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Beth Macy, author of “Factory Man,” to Speak at W&L

Beth Macy, author of the Lukas Prize-winning “Factory Man: How One Furniture Maker Battled Offshoring, Stayed Local – and Helped Save an American Town,” will speak at Washington and Lee University on Wednesday, Oct. 29, at 7 p.m. in Stackhouse Theater, Elrod Commons.

The title of Macy’s talk is “Factory Man: Navigating a Difficult Story Line.” It is free and open to the public. The book signing will be held in Northen Auditorium, Leyburn Library, and the reception in the lobby of Northen Auditorium.

View the event LIVE on Wednesday, Oct. 29 at 7PM EDT
(This talk will not be archived).

While at W&L, Macy will be a Donald W. Reynolds Distinguished Fellow, and will be a guest lecturer at several W&L classes. Her visit is co-sponsored by the Department of Journalism and Mass Communications and Friends of the Library.

“Factory Man” traces the aftereffects of globalization in small communities throughout America. Macy tells the success story of John Bassett III (W&L Class of 1959), who used grit and sheer will to compete against China and keep his Galax, Virginia, factory going when almost every other wood-furniture maker in America closed up shop and imported cheaper imports instead.

Roanoke.com reported that Tom Hanks, the Academy Award-winning actor, and his production company, Playtone, will produce a miniseries based on “Factory Man.”

“Factory Man” was published in July 2014 by Little, Brown and Company and immediately hit the New York Times bestseller list one week after its publication. New York Times critic Janet Maslin called the nonfiction narrative “an illuminating, deeply patriotic David vs. Goliath story.”

Macy has had articles published in The New York Times, Oprah magazine, Parade, Salon and Christian Science Monitor. For two decades, she was the families beat reporter at The Roanoke (Va.) Times, where many of her longer pieces originated.

A longtime reporter who specializes on outsiders and underdogs, Macy has won more than a dozen national journalism awards, including a Nieman Fellowship for Journalism at Harvard in 2010. Among the marginalized groups she has chronicled for newspapers and magazines are Hispanic immigrants, African refugees, caregivers for the elderly, veterans with PTSD and displaced factory workers.

John Bassett III, the hero of Macy’s book, is receiving a Distinguished Alumni Award from W&L on Oct. 30, the day following her talk – during Washington and Lee’s Five-Star Generals weekend.