Finding Roanoke


A Fall 2017 book club style conversation series on What I Found in a Thousand Towns.

Dubbed by the New Yorker as “one of America’s very best singer-songwriters,” Dar Williams has made her career not in stadiums, but touring America’s small towns. She has played their venues, composed in their coffee shops, and drunk in their bars. She has seen these communities struggle, but also seen them thrive in the face of postindustrial identity crises.

Here, Williams muses on why some towns flourish while others fail, examining elements from the significance of history and nature to the uniting power of public spaces and food. Drawing on her own travels and the work of urban theorists, Williams offers real solutions to rebuild declining communities.

Each week we’ll discuss a different chapter of Dar Williams’ What I Found in a Thousand Towns. Explore the ideas at work in our community by sitting down with the locals making things happen here.

Here’s the schedule below. And download a PDF of the schedule for your refrigerator door.

6:30 PM – social time with music.
7 PM – conversation.

SEPT 6 – Book Release. Pick up What I Found in a Thousand Towns at Barnes & Noble and get a free ticket to the December 11 dinner and book event. Read the chapter prior to the gathering if you can, or come out still if you haven’t read it first.

OCT. 5 – Chapter 1: Created Spaces. Join Sweet Donkey Coffee House owners Ann-Maree White and Dustin Eshelman for an (X)po conversation about the South Roanoke business and community space. (2108 Broadway Ave SW, Roanoke, VA 2401)

OCT. 16 – Chapter 3Waterfronts.  Meet at The Green Goat to discuss the evolution of the Wasena Neighborhood’s intersection with the Roanoke River Greenway. (802 Wiley Dr SW, Roanoke, VA 24015)

OCT. 23 – Chapter 2Natural Spaces: The Attraction of Outdoors. Enjoy a conversation at Roanoke’s new Starr Hill Pilot Brewery and Side Stage on the natural attraction qualities of Roanoke’s outside assets. (6 Old Whitmore Ave, Roanoke, VA 24016)

OCT. 30 – Chapter 4History. The Harrison Museum of African American Culture hosts a conversation of leaders using local history to strengthen Roanoke’s identity. (1 Market Square SE, Roanoke, VA 24011)

NOV. 6 – Chapter 5Arts & CultureAurora Apartments and Art Studios hosts a conversation on the role of art as a placemaker in our community. (110 Campbell Ave
Roanoke, VA 24011)

NOV. 13 – Chapter 6: Local Food LEAP – Roanoke’s Local Environmental Agricultural Project shines a spotlight on our local food system at The Kitchen in the West End. (Co-located with Freedom First Credit Union at 1210 Patterson Ave SW, Roanoke VA 24016)

NOV. 21 – Chapter 7PartnershipsThe CoLab brings together some of Ronaoke’s institutional partners in a conversation about working together for more innovative strategies. (1327 Grandin Rd SW, Roanoke, VA 24015)

DEC. 4 – Chapter 8Conscious Bridgers. We’ll discuss hub points and community bridging strategies at the RSO Green Room. (128 E. Campbell Ave, Roanoke, VA 24011- 1406)

DEC. 11. Positive Proximity. Enjoy a capstone dinner of local foods provided by local businesses and emerging entrepreneurs at 16 West Marketplace (16 Church Ave SW, Roanoke, VA 24011) Dar Williams will take the stage with songs and a conversation with Beth Macy – with songs! Tickets are now available with a purchase of the book at local Barnes and Noble bookstores and after October 17 at Book No Further. (110 Campbell Ave, Roanoke, VA 24011)

Dar Williams
What I Found in a Thousand Towns (Basic Books; September 5, 2017)

Press on What I Found in a Thousand Towns
On Bookstores in Publishers Weekly (August 18, 2017)
Kirkus Review (July 1, 2017)
Shelf Awareness ( August 21, 2017)
Marketplace (interview with Kai Ryssdall; September 5, 2017)