By Sarah Baker

Friends of Literacy hosted a Readers’ Night Out event at Union Avenue Books on June 16.  Local authors including Art Smith, Vince Vawter, Marilyn Kallet, Marcel Browers, Carole Anne Borges, Emily Strout and Pamela Schoenewaldt read excerpts from their work and signed copies.  Twenty percent of all book sales benefitted Friends of Literacy.  Fans of the written word enjoyed fabulous wine and appetizers by Holly’s Eventful dining while socializing with some of Knoxville’s favorite authors while contributing to a great cause.

Union Avenue Books is always a comfortable, intimate venue and the writer’s did not disappoint.  From the famously fabulous delivery of Marilyn Kallet to the emotional generosity of Marcel Bowers, each one was munificently aware of his or her audience.  The evening felt very much like an occasion shared with the authors, rather than one put on by them.  This is a great deal due to the magic touch of Friends of Literacy’s Executive Director, Melissa Nance, and her talented staff.

The mission of Friends of Literacy is to support the delivery of high quality literacy programs and related services to adults in Knox County who are inadequately educated to meet the challenges of daily life.  Their community outreach includes student recruitment, referral, and advocacy, as well as recruitment and training of volunteer tutors.  Their goal is to provide basic education and life-skill training so that students become better workers, parents, and citizens.

Friends of Literacy is also accepting applications for nominees for their East Tennessee Writer’s Hall of Fame until August 2.  Nominees must either be a native of, currently residing in, or have lived in East Tennessee, or have a body of work related to East Tennessee.  Nominees should also be available to attend the Hall of Fame event on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel.  In order to submit a nomination, visit