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Author ponders book ban in her native SW Virginia

Grundy native Lee Smith, the award-winning author who has chronicled life in Southwest Virginia in a number of novels, was back in her home region this week. She had a speaking engagement at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise.

She was asked about an effort to ban her novel, “Fair and Tender Ladies,” by the Washington County School Board. The novel details the life of a young woman in Appalachia and includes a short passage about her first sexual experience. Some of the words used are “crude,” prompting the school board to appoint a committee to review the book and determine if high school honor students should read it.

Smith told the Bristol Herald Courier that she was sorry to hear about the book-banning effort. The novel is “a love story to Southwest Virginia,” she said. “Fair and Tender Ladies” is an homage to the older Appalachian women she knew growing up, she added.

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