Author Event: Meagan Church

Page 158 Books is excited to welcome debut author Meagan Church to discuss her novel, The Last Carolina Girl--out now. 

Set in 1935 on the North Carolina coast, THE LAST CAROLINA GIRL  is an emotional Southern novel which follows Leah Payne, a headstrong young girl who is orphaned at the age of 14 and placed with a foster family where, by hidden motives, is eventually sent to be forced sterilized at the hand of state eugenics laws.

Reeling from the loss of her devoted father with whom she shared a deep artistic connection, Leah is forced to leave behind the beloved coastal Carolina village where she has spent her life, running through the wilds where the forest meets the sea. She is taken in by a well-to-do family in the suburbs of Charlotte but to her surprise is kept apart from the family and used as a domestic servant under the harsh, exacting eye of her foster mother. Tension in the household builds when her habit of pausing and staring into space becomes noticeable. As Leah begins to hatch her escape, her foster mother takes extreme measures to ensure Leah’s presence in their home will never disrupt the picture of a perfect society family she has worked so hard to uphold.

Inspired by the author’s own family history, THE LAST CAROLINA GIRL uncovers a dark time in our nation’s history where forced sterilization was a common and legal practice in 32 states. It was primarily leveraged against people deemed “mentally unfit” to raise children, a vast majority of them women, and persisted until the late 1970s.

This touching story of a girl fighting for a future of her own choosing addresses the broader theme of the right to parenthood in terms of who, how, and when, and will enchant readers of novels which have raised similar questions including A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult, Take My Hand by Dolen Perkins-Valdez, and even Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng.

After receiving a degree in English with a focus on creative writing from Indiana University, MEAGAN CHURCH built a career as a storyteller and freelance writer for brands, blogs and organizations. Her fiction focuses on overlooked and oppressed women’s voices from the past. A Midwesterner by birth, she now lives in North Carolina with her high school sweetheart, three children and a plethora of pets. To learn more about her writing, visit, or follow her on Instagram and Twitter @mchurchwriter.

Event Type: 
Event date: 
Saturday, May 20, 2023 - 1:00pm
Event address: 
415 S Brooks Street
Suite B
Wake Forest, NC 27587
The Last Carolina Girl: A Novel By Meagan Church Cover Image
ISBN: 9781728257150
Availability: In Warehouse, Usually Ships to Store in 1-5 Days
Published: Sourcebooks Landmark - March 28th, 2023