Sasee Chats with John Kenny, Author of A Very Special Family Meet John at one of January’s 20th Anniversary Moveable Feasts

By Leslie Moore

Author John Kenny found writing through the love of his wife, Mary Lou, and her remarkable (and very large) extended family that began with four Lebanese immigrants that came to this country in 1900. Born in New York City, John practiced law in Washington DC until moving to the area six years ago to care for Mary Lou’s mother. Throughout his 25 year marriage, John attended large Joseph family reunions, and was always impressed with the dedication of the older generation to documenting and preserving the family history.

“After I moved to Georgetown, I began taking all the creative writing classes offered by OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institue),” John began. “Initially, I co-authored a book about moving south and soon became involved in several writing projects while beginning research on this book.” John also read the work of a Clemson University student, who did her Master’s thesis on the history of Lebanese immigrants in Greenville, South Carolina – her work was instrumental in helping this budding author learn how to cover this fascinating topic. Unfortunately, the student passed away before they had a chance to meet.

Through OLLI, John met Dwight McInville, director of the Georgetown County Library System, who was also interested in the history of Lebanese immigrants in Georgetown. With the help of a grant from the SC Arts Commission, the library has compiled oral histories and photographs and will unveil the project in May.

“The four Joseph brothers began a family that has done great things, not only in Georgetown County, but the entire state of South Carolina,” John said. Today, there are more than a dozen South Carolina dentists descended from the Josephs and the list of family businesses in Georgetown is too long to include here. “It’s a classic American immigration story,” John told me as we concluded our chat. “At a point in history where there is so much negativity surrounding immigrants, it’s easy to forget what they bring to the community and to our country.”

Meet John and learn more about this fascinating family at The Moveable Feast on January 12th. While you are there, stop and congratulate founder Linda Ketron on the 20th Anniversary of this beloved event. In partnership with Litchfield Books’ owner Vickie Crafton, a growing list of very-good-company-to-join-for-lunch is scheduled weekly. The Moveable Feast is considered one of the premier book tour events in the South, with authors of local, regional and national note participating over the two decades of its growing popularity.

The Moveable Feast is held at area restaurants throughout the year on Fridays, 11 am – 1 pm. On occasion, an author’s book tour schedule is accommodated with a mid-week Moveable Feast. Each feast is $30 with a $5 rebate if the featured book is purchased at the event. For schedules and reservations, call 843-235-9600 or

About this writer

  • Leslie Moore

    Leslie Moore

    Leslie Moore is the editor for Strand Media Group. A 25 year resident of Pawleys Island, she is blessed with a life filled with the love of family and friends and satisfying work to do every day.

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2 Responses to “Sasee Chats with John Kenny, Author of A Very Special Family Meet John at one of January’s 20th Anniversary Moveable Feasts”

  1. Linda O'Connell says:

    It is fascinating to learn about and appreciate other’s experiences.

  2. Anna Riley says:

    Great article and so true what John said, about easy to forget the good so many immigrants from that era brought here. Such hard workers too. (My mom’s parents came here from Italy in the 1900s.)

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