Clyde Edgerton to speak at High Point University
We know Clyde Edgerton to be an award-winning novelist. Essayist. Short-story author. Professor of creative writing. Musician.
We know considerably less about the role Edgerton fulfills in his spare time — dad.
That’s about to change, though, with today’s release of Edgerton’s latest literary effort, “Papadaddy’s Book For New Fathers: Advice To Dads of All Ages.” In this book, the North Carolina-born author channels his famed wit and wisdom to tackle the joys and, um, challenges of fatherhood — everything from installing a car seat and child-proofing the house to potty-training, birthday parties and the importance of not cursing in front of your children.
Consider, for example, Edgerton’s amusing been-there-done-that tale of assembling a crib.
“It took me about four days to put this crib together in my living room,” he recalls during a telephone interview. “I had such a hard time — it took me forever to put the thing together. Finally, I finished it about 4 o’clock in the morning, and I was so happy and proud. I started rolling it into the baby’s room, and it wouldn’t fit through the hallway door.”
Edgerton’s advice for installing a car seat?
“Put in the car seat before the first baby comes,” he says. “This process could take one to seven days.”
With Edgerton turning 69 this month — “considerably older” than his three children younger than 10, he acknowledges — he is not a typical dad. (He also has a daughter in her early 30s.) Edgerton does, however, have “typical dad” experiences happen to him all the time, and he couldn’t resist the urge to write about them.
He initially wrote about his crib-assembly experience in an essay published in New York Times Magazine, then followed that up with an essay in “The Book of Dads,” a collection of dad-centric writings by 20 well-known authors.
“Once I wrote that essay, I thought, ‘Wait a minute, I’ve got kids that are 9, 8 and 6 years old, and I’ve had a lot of experiences with these kids — maybe I could write about it in a way that’s funny and helpful also,’” Edgerton says.
His editors agreed, and “Papadaddy” birthed a new book.
Edgerton’s book tour will bring him to High Point on Friday, when he will speak in the Hayworth Fine Arts Center on the campus of High Point University. The event, which will also include a book-signing, is free and open to the public.
Edgerton’s appearance is being sponsored by the Steele Magnolias, a group of women graduates of HPU. Following his speech and book-signing, Edgerton will attend a private luncheon with members of the Steele Magnolias.
A professor of creative writing at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, Edgerton began writing fiction 35 years ago this month, after watching renowned Southern author Eudora Welty read her beloved short story, “Why I Live at the P.O.,” on public television.
“It was so inspirational that I wrote in my journal that on (the next day) I would start writing fiction seriously, and I did,” he recalls. “And I’ve been doing it ever since.”
Edgerton’s previous books include “Raney” and “Killer Diller” — both of which have been made into motion pictures — and other favorites such as “Lunch at the Piccadilly” and “Walking Across Egypt.”
Edgerton jokes about his decades of success in the literary world.
“People used to say, ‘I really like your books,’” he says. “Now they say, ‘My grandmother really likes your books.’”
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Want to go?
Clyde Edgerton will speak at 11 a.m. Friday in Hayworth Fine Arts Center on the campus of High Point University. Doors will open at 10 a.m.
Edgerton’s appearance, sponsored by HPU’s Steele Magnolias alumni group, is in conjunction with the release of his new book, “Papadaddy’s Book For New Fathers: Advice To Dads of All Ages,” and he will sign copies of the book following his address.
Admission is free, but the public is asked to call HPU at 841-9209 to reserve a ticket. You may also reserve a ticket by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.