Lee’s new novel, Guests on Earth was published in October, 2013 by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill.

Click to hear Lee read a portion of The Last Girls.

Lee Smith has published 13 novels and four collections of short stories. She is a recipient of the Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the North Carolina Award for Literature, and a Southern Book Critics Circle Award.

In Lee’s newest novel, Guests on Earth, we meet Evalina Toussaint, an orphaned child of an exotic dancer, who is only thirteen in 1936 when she is admitted to Highland Mental Hospital in Asheville. N.C.

A piano prodigy, she becomes the accompanist for the hospital's many performances and musical programs, and finds herself in the company of some remarkable fellow patients, both fictional and real, such as Zelda Fitzgerald.

This role gives Evalina privileged insights into the events which culminate in a tragic fire---still an unsolved mystery to this day.

Read "In Her Words," Lee Smith's essay about Guests on Earth.

In this mini-documentary Lee Smith talks about how Guests on Earth has been "waiting for me to write."