‘Sanctuary’ author’s talk speaks to Pellissippi State’s Common Book

Pellissippi State Community College hosts Greg Johnson, an author and News Sentinel columnist, for a reading from his meditation on the Smoky Mountains, “Sanctuary,” at 11:45 a.m. Wednesday, April 16.

The free event takes place at the Strawberry Plains Campus, and the community is invited. The reading is sponsored by the Strawberry Plains Creative Writing Club. Students will read some of their own original, nature-themed works beginning at 11:30 a.m., before Johnson’s presentation.

Johnson, a native of East Tennessee, completed “Sanctuary” in anticipation of the 75th anniversary of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which occurred in 2009. The book is a collection of written and photographic meditations on the mountains.

“Greg Johnson’s moving, intimate essays celebrate the mountains and their Maker,” said Patricia Ireland, an instructor of English at Pellissippi State, “inviting readers to walk into the wild, in keeping with the spirit of this year’s Common Book.”

The presentation is part of the yearlong schedule of events tied to Pellissippi State’s 2013-2014 Common Book, “A Walk in the Woods,” by Bill Bryson. The book has inspired discussions on topics as wide-ranging as ecology, biological diversity, the effects of tourism, the importance of outdoor activity and the tradition of nature writing.

In his first-person narrative, Bryson recounts his tale of hiking the Appalachian Trail. He reflects on the many emotions, logistical problems and incidents to be expected for a hiker on the AT. The account also touches on the history of the Appalachian Trail and National Park Service, the depredations of disease and insects on trees and plants, the need for environmental awareness and stewardship, and the ever-present threat of bears.

The Strawberry Plains Campus is located at 7201 Strawberry Plains Pike.

For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources at (865) 694-6607 or humanresources@pstcc.edu.