2018 Pacific Northwest Book Award Nominees
Novelist Alec Clayton, Author of "Tupelo"
Orca is thrilled to welcome Olympia author Alec Clayton back to the store on this October afternoon. Alec will be reading from his new novel, Tupelo.
A tale told from beyond the grave by Kevin Lumpkin, the youngest of a set of identical twins, Tupelo is the story of a small town in an era of reluctant change. as seen through the eyes of a white boy born to privilege who comes of age in the time of Freedom Riders, lunch counter sit-ins, civil rights marches and demonstrations. Born in 1943 on the night when their father's hardware store burns to the ground, Kevin and his brother grow up in idyllic times, the boom years of the 1950s-football, fast cars, rock and roll, and dates with the cutest girls in school. But gradually he discovers that he and his family live in a protected bubble while less than a block away in an area known as The Alley, a handful of black families live in poverty, almost invisible to Kevin and his family. He develops a crush on Maddie Jean, a young girl from The Alley, but they both know they can never be friends. He watches in confusion as his white friends react to the growing civil rights movement, in horror as they riot on campus at nearby Ole Miss when James Meredith breaks the color barrier at the university, and he witnesses the trial of another child of The Alley who is falsely accused of rape and murder.
Alec Clayton was born in Tupelo, Mississippi, an identical twin and the youngest of six children. He lived in Tupelo until he was twelve years old, at which time he moved to Hattiesburg, sixty miles from the Gulf Coast setting of his Freedom Trilogy books. Alec majored in art at the University of Southern Mississippi and finished his master’s degree in painting and drawing at East Tennessee State University. His writing career began in New York City, where he edited a weekly newspaper. The Claytons moved back to Hattiesburg, where he and his wife, Gabi, published Mississippi Arts & Letters. They moved to Olympia, Washington in 1988. Alec has since been editor and writer for periodicals including The News Tribune and the Weekly Volcano in Tacoma, Washington, and Oly Arts in Olympia.