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A Writer and a Playwright Share Through Lecture and Live Theater

     ReShonda Tate Billingsley hit upon a true-to-life, sometimes humorous topic with her  Rachel Jackson Adams books about the human dramas in church congregations.

     Those and her 20-plus other books have made her a No. 1 national best-selling author of teen and adult fiction, and earned her the 2011 NAACP Image Award  for Outstanding Fiction, “Say Amen, Again.”

     The public is invited to hear her talk about writing and about her new release, “The Secret She Kept,” at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Library Center’s room B. Her book will be available for purchase. The event is free and open to all ages.

     She is a five-time winner of the National Association of Black Journalists Spirit in the Words competition. Her books have appeared on the Essence Bestseller’s list, The Washington Post and Dallas Morning News Bestsellers lists.

     Tate Billingsley also wrote the Good Girlz teen series and the nonfiction book “Help! I’ve Turned Into My Mother.” Her debut novel, “My Brother’s Keeper,” launched her career with Simon & Schuster/Pocket Books.
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      Advance tickets are still available at all library branches for the 7 p.m. July 14 and 2 p.m. July 15 performances of “Walking Toward America” in the Library Center auditorium. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students grades 5-12. Tickets will be sold at the door while supplies last. Cash and checks with proper ID are accepted.

     Author, playwright and former Drury University writer-in-residence Sandy Asher returns to Springfield for her one-woman script performed by Springfield native and New York actress Annie Meek Montgomery. The story is about Springfieldian Ilga Vise, who will attend the performances.

     In “Walking Toward America,” Annie Meek Montgomery portrays Ilga as a grandmother, and at ages 4, 10 and nearly 17, plus all the characters that populate her remarkable journey. In the winter of 1944-1945, 10-year-old Ilga and her parents left Riga, Latvia, to escape the Russian occupation of their city. They spent a brutal month in a German forced labor camp, walked 500 miles across war-torn Germany and eventually sailed to freedom in the United States.

     The Library Foundation fundraiser is underwritten by corporate sponsor Empire Bank, Kwen and Cheryl Griffeth and David and Sandy Harrison. For ticket information call 616-0564.

Kathleen O’Dell is community relations director of the Springfield-Greene County Library District. She can be reached at

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