Roswell’s community read program began in 2005, and the very first author to speak at an event was Terry Kay, who was the 2007 Roswell Reads selection for his book The Valley of Light. Terry Kay died December 13, 2020, at age 82. He won fans and home and abroad for his novels set in the South.
A native of Georgia and a graduate of LaGrange College, Kay began his writing career as a journalist at the Decatur-Dekalb News and later as a sports writer and film-theater critic at the Atlanta Journal. His first novel, The Year the Lights Came On, was published in 1976, followed by 17 published works of fiction, including his signature novel and internationally acknowledged Southern classic, To Dance with the White Dog.
Three of 18 works of fiction have been produced as Hallmark Hall of Fame movies—To Dance with the White Dog, The Runaway and The Valley of Light. He was inducted in the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame in 2006 and received the Governor’s Award in the Humanities in 2009.
In 2011, Kay was presented the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Georgia Writers Association. He received the Georgia Author of the Year award four times and in 2004 was presented with the Townsend Prize. In October, 2006, he received the prestigious Appalachian Heritage Writer's Award from Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, WV.
In 2007, he was presented the Stanley W. Lindberg Award, named for the late editor of The Georgia Review. In 2015, the Atlanta Writers Club named its annual fiction award the Terry Kay Prize for Fiction. LaGrange College and Mercer University recognized his work with honorary doctorate degrees. As Visiting Lecturer, he twice conducted Emory University’s Summer Creative Writing program.