High Country Writers: Janet Ellerby



Thursday, November 14, 2019 - 9:30am - 12:00pm


BREMCO Community Room
2491 Hwy 421 South
Boone, NC 28607


This moving work recalls the decade’s prodigious effect on a generation of Americans that came of age during that transformative time of changing mores. Janet Mason Ellerby follows the crooked path she took from a protected and privileged childhood and early adolescence to her unplanned pregnancy and banishment and to her daughter’s birth and adoption. She then delves into the complex journey embarked on over the next thirty-five years, haunted by her first child’s memory and attempting to compensate for her loss. Ellerby crafts an autoethnography, relating and reflecting upon the changes in middle-class American attitudes that informed the conservative suburbs of the fifties, through the political revolution of the sixties, seventies, and into today. In so doing, she provides a personal commentary on the shifts in adoption culture and describes the overlooked heartbreak that many birth mothers endure.

Janet Mason Ellerby, Professor Emerita, received her Ph.D. from the University of Washington and began teaching at the University of North Carolina Wilmington in 1990. While there, she helped to establish and direct UNCW’s Women and Gender Studies Program and its Women’s Resource Center. She taught Literary Theory, Women in Literature, and 20th Century Literature and has published three books: Intimate Reading: The Contemporary Women’s Memoir (Syracuse UP 2001); Following the Tambourine Man: A Birthmother’s Memoir (Syracuse UP 2007); and Embroidering the Scarlet A: Unwed Mothers and Illegitimate Children in American Fiction and Film (U Michigan P 2015) as well as many essays and articles on subjects such as pedagogical approaches to Wallace Stevens’ poetry, to the fiction of Zelda Fitzgerald. In 2017, Janet retired from UNCW and moved permanently to Boone where she enjoys gardening, hiking, biking, and family visits, and where she is always grateful to return after traveling the world.


Phone: (828) 264-8784 x2
  • Closest Town or City:
    • Boone
  • County:
    • Watauga
  • Event Category:
    • Art/Cultural,
    • Literary,
    • Meetings
  • Additional Info:
    • Free

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