By Bob Leary
Asheville – Looking for something different to share with your out of town guests, or just expand your knowledge of Asheville’s history and lore? Are you a “literary traveler”? Then Asheville Lit Tour is for you!
Sarah Giavedoni and Jim MacKenzie, both graduates of UNC Asheville in Mass Communications, have put together a rich and informative tour that brings together Asheville’s literary connection and rich history. Starting with a “wealth of literary knowledge” about Asheville and wondering what to do with it all, they developed the Asheville Lit Tour. Longtime readers of the Tribune might recognize Jim MacKenzie name as a byline in the paper as MacKenzie’s worked several years as a reporter for the Tribune.
To quote their website – “Think of this tour as an interactive, bookish guide to Downtown Asheville. It’s a glimpse of some of our widely known writing stars, best sellers, literary journeys, and yes, tragedies.”
Refreshed and updated over the winter, this “history tour with a twist” starts at Pack Square and weaves its way through local streets. The 90-minute walking tour in downtown Asheville will connect you with authors and destinations that have, at once, enriched our local history and inspired the authors. All the books and authors talked about have some connection to Asheville. Names like Wilma Dykeman, Ernest Hemingway, James Patterson, Thomas Wolfe and, of course, F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald come alive during the tour, but some of the stops are names and places you would not expect.
According to Sarah, the tour is trying to cover an aspect of Asheville that is mostly overlooked. The tour goes beyond more formal literature, including the memoirs of a famous pilot, and internet drama that has played out in the last few years.
Jim says that after you’ve taken the tour, when you go home or talk with friends about Asheville, you are going to have a wealth of interesting things to tell them. It will make you sound like an expert on this town.
For a Weaverville connection, “Let Me Feel Your Pulse” is believed to be the last story written by O. Henry. It’s truly one of his most biographical and was inspired by the town of Weaverville, where he lived out his final years.
Go to avllitmap.com to learn more about the tour, your guides, and to read more on their blog, which expands on the tour, and is “literary adjacent” to it. Any information on local authors or happenings would be much appreciated.
If you live locally and are interested in taking the tour, they are offering a 20% discount for locals.
So, take the tour, and learn something about Asheville that you didn’t know. You won’t regret it!