SHOP EVENTS – updated March 5

Friday, March 13 –  the annual ST PATS CEILIDH DANCE  starts at 7 pm at the Big Stone Gap Presbyterian Church (next door to the bookstore).

Saturday, March 14 – THIS WEATHER HAS BEEN MURDER, our semi-annual murder mystery at the bookstore. With the snow and flooding we’ve been having lately, is it a miracle we’re not chasing each other with axes? The Good Citizens of Big Stone have demanded a meeting with the town council so that various do-good groups may present their plans for emergency care: The FourWheel Drivers of America Tea Service; the Onward Christian Snowman League; the formidable Animal Safety of SouthwestVirgina Emergency Society (or ASSES, as they are known); and a few others. Message the bookstore right away if you want a part in this interactive mystery, which sees the demise of sweet Margaret Henry. But was she the intended victim, or did the icicle miss?

Although we had hoped to have a Cat Adoption Reunion weekend in March, the crazy horrid weather has suggested it’s best to postpone until June.

Friday, April 11 – starting at 6 pm and running until the cows come home – CARDS AGAINST HUMANITY tournament. There are two rules: you must maintain a sense of humor at all times; and what happens in the bookstore, stays in the bookstore. Bring something to share and come enjoy the fun!

April 23, Thursday 6-7:30 pm – PIZZA AND POETS Join Rita Quillen reading from her poetry book SOMETHING SOLID TO ANCHOR TO and leading some writing exercises and discussion of poetry writing. For all levels of experience. $6 per person for pizza, made by our Good Chef Kelley in the Second Story Cafe!

May 9, Saturday 10-4 is our semi-annual AUTHOR FARE – if you’re a local or regional self-published writer and want to promote your book, you can sign up for a table for the morning or afternoon slot, and meet and greet the guests. We usually have six authors participate, 3 each side of lunch. We also invite one author to give a writing workshop, so if you’re interested in that, please get in touch via email at

Fri., Sat. May 15 and 16 – Singing in the Cumberlands

This is the second year of this new and innovative event. Singing in the Cumberlands is an intensive, focused opportunity to explore the connections between Scottish and Appalachian ballads and songs in the company of like-minded enthusiasts.

For more details or to make a booking – 276-523-5097 or


Quaker meetings are now the first and third Sunday of each month, 11 a.m. A fellowship meal follows.

Writing Group is the first Monday of each month, 7 p.m.

We are usually happy to host a special event if you want to run one. Just drop us an email with the details.





Jan. 30, Friday, 6 pm BURNS NIGHT – the annual tradition celebrating Scotland’s most famous poet, Rabbie Burns. Join Jack and Wendy with songs, Ron and Joan Short giving the Toast to and Response from the Lasses, and other guests filling the traditional roles of Salute to the Haggis, Piping in the Haggis, and more. Sit-down dinner $15 per person, reservations required.

Feb. 6, 13, 20, 27 – Friday Night concert series DRIVE THE COLD WINTER AWAY Home cooking with a twist and oldtime and bluegrass music with Tyler Hughes on Feb. 6; Stories of love gone wrong and sideways with Saundra Kelley in honor of Valentine’s Day, plus “romantic” food; Feb. 20 Big Showtunes with Christy Lee and friends; Feb. 27 home cooking and traditional music with Willie Dotson.

August 2 – The Little Bookstore welcomes Berea College’s Board and Visiting Faculty for a night of interesting conversation and intense discussion. We’re putting the fun back into Appalachian Studies. Sorry, but bookstore will close to public at 5 pm.

August 16, Saturday all day – WRITE COMES TO THE CUMBERLANDS – this year’s all-day intensive workshop focuses on dialogue and description in narrative writing (fiction or non). Fees apply – visit the event page WRITE COMES TO THE CUMBERLANDS on Facebook for specifics, or email

August 29, Friday 7 pm – The Little Bookstore welcomes storyteller and musician Michael Reno Harrell. Tickets are $8, $5 for unwaged. Suitable for ages 12 and up. If you’re not familiar with MRH’s laid-back yet thought-provoking storytelling style, you’re in for a treat!

