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Books Over Drinks with Meagan Church

April 24 @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm


We are so excited to spend an evening with author Meagan Church! From her home in North Carolina, Meagan writes fiction that focuses on overlooked and oppressed women’s voices from the past. We can’t wait to hear all about this emotionally charged novel following one girl fighting for her family, her future, and her own place to stand in a world that doesn’t always value the wild spirit of a Carolina girl. We’ll enjoy a cocktail as we listen to Meagan talk about her book and her writing process. Join us!

Your ticket includes admission, a cocktail, and a copy of the book.


For fourteen-year-old Leah Payne, life in her beloved coastal Carolina town is worlds away from the harsh realities of the day. Loyal to her lumberjack father, she knows only of the familiarity of her small community, the magic of the natural world, and the creative intuition that prompts her to march to the beat of her own drum.

But when an accident takes her father’s life, leaving her an orphan, Leah finds herself cast into a family of strangers whose welcoming façade hides a terrible secret. That’s when a moment of violence thrusts Leah into the very center of the state’s shameful darkness, forcing her to risk a past she holds dear to protect a future she fears she may never have.

Set against the very real backdrop of 1935 North Carolina where a state eugenics board was mandating forced sterilizations, this novel sheds light on a horrific era of injustice and one young woman’s fight to control her future, discover her family, and find her own way forward.


After receiving a degree in English with a focus on creative writing from Indiana University, MEAGAN CHURCH built a career as a storyteller and freelance writer for brands, blogs and organizations. Her fiction focuses on overlooked and oppressed women’s voices from the past. A Midwesterner by birth, she now lives in North Carolina with her high school sweetheart, three children and a plethora of pets.


The Last Carolina Girl is lyrical and atmospheric, a true masterpiece of Southern fiction that will earn its longstanding place among greats on our bookshelves both for its exploration of a horrific piece of history often overlooked and for its insistence on hope. Church’s debut is a must-read.” — Joy Callaway, international bestselling author of The Grand Design

“While readers will surely find all of the characters in Meagan Church’s debut compelling, the true beating heart of The Last Carolina Girl is its fourteen-year-old protagonist: a girl tied deeply to her natural landscape whose abrupt uprooting after the death of her beloved father comes with devastating consequences. Leah Payne and her indefatigable spirit will break your heart and put it back together again. I tore through this haunting and emotional story.” — Erika Montgomery, author of A Summer to Remember

“In this piercing novel, Meagan Church depicts one of the most disgraceful episodes in American medical history: forced sterilization. As a physician, I am deeply ashamed of the real-life actions of the medical community fictionalized so eloquently in this book, but as an author and a reader, I’m grateful for the opportunity to envision it. The Last Carolina Girl is a powerful and thought-provoking story.” — Kimmery Martin, author of Doctors and Friends

“Leah’s story is both humbling and inspiring. Church’s ode to the natural world, to the often elusive feeling of home, and to the friends who become family provokes profound reflection. A dark spot in history warps Leah’s path, but her resilient and unassailable character prevails. The Last Carolina Girl is a breathtaking read and Leah Payne an unforgettable character.” — Lo Patrick, author of The Floating Girls

The Last Carolina Girl is a heart-wrenching and authentically rendered glimpse into the portal of a state’s secret dark culture, family ties, and the fierce strength of a young girl’s grit and resilience. Church is electric in her delivery of loss, longing and place. Unforgettable, this a powerful debut to savor.” — Kim Michele Richardson, New York Times bestselling author of The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek

“Meagan Church has written a compelling and aching debut. The Last Carolina Girl is both a story of love and a tale of abuse set in the shadow of the Depression. There, a girl’s blind obedience to her circumstances—a kind girl uprooted by her tender daddy’s death—comes with a devastating price. Leah’s life as an orphan takes her far from the comfort of sand and sea, yet she is armed with tenuous hope and a plan. Gradually, she puts together the puzzle pieces of her fractured life and uncovers truths: family can deceive and betray, but love offers salvation.” — Leah Weiss, bestselling author of If the Creek Don’t Rise and All the Little Hopes

“This spirited, coming-of-age debut whisked me straight to the heart of the Carolinas in the 1930s. I couldn’t tear myself away from Leah’s journey, from the piney, isolated woods of her childhood, to an often bewildering life in the foreign world of the suburbs, where appearances are everything. Church so beautifully interweaves the connections between Leah’s deeply-sunk roots in the rural South with her search for belonging and her bravery in the face of unspeakable loss. This is a story that will stay with me; I knew little about the eugenics programs that had taken hold in American culture in that time period and Church’s tale left me wanting to research and understand more of this broken, devastating piece of America’s history.” — Lisa DeSelm, author of The Puppetmaster’s Apprentice

“Fans of Where the Crawdads Sing and Before We Were Yours will find much to love in this evocative and thought-provoking debut. Church reaches into a shameful and little-known pocket of the past to give us a heroine who is plucky, tender, and determined to fight for her autonomy and dignity against insurmountable odds. This book will change the way you feel about the simple question of ‘Where is home?'” — Kim Wright, author of Last Ride to Graceland


April 24
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Event Category:


M. Judson Booksellers
130 S. Main St.
Greenville, 29601 United States


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Books Over Drinks - Meagan Church
$ 30.00