Archived Reading Room

Mountain granny comes to life in book by former WCU student

Former WCU student Matthew Link Baker will read from his new book, My Mountain Granny: The Story of Evelyn Howell Beck in the Mountain Town of Whittier, NC at 7 p.m. Aug. 14 at City Lights Bookstore in Sylva.

Baker met Beck in 1998 when he was a new student at WCU and unfamiliar with the people and culture of the western North Carolina mountains. The friendship that developed between the elderly woman and the young student forms the basis of the book.

“Evelyn Howell Beck was one of the finest human beings one could ever meet,” Baker says. “She allowed a young college student into her home and treated me like family. I learned lessons that could never be taught in a classroom. There were no layers to be peeled away when meeting her. She was a hardworking woman who lived her life by the light of faith and love of family.”

Beck was born in 1917 and lived her long life in Whittier. She told Baker what it was like living in the area in the “old days,” and how her life had changed over the years. Through her life story, the reader comes to learn about mountain culture and history.

Baker will read from the book and take questions from the audience. For more information or to reserve an autographed copy, please call City Lights at 828.586.9499.

Leave a comment

Smokey Mountain News Logo
Go to top
Payment Information


At our inception 20 years ago, we chose to be different. Unlike other news organizations, we made the decision to provide in-depth, regional reporting free to anyone who wanted access to it. We don’t plan to change that model. Support from our readers will help us maintain and strengthen the editorial independence that is crucial to our mission to help make Western North Carolina a better place to call home. If you are able, please support The Smoky Mountain News.

The Smoky Mountain News is a wholly private corporation. Reader contributions support the journalistic mission of SMN to remain independent. Your support of SMN does not constitute a charitable donation. If you have a question about contributing to SMN, please contact us.