August 30, Saturday, 6 pm – Cards Against Humanity tournament, an evening of very childish entertainment for grown-ups. Children are welcome but they have to stay downstairs with their own set of board games. Bring snack foods to share, and remember, everybody gets one “I won’t play this card” – but only one! Free, everyone welcome.

Sept. 26 and 27 – BIG STONE CELTIC FESTIVAL, Friday evening concert featuring Southern Highlanders, and all day Saturday events including sheepdog trials, music, food, dancing, storytelling, and crafts. Check website for details, most events free:

Saturday June 21, EDIBLE BOOK CONTEST, 2 pm – Create your own version of a book that should be devoured – like some of these, perhapsedible book grapes of wrath  20000 leagues twilight

Janelle Bailey and her daughters will be minding the shop that week, and along with Big Stone Gap’s own reincarnated Emily Dickenson will be judging the competition. All entries receive a $10 gift certificate to the store, and the winner receives either a $100 certificate, or the weekend free in our remote woodland cabin – winner’s choice. For rules visit the homepage of the blog and scroll back to June 8 or so.

IF YOU ARE PLANNING TO VISIT LITTLE BOOKSTORE PLEASE NOTE: Jack is gone until July 6, and Wendy will be joining him June 25-July 6. Shopsitting then will be Kelly Saderholm, Berea alum and Glasgow, KY literary person of interest, along with her daughter and nephew.



April 7-11 – Jack and Wendy are headed to FOX CITIES BOOK FESTIVAL in Wisconsin for all sorts of fun and shenanigans

Saturday, April 12 Kingsport, TN Jack and Wendy entertain members of the Teaching Union in Kingsport

6:30 pm Wednesday, April 16 An Irish Feast – join storyteller Liz Weir for an evening of stories accompanied by a traditional Irish repast in the Second Story Cafe. $15 ticket includes meal and storytelling.

7pm Friday, April 18 – World book night boxes are ready at the bookstore! Come hear Rita Quillen read from her new book Hiding Ezra (a WWI story from the region) and pick up your books to give away!

Friday-Saturday April 25-26 Jack teaches an all day traditional ballad singing course in Lee County; pre-booking required. Contact Jack directly via facebook.


6pm May 1 – Join Storyteller Granny Sue for an evening of Appalachian goodness! A set menu and stories from the mountains of WV and the valleys of TN. $10 tickets include supper and storytelling, plus a bit of music.


Five local authors will be on hand from noon-5 pm to showcase their books, with a table for talking set up in the bookstore. At 6 pm we welcome Backroads




Sept. 1, Sunday, 11 am Quaker Meeting followed by community lunch

Sept. 2, Monday, 7 pm WRITING GROUP coordinator Mike Samerdyke

Sept. 3, Tuesday and ALL the Tuesdays of every month, 7 pm NEEDLEWORK NIGHT. As one participant said, “You won’t find a more diverse group of people anywhere, and it’s just a front for plotting the revolution.”

Sept. 5, Thursday, 7 pm LET’S TALK discussion group coordinator Tony Palubicki

Friday Sept. 6-Sunday Sept. 8 Jack and Wendy are emceeing SYCAMORE SHOALS CELTIC FESTIVAL, Elizabethton, TN at the state park there. Come say hi!

Sept. 9, Monday, 7 pm Famous Irish storyteller Liz Weir offers a house concert at THE LITTLE BOOKSTORE. $8 ticket/$5 for students and senior citizens. Probably not a good idea for kids under 10.

Sept. 10 – Oct. 15, every Tuesday Jack teaches at the College for Older Adults in Abingdon: Ballads, Songs, and Folklore of Scotland. Email if you’d like more information on attending the COA. (Or Google COA and Ramsey White, director, and apply directly!)

Sept. 27-28, Friday evening and all day Saturday: BIG STONE CELTIC! A great free festival featuring foods, songs, stories, dances and children’s activities from the seven Celtic Nations. Bike race, sheepdogs, little British cars, and more. Guests this year include IONA, Doug and Heather Bischoff, Stardust Dancers, Sigean, Harpist Martha Painter, and more.

