prescription Drug Take Back Day to promote safe medication disposal

Local news

Roan Mountain Spring Naturalist Rally scheduled this weekend

Local news

State Historical marker to honor John Sevier in Washington County

Local news

Enjoy the magic of synchronous fireflies at Greeneville’s Firefly Festival in June

Local news

A Life Lived: Carolyn Walker was a beacon of hope and light in family, community

Local news

Flag Pond to host Upper E-T Fiddlers Convention

Local news

Food City earns 2024 Great Place To Work Certification™

Local news

Happy Valley High Quiz Bowl team will compete in championship tournament

Local news

Elizabethton City Police issue ‘Peddler’ Permits for Brightspeed Internet Sales

Local news

Early morning fire brings significant damage to local business

Local news

Northeast State celebrates NC3 Signing Day with students

Local news

Tennessee ranks as 7th least expensive gas market in the U.S.

Arrests

Johnson City man arrested for aggravated domestic assault and interference with emergency calls

Local news

ETSU preparing to launch first-of-its-kind program in Tennessee

Local news

ETSU Upward Bound program participating in Summer Food Service Program

Community

UHS Class of ’64 enjoys reunion

Local news

CCSO, TSA warn of scam calls claiming to solicit funds for sheriff’s association

Local news

Elizabethton High School FFA places 2nd in Regional Envirothon competition