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Deborah and James Fallows, authors of “Our Town: A 100,000 Mile Journey into the Heart of America,” will give the 2021 Betsy K. McCreight Lecture in the Humanities in October.

Best-selling authors James and Deborah Fallows will give the Betsy K. McCreight Lecture in Humanities, Thursday, Oct. 21, in Charleston.

The lecture will precede the West Virginia Book Festival, which begins Oct. 22.

From 2013 to 2017, writing for The Atlantic, the couple traveled the country in a small plane, visiting towns and small cities, including Charleston.

They spoke with area residents and got to know about the struggles and successes of these places.

The articles and blog posts led to the 2018 national bestseller, “Our Towns: A 100,000 Mile Journey into the Heart of America.”

The book became the source material and inspiration for the new HBO documentary, “Our Towns.” In the film, the Fallowses revisited eight of the cities and towns they saw during their four-year journey, Charleston among them.

The film premiered April 13, is currently showing on HBO and is available to stream on HBO Max.

A time and location for the McCreight Lecture will be announced later.

The McCreight Lecture in Humanities was established in honor of Betsy Keadle McCreight, a founding board member of the West Virginia Humanities Council.

McCreight died in 1985.

Over the years, the McCreight Lecture in Humanities has featured many notable authors, scholars and public figures, among them television documentary producer Ken Burns, historians Elaine Pagels and James McPherson, scholar and Keyser native Henry Louis Gates, author Joyce Carol Oates and many others.

For more information about James and Deborah Fallows and their book, visit For more information about the West Virginia Humanities Council, visit

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