JAN 2014

Sun, Jan. 19 Jack and Wendy participate in Trinity United Methodist of Norton, VA’s annual EPIPHANY service of lessons and carols. Starts at 5 and is a LOVELY evening of music chock full of regional musicians.

Jan. 24, Friday, 6:30 pm BURNS SUPPER – $15 per person, for full traditional Scottish meal and program including the Toast to the Lasses, Immortal Memory, and Piping in of the Haggis. Not recommended for young children.

Jan. 30 Wendy guests on North Carolina station AM 980 The Eagle (WEGO) The Truth Network just after 8 a.m.


Feb. 4-6 Jack and Wendy are in DC for some advocating

Feb. 9, Sunday, 3 pm Winton-Salem, NC A MOVABLE FEAST of writers, with Wendy and several other authors. For tickets, contact

Feb. 12 (Wednesday, 7-9 pm) Wendy will be at the Barnes & Noble in Roanoke for their annual Authors Event. Come by and say hello!

Feb. 14, Friday, 6:30 pm THE DREADFUL DATE – an evening with mystery author Jamie Mason and other tellers of love tales gone wrong, accompanied by decadent chocolate desserts and light snacks. $10 per person. Children not old enough to watch HBO should not attend.

Feb. 15, Saturday, 11 a.m. Potter Barbara Rogers visits from Black Mountain, NC to showcase her wares and have a good ol’ chat with any and all artists who want to come say hi. Pottery wil be for sale.


Jack and Wendy are in Montreat, North Carolina March 7 and 8 to participate in a John Knox reenactment event. (The mind boggles! More details forthcoming.)

March 12, noon, Jack teaches at the Adult College of Learning in Johnson City, TN

March 14, all day event, a celebration of John Knox in Johnson City, TN

Saturday, March 22, 6:30 pm ANNUAL CEILIDH DANCE held in Presbyterian church next door to bookstore, come one, come all!

Friday, March 28 Jonesboro Storytelling Guild brings guest tellers to the Second Story Cafe for a pleasant night out. Exact time tbc.


Oct. 3, Thursday LET’S TALK

Oct. 6, Sunday, 11 am QUAKER MEETING followed by Community Lunch

Oct. 7, Monday, 7 pm GAYLE ROSS, storyteller, will come up from the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesboro and present a house concert of Native American stories. Tickets $8/$5

Oct. 8 SECOND STORY CAFE opens in the bookstore, under the direction of Kelley Pearson. Breakfast 8:30-11, lunch 11-3, coffee and pastries anytime

Oct. 11-12 Wendy will speak at Southern Festival of the Book in Nashville, TN

Oct. 14, Monday, 7 pm WRITING GROUP

Oct. 14, 21, 28 Jack teaches at KACL (Kingsport Adults Classroom Learning) on Scottish Culture 10 am each time

Oct. 19, Saturday Jack and Wendy attend the Library of Virginia Award Ceremony in Richmond, where Wendy is one of three finalists for the Non-Fiction Literary Award. (WHOOOHOO!)

Oct. 21: Jack is at Afterwords Books in Illinois (Edwardsville)

Oct. 22: Jack is at Al’s Used Books in Kansas (Wichita)

Oct. 23-26: Jack is at the Prison Visitor Service conference in Colorado


Nov. 1, Friday, 7 pm MURDER IN THE BOOKSTORE XIII: local author Neva Bryan writes a murder about an author whose book made some people see red – as in blood…… featuring the return of Margaret, Girl Detective in the Fedora, for those of you who attended the April event

Nov. 3, Sunday, 11 am QUAKER MEETING followed by Community Lunch

Nov. 4, Monday, 7 pm WRITING GROUP

Nov. 7, Thursday, 7 pm LET’S TALK

Nov. 18, Monday, 10 am Wendy guests at KACL to talk about LITTLE BOOKSTORE


May 13, 10 am Wendy visits Waynesboro Book Club, Northern Virginia

May 21, noon CHRISTIANSBURG book club visits Little Bookstore and has a day out in Big Stone Gap.

