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Local author to present at Houston Cole Library


The writer becomes the reader this week.

Local author Beth Duke will be reading selections from her novels for the Friends of the Houston Cole Library annual spring author event today, March 6, at 7 p.m. in Room 1103 B of the Houston Cole Library.

Her two books, Delaney’s People and Don’t Shoot Your Mule, focus on fictional characters set during real historical events. The latter is based around the April 2011 tornados in Tuscaloosa.

Duke, who hails from Anniston, was invited to speak at the event this year because of her ties to the community and her experience in self-publishing.

Dr. Joanne Gates, chair of the Friends of the Houston Cole Library, believed Duke’s experiences to be an important reason for her to speak to the students at JSU.

“One thing that the writers group found very interesting about her efforts at getting herself published,” said Dr. Gates, “was that she introduced us to a place that was a self-publishing area that’s unlike most self-publishing types of operations.”

The entity is called CreateSpace and is a part of Amazon. Duke published her books through CreateSpace, and this drew the Friends of the Houston Cole Library to invite her to speak this year.

The purpose of the operation is to allow for easier access to the publishing of smaller volumes, at smaller prices than those of larger entities.

Duke will speak about this to the audience today.

Dr. Gates hopes students who attend will find inspiration in Duke’s process of publication.

“I know there are a lot of students who write at a level of quality that would be appropriate for this self-publishing at CreateSpace and it is relatively less costly,” Gates said.

The event includes an informal talk, followed by a reading of a selection of her stories. Refreshments will follow the reading.

There will also be a meet and greet with Duke for those who attend.

Dr. Gates described it as “a chance for especially the younger student audience to have exchanges with a published writer. That’s the best experience you can have.”

Attendees will also be able to experience firsthand how Duke incorporates her southern upbringing and ties to the surrounding community into her fiction.

“She’s kind of making a point of taking something local,” said Dr. Gates, “but leaping from that to fictionalized characters who go through some of the same experiences as her family. But she’s able to shape it in her own way because of the fiction motif.”

For more information on Beth Duke, her blog “Delta Delta Delta” can be found at

Students can also read her short story “7 Thieves” on display by the East Entrance to the library.

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