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The author and Bowman and Gordon Gray Distinguished Term Professor of English and comparative literature also is a pianist and vocalist with the Tony Award-winning Red Clay Ramblers. He also directed Carolina’s creative writing department from 2002 to 2008.
Simpson has written seven books, including The Great Dismal, Ghost Ship of Diamond Shoals, Into the Sound Country, The Inner Islands and, most recently, The Coasts of Carolina: Seaside to Sound Country, a collaboration with photographer Scott Taylor just published by UNC Press.
Simpson received last year’s R. Hunt Parker Memorial Award, a lifetime achievement honor from the literary and historical association. His other honors include the 2005 North Carolina Award for Fine Arts, one of the state’s highest honors.
His work also has appeared in the Carolina Alumni Review, including a feature on the Old Chapel Hill Cemetery, “This Small Hallowed Ground,” that appeared in the September/October 1999 issue, available online to Carolina Alumni members.