May 21, 7 pm author Jamie Mason (Three Bags Full, a great debut thriller) speaks and signs at bookstore

May 23, 6 pm Jack and Wendy provide balloon theatre at BSG library – these aren’t fractured fairy tales, they’re popped!

MAY 31 – UVa Wise College Provost Sandy Hugenin moves to the JJ Pickle Campus! (That’s a euphemism for buys the farm in academic-speak.) 7 pm starts Murder in the Bookstore 11: A GOOD GUNMAN IS HARD TO FIND. Whodunnit? And why? Email for an interactive role in this wild and wickedly funny murder mystery.


June 14-27 Jack leads Scotland and Ireland tour

June 15 (Saturday) Wendy will speak at Mountain Heritage Literary Festival, Lincoln Memorial University, Tennessee.


July 12-14, Jack and Wendy are leading workshops and providing music at Whippoorwill Festival, Berea, KY (at HomeGrown Hideaways)

July 25-27 Jack and Wendy visit Eureka, Missouri. Friday night at the Parks and Rec movie, Saturday at 10 at MariaJoseph Books, and Saturday night at the winery!


Saturday, August 10, WRITE COMES TO THE CUMBERLANDS, a day-long workshop to help you finish (or start) your novel or narrative non-fiction. $140 for day event and all meals, accommodation available. Email for registration details.

2012 and earlier 2013 stuff we did


All Tuesdays, 7 pm NEEDLEWORK NIGHT (Jack’s Birthday Feb. 5th)

First Thursday 7 pm LET’S TALK, a discussion group that tackles a different one-word topic each month; February is EDUCATION.

Second Thursday 7 pm MOVIE NIGHT,title tbd but since this is Valentine’s Day, it will be seasonally themed

First Sunday, Quaker Meeting 11 am followed by lunch and open circle music session

First Monday, 7 pm Writing Group; bring your novel, non-fiction, etc. and enjoy the company of other writers

Friday, Feb. 15, 6:30 pm SOUL FOOD OF LOVE gourmet night at the bookstore. $15 per person, limit 12, Shamerine Barber is chef. Menu is fried chicken, cornbread, collard greens, mashed potatoes, and sweet potato pie. Reservation only event.

Thursday, Feb. 21 6:30 pm Big Stone Gap public library, Jack and Wendy will be talking with the Pine Knots book club – oh, this will be fuuuuun! Half the members are in the book. We love a hometown gig. (This was moved from January due to bad weather.)

Friday, Feb. 22 6-8 pm and Saturday Feb. 23 1-6 pm. Learn to make a pinwheel or patchwork quilt with Destiny Gilliam Baker. $25 per person, bring your own sewing machine, batting and thread. Fabric has been donated for the class, but if you want to bring your own as well, feel free. Limit 4 participants, reservation only.

March (unless otherwise specified, events take place in Tales of the Lonesome Pine Used Books and Internet Cafe, aka the Little Bookstore)

All Tuesdays, 7 pm NEEDLEWORK NIGHT

First Thursday 7 pm LET’S TALK, discussion group tackling a different one-word topic each month.

Second Thursday 7 pm MOVIE NIGHT

First Sunday, Quaker Meeting 11 am followed by lunch and open circle music session

First Monday, 7 pm Writing Group; bring your novel, non-fiction, etc. and enjoy the company of other writers

Saturday, March 9th 7 pm, Celtic Ceilidh Community Dance, with Sigean as house band, and Cynthia West as dance caller/instructor. You don’t need to know how to do the dances to attend, and you don’t need a partner, although you are welcome to bring one or several! Weary comfy, light clothing and shoes, and bring yourself some water, or buy a bottle at the church for $1.

March 15-16, Atlanta, GA Wendy and shopsitter Andrew Whalen will be speaking at GABBS about working with SIBA (Southern Independent Booksellers Association) to set up the bookshop sitter network for small mom-n-pop shops

Wednesday, March 20 Wendy (non-fiction) and Lisa Alther (fiction) are the guest speakers at the John Fox Literary Festival here in Big Stone Gap. 10 am, luncheon following

Thursday March 21, Clifton Forge Library (not far from Lynchburg) 6 pm Wendy speaks on The Little Bookstore.

