Downtown Library’s authors’ event showcases local writing talent

Twenty-five authors offered their books for sale at the Central Library's authors event on Saturday, Nov. 10.

Downtown Library’s authors’ event showcases local writing talent
November 15
08:59 2018

By Judie Holcomb-Pack

The Forsyth County Central Library on Fifth Street hosted its first authors’ event in five years on Saturday, Nov. 10. According to Lara Luck, the Collection Development Manager and event organizer, there were 25 authors in attendance and several authors had to be turned away due to lack of space.

Dr. Essie McKoy had her book, “The Heart of School Transformation,” on her table beside her display banner. Now a retired educator after 30 years as a middle school and special education teacher, assistant principal and principal, Dr. McKoy has written a book that tells of her journey in education and how to create success with practical strategies for educators, leaders, and parents.

McKoy has the accomplishments to back up the strategies she suggests in her book. She was the principal at Hall-Woodward Elementary when it was rated a no-growth school and in seven and a half years, it increased 14 points to become a Piedmont Signature School. She went to Petree Elementary, an improvement grant school that went from a minus 3.32 to a plus 2.24 in two years, also becoming a Piedmont Signature School. At Philo-Hill Magnet Academy, she helped it go from a minus 8.99 to a minus 4.27, a reduction of 4.72 points. She said that it usually takes three to five years to transform a school and with the dedication of the teachers, administrators, parents and community.

McKoy says that she is a “holistic leader,” noting that “social, emotional, psychological, physiological, environmental and academic issues impact the whole child and the whole school.”

She stresses that it takes the entire community working together to transform a school. At the schools she led, she included things such as a community garden, backpack program, hip-hop sports, parents’ involvement, GED classes for parents, wrap-around classes, clothing and food pantries and resources for parents, which helped the students and the school improve. There were yoga classes in kindergarten that helped students reduce stress, become calmer and be able to focus.

Even though McKoy is retired from the local school system, she continues to teach at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, working on teacher development. She also does national speaking engagements and is working on a second book that is due out in 2019.

Her advice to educators is to “serve with passion, believe in what you do, and have a servant-leadership attitude.”  For more information or to purchase her book, visit

Also at the author’s event was Bianca Orellana, who has published her first book of fiction, “We Are Eternal.” A graduate of Carver High School and UNC-Charlotte with a major in English and minors in Journalism and Spanish, Orellana is a library assistant at the Kernersville Public Library. After college graduation, she worked for a newspaper and magazine, but found reporting to be “too rigid.” She said, “I always wanted to write a love story that was a little different.”

She continued, “I love telling stories with characters with complex personalities and bring them together.”

Orellana’s book is about a young woman with an alcoholic mother who has been able to lean on her father for emotional support until he dies in a car accident. Her popular and privileged classmate receives her dad’s heart in a life-saving transplant operation, causing their lives to become irrevocably connected. Orellana said she started writing this book before her child was born and finished it after his first birthday. Her book is available on Amazon or Kindle or on her website, She will also be signing books at the Holiday Bazaar at Gallilee Missionary Baptist Church on Dec. 2 after the 8 and 11 a.m. services.

Lara Luck said the event was a success for the authors, not only in book sales. “We wanted to allow authors to network with each other and talk about the trials and triumphs of writing,” she said. “One purpose of the authors’ event was to help new, self-published authors find an audience,” said Luck. “What better place than the library, the community’s meeting place.”

The library carries many books by local authors and Luck said when submitting a book for acceptance, it helps if it has been reviewed, especially if it’s self-published.

For information on submitting a book to be included in the library’s collection, visit their website at

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