Macy speaking on campus in 2020

Published 2:40 pm Friday, January 24, 2020

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Beth Macy, the Virginia-based best-selling author and sharp-eyed observer of the opioid crisis and other challenges facing rural America, will speak at Longwood University early next year, a Nov. 2019 university press release noted.

Officials stated in the release that Macy’s recent best-seller, “Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company That Addicted America,” made The New York Times’ list of 100 Notable Books of 2018. It followed her widely acclaimed previous works, “Truevine” and “Factory Man,” which tell the story of John Bassett III, a third-generation furniture factory owner, and his efforts to save hundreds of jobs and his family’s legacy in southwest Virginia.

Macy will speak on Jan. 23, 2020 at 7 p.m. in the Soza Ballroom of the Upchurch University Center, the release cited. Her talk, which is the second installment of the 2019-20 President’s Lecture Series, is free and open to the public.

“Dopesick” is the story of how the nation’s opioid crisis took root, based on Macy’s 30 years of reporting from southwest Virginia communities — and getting to know the people on the front lines of the crisis, from distressed Appalachian towns to wealthy suburbs, the release highlighted. Actor and author Tom Hanks called the book “another deep — and deeply needed — look into the troubled soul of America.”

“We are delighted to welcome a journalist and author of Beth Macy’s caliber to Longwood early next year,” Longwood President W. Taylor Reveley IV said in the release. “Her important work has helped us better understand and unpack some of the most intractable social problems of our time. Her approach to storytelling is one that involves reporting from the ground up, allowing her to find stories that tap into universal truths. Truly a citizen leader, her focus on covering diverse communities has helped to give a voice to the marginalized people largely left behind by growing inequality, technology and globalization.”

Officials noted in the release that Dr. Kevin Doyle is a professor in the counselor education program at Longwood who has a part-time private counseling practice specializing in clients with substance-use disorders, and he is deeply familiar with Macy’s work.

“Beth Macy has been instrumental in peeling back the layers of the challenges facing rural America, especially as it relates to the underpinnings of the opioid crisis,” Doyle said in the release.

Macy was a reporter for The Roanoke Times from 1989-2014, where she specialized in telling the stories of outsiders and underdogs, the release stated. Based in Roanoke, her reporting has won more than a dozen national awards, including a Nieman Fellowship for Journalism at Harvard University.

“Dopesick” won The Los Angeles Times Book Prize award for science and technology and was shortlisted for the Kirkus Prize and the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction, officials added in the release.

The release concluded by citing that Macy, a frequent speaker, teacher and essayist, has been published in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, O, The Oprah Magazine and Parade.