Friday March 22, afternoon (possibly 2 pm?) Charlottesville Public Library, as part of the Virginia Festival of the Book, Wendy speaks on a panel of books about books

March 27, 1 pm University of Virginia’s College at Wise Faculty Lecture series: The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap (Chapel of All Faiths, public welcome)


Sept. 7-8 SIBA (Southern Independent Booksellers Association) Naples, FL – Wendy was on a panel Friday at 11 “Booksellers who Write Books”

Oct. 6 Union Avenue Books, Knoxville 2 pm

Oct. 9 Book People, Richmond, VA 6 pm

Oct. 10 Winchester Book Gallery, Winchester, VA 5 pm

Oct. 18 Spiral Bookcase, Philadelphia 7-9 pm

Oct. 19-21 NYC stuff tbc (look out, world!!!)

Oct. 22 WNBA’s Nat’l Reading Group Month BiblioFeast, Charlotte 6:30 pm

Oct. 28 Malaprop’s, Asheville, NC 3 pm (Jack will be singing)

Oct. 29 The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, NC 6pm (discussion/workshop on writing, followed by signing)

Nov. 8 Parnassus Books, Nashville 6:30 pm

Nov. 9 Booksellers at Laurelwood, Memphis 6-7 pm

Nov. 14 Joseph-Beth, Lexington, KY 7 pm

Nov. 15 Larry Bowen’s Reader’s Corner, Rolla, Missouri

BLACK FRIDAY – Kingsport Mall outside Moody’s Bookstore, TN (9-11 am)

Nov. 26 noon-2 Fountain Books, Richmond, VA

Dec. 9 “Authors of Appalachia” series, Abingdon Library, VA 3 pm
Dec. 14 (Friday) Left Bank Books, St. Louis, Missouri 7 pm (please help us publicize this one; it’s an isolated gig in a far location, and we’re needing to really get the word out. Thanks for posting it on FB or Twitter and such.)
If you are interested in having us visit your bookstore or related venue, we’d be happy to discuss plausibility around these dates. Drop an email to and (Kim keeps us straight. We keep Kim crazy. It’s a good working relationship.) Thanks!
2013 Stuff We Did


Jan. 10 and 22 – 4 pm Jack will be singing Celtic music for senior citizens in Bristol

Jan. 17, 6:30 pm Big Stone Gap public library, Jack and Wendy will be talking with the Pine Knots book club – oh, this will be fuuuuun! Half the members are in the book. We love a hometown gig.

Jan. 20, 4:30 pm Norton Methodist Church, Jack and Wendy sing for the LESSONS and CAROLS service held there annually. This is such a lovely event, peaceful and deep. Everyone welcome; it’s a big church and usually packed out.

Jan. 24, 7 pm in our very own bookstore, BURNS NIGHT, an annual celebration of Scotland’s most famous Bard, Robert Burns; event is free.

Jan. 25-27, Manassas, VA for the Highlands Festival there. We’ll be singing and telling stories, and conducting a few workshops on the connections between Celtic and Appalachian music. Wendy will be doing the Response from the Lasses and Jack giving the Immortal Memory at the Burns Supper.

Jan. 29, 6 pm PRO ART sponsored writing workshop: how to get started on your memoir, novel, or other writing project. Free. University of Virginia’s College at Wise, Gladeville Room

Jan. 30, 1 pm University of Virginia’s College at Wise Faculty Lecture series: The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap POSTPONED due to gunman hoax on campus; a wild ride for a few days there!


