English Professor Wallace to Give Winter Commencement Address

Novelist, essayist and illustrator Daniel Wallace ’08 will speak to graduates at Carolina’s Winter Commencement.

Wallace is the J. Ross MacDonald Distinguished Professor of English in the College of Arts and Sciences and directed the creative writing program for 11 years. He is best known for his novel Big Fish, which was adapted as a movie and a Broadway musical.

Wallace said he plans to provide graduates with “instructions on how to become yourself” during the ceremony being held on Dec. 11 at 2 p.m. in the Smith Center.

The native Alabamian has published five other novels: Ray in Reverse, The Watermelon King, Mr. Sebastian and the Negro Magician, The Kings and Queens of Roam and Extraordinary Adventures. His latest book, This Isn’t Going to End Well: The True Story of a Man I Thought I Knew, will be published by Algonquin Books in 2023.

Wallace has also authored two children’s books and dozens of short stories and essays. He has published more than 50 short stories in magazines and literary reviews, and his illustrations have appeared in books, newspapers and magazines worldwide. His stories have been recognized in “Best American Short Stories” and “Best Stories from the South” and read by Levar Burton on his podcast, Levar Burton Reads.

In the College of Arts and Sciences’ English and comparative literature department, Wallace teaches courses on fiction writing, including a two-semester senior workshop. He received the University’s Johnston Award for Teaching Excellence in 2010.

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