Bill Hunt Writes

June 18, 2006

Dear Bunkien,  Buy Bill Hunt's Novel...

I wish to bring you up to speed on what is happening with my book,  "The Last Witness From A Dirt Road.".  On April 18, I arrived in Bunkie and my brother, Mickey, from Baton Rouge, met me at the Bailey Hotel.

In the book, his name was Papa, but his real name is David Reed, who today is 65 years old, but in 1946 he was a friend of Billy's on Shirley Plantation, where we lived.  Ten days before I went to Bunkie, Papa called me on a Saturday night, and surprising me with, "Billy, this is Papa."  I had not seen him nor heard his voice in 53 years.  Continuing, he told me on the phone that he was almost half way through my book, and "I even cried two times."

Well, the next morning in Bunkie, Mickey and I met Papa and had breakfast with him...that was Wednesday.  At noon, I spoke to the Bunkie Rotary Club, which was a very nice gathering.  On Wednesday afternoon, I did a book reading at the Bailey House, a retirement center in Bunkie.  Most of that age group remembered Shirley Plantation and the 1940s and 50s very well, which made the book reading a very big success for them and of course for me. 

On Thursday at noon, Papa had arranged for the black and white kids who grew up on Shirley Plantation, to meet under the oak trees in the front yard where the "Big House" once stood.  Possibly seven (7) met, and now, we're in our 60s and 70s, along with a few who came to the picnic because of their interest  in the book and the stories.  Papa had also arranged for KALB TV, channel 5 in Alexandria, to film the picnic, which they did, and the story was on the 6 PM and the 10 PM news on Thursday, April 20th.  I have a copy of the clip.

On Thursday night, I did a book reading at the Bailey Hotel, and three of the African Americans who grew up on Shirley Plantation came at that time, due to their work, they were unable to come at noon to the
picnic.  We had around 18 to come to that book reading.  On Friday at four-thirty, I did another book reading to the classes of 1955, 56 and 57 who were gathering in reunion at the Bailey Hotel.  That was very
successful and fun, as they too, remembered Shirley Plantation and Bunkie very vividly from the 1950s.  During this 3 day period, Steele's Florist, City Drug Store and the Bailey Hotel sold a number of my
books.  I checked last Friday with City Drug Store and they told me that they were still selling well.

The day before I left to go to Bunkie, Boys and Girls Club of America advised me that they were going to Bunkie to evaluate it's potential for a club, during the following week.  As of this moment, I have not heard from them, but I'm quite sure that eventually a club will thrive in Bunkie and I certainly hope so.  As you well know, all of my proceeds from the sale of my book will be donated to build a club there.    On June 22, I will have a book reading in Alexandria, hopefully two readings, and that should be a successful venue for book sales.

With all of this being said, and along with the good news of the ethanol plant which will employ approximately 200 people, a Boys and Girls Club of Bunkie, also sounds good.  To help things along, I would appreciate your advising Bunkiens around the world, that to order a copy of "The Last Witness From A Dirt Road" from would work well to help Bunkie, their little home town, move forward in a good and positive way.  Thank you.

I send my best to you.   Bill Hunt "