Dec, 1, Sunday, 11 am QUAKER MEETING followed by Community Lunch

Dec, 2, Monday, 7 pm WRITING GROUP

Dec. 4, Thursday, 7 pm LET’S TALK

Dec. 13, Friday, 7 pm CELTIC CHRISTMAS – our most popular event (well, until we murdered the college Provost last spring) Songs, stories, and foods from the seven Celtic Nations. There will be a sit-down meal this year, followed by a program of entertainments. $10


16 responses to “SHOP EVENTS – updated March 5

  1. Rats the Left Coast isn’t on your schedule. Well I plan to buy the book anyway. :-)

  2. I am reading The Little Bookstore in Big Stone Gap and LOVE, LOVE it and have recommended to my friends. Now I find out you are coming to Nashville! Looking forward to meeting you!

  3. Linda Kelly

    I am from the area and am enjoying your book. I just read about the murder mystery events. Do you still have them? If so, I would be VERY interesting in attending one.

    • We do! Contact Andrew Whalen (our shopsitter) and see if he plans to run one in November. We left it up to him (he’s got a lot on his plate and he’s doing MAGNIFICENT shelf rearrangements for us). If he doesn’t run one in Nov. we will in Jan. Most years they are April and Nov. but the book has knocked a few schedules sideways. :]

  4. Marcia Phillips

    I was in Virginia Beach when I read a review of the book and went out and bought it that same night (which I never do – wait to find most books reduced) but loved every page. You described things like the books murmuring to you that I thought only I had felt. What a kindred spirit! I live where you will never visit but I do visit family in NC (Davie County) often and hope to retire there doing book repairs and conservation – what I do for a job now. So I will be in to visit your bookstore next chance I get. By the way I assume you have discovered the blow dryer trick to remove tape… If not, let me know. Anyway plan to use your book as supplemental reading in a course I teach. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
    Marcia Phillips, Special Collections Librarian, Northland International University

    • We’re in Southern Pines right now, waiting out the Appalachian Snowpocalypse before heading home tomorrow. Come see us in Big Stone Gap when you can, and thanks for letting me know you liked the book. (Yes, Jack uses the hairdryer trick sometimes. Also the finger roll.)

      • Marcia Phillips

        Thanks for the personal reply. If you ever need any help with book repair or old book questions, please consider me your free resource gal.

  5. I look forward to your coming to Nashville on the 8th. I was born in Stonega – 86 years ago. My parents met in Big Stone Gap. She was from Alabama and he from Scott County, VA. My Alabama grandparents knew friends who lived in Big Stone Gap and were visiting them when my parents met. See you on the 8th.

  6. Gillian Benson

    A few days before Christmas I was lamenting to my husband that our local Barnes & Nobles will be closing in Feb (I was told it was due to a landlord/rent problem). This means we’ve lost all independent and chain book stores in our portion of Fairfax, VA – something I just can’t believe! The economy in northern VA is strong and there are lots of readers; how can this keep happening? My sympathetic husband surprised me with your book for Christmas, which I have inhaled – thank you for your positve energy, love of books and for giving us hope.

    • Bookstores are smaller, smarter, faster – and still here. If you get down to Richmond, check out Book People (Granite Ave) and Fountain Books (downtown where the cobbled streets are). Book People is run by Ruth and is a lovely, cheerful used books shop. Fountain Books is run by Kelly and is beautiful and sharp and fast new books shop.

  7. Kay

    I am viewing your blog because I will be reading your book as our next bookclub selection! I see that you are going to Istanbul in April. My daughter lives in Istanbul and she has a blog, also on WordPress, which you may be interested in reading:
    Looking forward to you book and enjoy your trip!

  8. I am a former manager of an independent bookstore, now work in nonprofit management. I bought your book last night, sat in my car (in the driveway) reading it until it got dark, then moved indoors and continued reading. I emailed a friend first thing this morning to recommend your book –and she informs me that you and L. Alther will be speakers at the Mar. 20 Fox Lit. Festival at MECC!!!!!! Can’t wait!!!! Also, I see on the calendar that your hubby is performing at an Elderhostel here in Kingsport. We have an Elderhostel?!?! Where?

    • Hi Katherine (Jack here) Wendy got it slightly wrong – it’s the adult learning program run through ETSU Kingsport. It’s called KCAL. Similar to an elderhostel but without the accommodation part.

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