Jeffrey Blount

The nonprofit Pat Conroy Literary Center will host an evening with award-winning writer Jeffrey Blount, author of the newly published novel Mr. Jimmy from Around the Way, in conversation with fellow novelist Rebecca Dwight Bruff, author of Trouble the Water. Free and open to the public, this event will be held at and in collaboration with the Beaufort County Black Chamber of Commerce, 711 Bladen St., on Thursday, February 1, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. A reception will follow the author’s presentation, with books available for sale and signing through the Beaufort Bookstore.

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After a highly publicized fall from grace, James Henry Ferguson attempts to flee from the chaos in his life. He ends up in a community he had never heard of before, one that has been neglected and ignored by everyone in rural Ham, Mississippi. A place of abject poverty, the neighborhood is commonly referred to as “Around the Way.”

Within a place forgotten by the rest of the world, politics can be a dangerous game. When a troubling discovery is made, the entire neighborhood is rocked to its core and James is forced to confront his own past in order to help the community have a future. He will have to find the strength to fight for the neighbors he once disregarded and avert a heart-breaking disaster.

A self-identified failure is forced to uncover the wisdom of his past in order to recognize that money can’t solve every problem. Full of never-ending twists and turns, no one can prepare themselves for the surprises in store. Mr. Jimmy From Around the Way is a story about failure, self-discovery, empowerment, and the possibility of redemption.

“Blount makes us pause to take an up-close look at poverty and racism in our collective backyard. This powerful novel shows the true meaning of ‘it takes a village,’ and that doing the right thing should be color blind.”—Karen White, New York Times bestselling author

“This tender story is for any of us who have fallen and found the only way up is by reaching out a hand to others.” —Cassandra King, author of Tell Me a Story: My Life with Pat Conroy 


Jeffrey is the award-winning author of three novels. His most recent book, The Emancipation of Evan Walls was the winner of the 2020 National Indie Excellence Award for African American fiction.bHe is also an Emmy award-winning television director and a 2016 inductee to the Virginia Communications Hall of Fame. During a 34-year career at NBC News, Jeffrey directed a decade of Meet The Press, the Today show, NBC Nightly News, and major special events. He is the first African- American to direct the Today show. He is also an award-winning documentary scriptwriter for films and interactives that are now on display in the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture. In 2017 and 2018, Jeffrey served as Journalist in Residence and Shapiro Fellow at the School of Media and Public Affairs at The George Washington University. A Virginia native, he graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with a degree in Communications/Broadcast Journalism. Born and raised in Smithfield, Virginia, he now lives in Washington, DC.


Rebecca Dwight Bruff is the author of the award-winning debut novel, Trouble the Water, published June 2019, and the non-fiction book, Loving the World with God, published 2014. Bruff earned her Bachelors degree in education at Texas A&M University and Master and Doctorate degrees in theology, both from Southern Methodist University. In 2017, she was a scholarship recipient for the prestigious Key West Literary Seminar. She lives and writes in the South Carolina Lowcountry.

Learn more about the nonprofit Pat Conroy Literary Center at