It appears zombies have replaced vampires as the favorite “undead” characters for Haywood County teens and young adults. At least, that is what the Haywood County Public Library is counting on for its first ever zombie-themed weekend Thursday, April 29 through Saturday, May 1.


Activities will include discussions on zombie-related illnesses and how to recognize zombies, along with a Zombie Crawl, complete with make-up and costumes, through downtown Waynesville from Fun Things Etc. to Blue Ridge Osondu Books, where local author Eric S. Brown, a noted expert on zombies, will speak on the origins of zombies in popular culture.


Youth Services Librarian Carole Dennis got the idea for the zombie theme from snippets of conversation she’s heard around the library lately.


“In the last six months or so, I’ve noticed that a lot of kids have been talking about zombie movies, zombie video games and the zombie apocalypse,” Dennis said. “I’ve also picked up on some interesting and imaginative conversations about what zombies might do.”


Dennis notes that zombies are a popular theme in literature dating back centuries, so, given the current interest, she thought it would be worth turning into a fun program. While the activities are meant to be tongue-in-check, they’re also meant to tap into the imaginative interest young people have displayed in the library, as well as provide a good venue for exchanging information.


Youth who frequent the library in the afternoons after school say the recent interest in zombies is, in part, a reaction against the popularity of the Twilight series of books and movies.


“`Twilight’ ruined vampires for a lot of people,” said Ananda Schuckstes, 15, who’ll be doing zombie make-up for participants during the weekend.


Andrew Dennis, 12, said he likes zombies because they’re not as exclusive as vampires.


“Anybody can be a zombie, but not everybody can be a vampire,” Dennis said.


While the interest in zombies is not backed up by a mega-hit book series like Twilight, Ananda and Andrew note that there are a few popular titles with young people, like The Zombie Survival Guide and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, but the phenomenon is mostly being driven by video games and movies.


The activities kick off with a discussion on ways to prevent the spread of zombie-related illnesses by Amy Patrick, with the Haywood County Health Department at 3:30 p.m., Thursday, April 29 in the auditorium of the Waynesville branch of the library.


On Friday, April 30, there will be a talk on Zombie Identification: How to Recognize the Undead, beginning at 3:30 p.m., also in the Waynesville branch auditorium. At 4 p.m., Saturday, May 1, participants will meet at Fun Things Etc. for snacks and zombie make-up, followed by the Zombie Crawl up Waynesville’s Main Street to Blue Ridge Osondu Books.


Brown will speak at 6 p.m., Saturday, May 1, at Blue Ridge Osondu Books, located at 152 South Main Street. Brown, who has been called the “King of the Zombies” by Dread Central, a website for horror enthusiasts, and was featured in the book Zombie CSU: The Forensics of the Living Dead. Books he has either authored or contributed to include World War of the Dead; A Zombie Novel,  Space Stations and Graveyards, Season of Rot, Dying Days, Portals of Terror, and Unabridged, Unabashed and Undead: The Best of Eric S. Brown. He also writes an ongoing column on the world of comic books for Abandoned Towers magazine, which recently won the Preditors and Editors Award for Best Nonfiction in 2009, and he was part of a giant, collaborative zombie novel from Pill Hill Press, entitled Undead, Kansas.


The activities are open to Grades 6 and up. Participants are welcome to attend all events or individual events. For more information, contact Carole Dennis at the Haywood County Public Library at 828-452-5169 or by email, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


For more information, contact:
David Teague,
Public Information Officer
Haywood County
828-452-7305; 828-400-9691 or
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it