Local author Thompson heads to Georgia literary festival

Karrigan Monk
Asheville Citizen Times
Black Mountain resident George B. Thompson Jr. has a new novel, "What Hardy Found," and will be featured at a literary festival in Georgia.

A local author will soon head to a literary festival in Georgia.

George B. Thompson Jr. will be featured on the Writing for Young Adults panel at the Dahlonega Literary Festival March 4.

The annual festival has been canceled for the past two years due to the pandemic but will return for in-person events this year.

According to its website, the Dahlonega Literary Festival is a “celebration of readers, writers and books.” The festival is run be a group of volunteers “who enjoy bringing readers, authors and the written word together to celebrate a common love of books and literature.”

Thompson was invited to the panel as a result of his book “What Hardy Found.” Though he said he has written other books, this is his first novel. Thompson called the novel a “surprise.”

A native of Oregon, Thompson is an ordained Presbyterian minister and was on the seminary faculty of the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta for 14 years. He said, in the past, he has mostly written for congregations and pastors. He now lives in Black Mountain.

Thompson said he woke up one Saturday morning with images of a story in his mind. He said he spent half an hour writing down everything and told his wife, who encouraged him to continue writing. The resulting book is “What Hardy Found.”

The novel follows a young boy as he moves to a mountain town. He meets a new friend in school and the two embark on a journey to find answers to a mystery.

Thompson said the book can be read by all ages and readers will pick up on different aspects of the story depending on their age and experience.

“There are layers to the story and kids will pick up on the adventure and the excitement and adults will pick up on a lot more,” Thompson said. “There are elements of historical and social dynamics that come up in the book. I don’t tell the reader what’s happening. I let the reader follow the story and figure thing out.”

Thompson said he was partly inspired by the Georgia home he was living in. The Dahlonega home is on the National Register of Historic Places and has connections to the Cherokee Nation. He said he was fascinated with the history of the house and he wove what he learned into the story of “What Hardy Found.”

Thompson said he is looking forward to the festival and getting to meet people and share his work.

“I think it’s got a lot to offer readers today,” Thompson said. “Not just in terms of an exciting story, but also as a way to reflect upon our country and the way we’ve dealt with issues of what it means to be American.”