11/15 - VIRTUAL Author Event with Julia Watts

Mail_8 Tue, 11/02/2021 - 1:54pm

Union Ave Books welcomes regional author Julia Watts to present her latest YA novel, Needlework. Julia will be joined in conversation by Susan Groenke, director of the UTK Center for Children's and YA Literature. This free virtual event takes place on Monday, November 15th @ 7pm (Eastern) on Zoom. You MUST register at the following link to attend.


In rural Kentucky, a sixteen-year-old boy with a love of quilting, cooking and Dolly Parton helps his grandma care for his opioid-addicted mother, until the discovery of a family secret upends everything he has ever believed.  While other sixteen-year-old boys in Morgan, Kentucky, love hunting and football, Kody prefers to spend his time quilting with his grandmother (“Nanny”), watching  Golden Girls reruns, and listening to old Dolly Parton albums. Nanny is Kody’s main caregiver, but it takes both Nanny and Kody to take care of Kody’s mother, whose drug problem is spinning out of control. Between looking after Mommy and trying to survive in a place that doesn’t look kindly on feminine boys, Kody already has a hard time making sense of his life. But then he uncovers a family secret that will change everything in his life.


A native of Southeastern Kentucky, Julia Watts is proud to be both an Appalachian and a queer writer, and her work most often depicts the lives of LGBTQ characters in the region. Julia is the author of over a dozen novels for adult and young adult readers including the Lambda Literary Award-winning Finding H.F., the Lambda Literary Award finalist The Kind of Girl I Am, and the Golden Crown Literary Award winner Secret City. Her 2018 novel Quiver was an Indie Awards finalist, a VOYA Perfect 10 Award winner, and a Southeastern Independent Booksellers' Okra Pick. She is the co-editor, with Jeff Mann, of the anthology LGBTQ Fiction and Poetry from Appalachia, which was also a Lambda Literary Award finalist. Julia lives in Knoxville and is a member of the East Tennessee Writers' Hall of Fame and was recently the recipient of the Tennessee Library Association's Intellectual Freedom Award. Julia taught college English for over twenty years, then "retired" to pursue a PhD in Children's/Young Adult Literature at The University of Tennessee. When not writing or reading, she enjoys cooking, swimming, and spending time with her family and her many pets.

About Susan Groenke
Susan L. Groenke, associate professor of theory and practice in teacher education, earned a BA in English in 1993 and an MA in curriculum and instruction in 1995 from Virginia Tech. She then taught English, language arts, and creative writing at the middle and high school levels for six years before returning to Virginia Tech to pursue her doctoral degree in curriculum and instruction. In 1999, Groenke was nationally board certified in English/language arts for adolescents. She received her PhD in 2003. Her research interests include adolescent motivation to read and adolescent understandings of young adult literature. Groenke is currently the program advisor for the English education program. She teaches courses in secondary English methods, composition pedagogy, and young adult literature. She is the former editor of English Leadership Quarterly, an NCTE publication. In 2014, she became the director of the Center for Children’s and Young Adult Literature at UT.

Event date: 
Monday, November 15, 2021 - 7:00pm
Event address: 
Needlework Cover Image
ISBN: 9781953103079
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Three Rooms Press - October 5th, 2021