Reading Matters

Novelist Tony Earley to speak at Davidson College on Thursday

The quirky guy from Rutherford County who sold his first short story to Harper’s -- over the transom, as a graduate student -- will give the Vareen Bell Memorial Award at Davidson College on Thursday at 6:30 p.m.

Tony Earley told me in an interview last fall that he tells his graduate students in creative writing at Vanderbilt University that there is an aquarium and they are in it and they have to find a way out.

How to get out, he says, is what he can’t teach. “They have to find a way of framing the world that nobody else has.”

Earley is the author of the bestselling novel, “Jim the Boy,” and his most recent collection of short stories, published last fall, is “Mr. Tall.”

Vareen Bell, a Davidson graduate and Georgia native, died in World War II. He was the author of the 1940 novel, “Swamp Water,” set in the Okefenokee Swamp, which became the 1952 film, “Lure of the Wilderness.”

The lecture, in the 900 Room of the Alvarez College Union, is free and open to the public.