July 1, 2016 at 8:31 am

Author Robert Gipe Speaks at Alden Library, July 12

Robert Gipe, author of Trampoline: An Illustrated Novel, visits Alden Library on July 12.

Robert Gipe, author of Trampoline: An Illustrated Novel, visits Alden Library on July 12.

On Tuesday, July 12, author Robert Gipe is in Athens for a talk at Ohio University’s Alden Library from 3-4 p.m. The talk is free and open to the public.

Gipe is the author of Trampoline: An Illustrated Novel, a debut novel that won the 2015 Weatherford Award in Fiction and was highly praised by both reviewers and fellow authors. Trampoline was published by Ohio University Press.

Novel Earns Positive Reviews

“A story that left my heart at once warmed and shattered, Trampoline rides the razor’s edge of raw beauty. This is Appalachia shone with a light uniquely its own. I dare say Robert Gipe has invented his own genre,” says David Joy, author of Where All Light Tends to Go.

The novel’s setting and main character have left an indelible mark on its readers, with Ann Pancake, author of Strange as this Weather Has Been, noting, “I’ll never forget Dawn Jewell. I’ll never escape Canard County.” Pancake also remarks, “I fear this book. I’m in love with this book. I’m laughing out loud at this book. I am knocked to my knees in grief by this book. One of the most powerful works of contemporary fiction I’ve read in years.”

Gipe as an Appalachian Writer

Cover of Robert Gibe's book, Trampoline: An Illustrated Novel.

Robert Gibe’s book, Trampoline: An Illustrated Novel.

Gipe, who is originally from Kingsport, TN, is the director of the Appalachian Program at Southeast Community and Technical College in Cumberland, KY. Under Gipe’s leadership, the program emphasizes the importance of regional, cultural and sustainable development and makes “a systematic effort to document, preserve and present regional experience through the Appalachian Archives.”

“I have been able to live in coalfield communities and mix it up with all kinds of people in an ordinary daily kind of way on all kinds of fronts—and I’ve had a chance to listen to how people tell their own story and how they react to the myriad ways their story gets told by friends, foes, and the well-intended,” Gipe notes in an interview with Dylan Mullins of Appalachian Heritage.

Novel’s Accompanying Illustrations

This keen awareness of people and place manifests itself in the illustrations that accompany Gipe’s book.

“I feel like the drawings, in which the narrator is seen speaking, help emphasize the direct address of the first-person narrator to her audience. I wanted to play along the line dividing oral and written language, and the drawings helped me do that. I also thought the drawings might set the book apart from other drawing-free books, and break up the monotony of the prose,” Gipe explains.

Light snacks will be served at the Authors@Alden afternoon event, and copies of Trampoline will be available for sale. Details about the event are at Authors@Alden: A Conversation with Robert Gipe.

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