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Who’s Reading When: Literary Festival Details Schedule

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The N.C. Literary Festival, set for Sept. 10-13 at UNC, has announced the days, times and places that 100 authors will read, perform or speak.

The free public festival is organized and sponsored by the libraries of UNC and N.C. State and Duke universities with additional support from N.C. Central University. Since the festival began, it has been held in 1998 and 2002 at Carolina, 2004 at NCSU and 2006 at Duke. The festival is supported by private gifts and grants.

Keynote events in Memorial Hall are free but require tickets obtained in advance from the hall box office. (Details below.)

The following schedule has been released:

Thursday, Sept. 10

4 p.m.:

  • James Applewhite, poet, Pleasants Family Assembly Room, Wilson Library: “The Changing Atmosphere of Southern Time,” also a James A. Hutchins Lecture presented by UNC’s Center for the Study of the American South with support from the General Alumni Association.

Applewhite, a professor emeritus of English at Duke University, believes that Southerners re-created a pattern set in 18th-century England, of persons resistant to historic change around them. He will connect this stance with his own experience of Southern time and examine how the theme impacted his poetry. For more information call the Center for the Study of the American South at (919) 962-5665.

5:30 p.m.:

  • Tobias Wolff, University Room, Hyde Hall: Reading as a distinguished visiting writer in a new living writers course in the creative writing program.

7:30 p.m.:

  • Keynote: John Grisham and Kathy Reichs, Memorial Hall: “From Reality to Fiction.” Grisham and Reichs discuss how their professional careers as a lawyer and a forensic anthropologist, respectively, have influenced their stories and writing. Tickets, free from the Memorial Hall Box Office, are required.

Friday, Sept. 11

7:30 p.m.:

  • Keynote: Anna Deavere Smith, Memorial Hall: “Finding Grace and Kindness in a Winner Take All Society,” also the Frank Porter Graham Lecture sponsored by the James M. Johnston Center for Undergraduate Excellence in UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences. Smith comments and conducts performances about people she has interviewed on the topic of grace in the face of hardship. She interweaves commentary on the theme of poverty, including poverty of spirit. Tickets, free from the Memorial Hall Box Office, are required.

Saturday, Sept. 12

10 a.m.:

  • Brian Pinkney, Children’s Main Stage: Susan Steinfirst Memorial Lecture in Children’s Literature, presented by the UNC School of Information and Library Science. Pinkney reads from his work and shares his illustrations.
  • Ron Rash, Lee Smith, University United Methodist Church: “Southern Stories.” Rash and Smith share their thoughts on Southern writing and the Southern lifestyle.
  • John Hart, P.T. Deutermann, Gerrard Hall: Hart and Deutermann provide insight into creating mystery and suspense and read from their latest works.
  • Anne Spafford, Helen Kraus, Wilson Library: “Rain Gardening in the South.” Spafford and Kraus share their colorful, readable how-to guide on creating beautiful gardens that capture and use water that runs off roofs, driveways and other hard surfaces in our landscape.
  • Paul Jones, Wayne Sutton, Mur Lafferty, Murphy Hall: “Tweeting: A New Form of Writing.”
  • Kelly Alexander, Randall Kenan ’85, Manning Hall: “Writing Food.” Alexander reads from and discusses her new biography of food writer Clementine Paddleford, and Kenan, a UNC associate professor of English and comparative literature, discusses the importance of cooking and the cultural role it plays in his stories.

11:10 a.m.:

  • Judy Schachner, Children’s Main Stage: “Meet Skippyjon Jones!” Schachner will reveal the inspiration behind her Skippyjon Jones series and read from her work.
  • Jill McCorkle ’80, Sarah Dessen, Courtney Jones Mitchell, University United Methodist Church: “A Mentor’s Influence.” McCorkle, Dessen and Mitchell read from their new works and discuss how their mentors have influenced and inspired their writing. Mitchell was taught by Dessen, who was taught by McCorkle.
  • Michael Malone, Chapel of the Cross: “Visiting ‘The Four Corners of the Sky.'” Malone reads from and discusses his latest novel, The Four Corners of the Sky.
  • Michael Chitwood, Brian Ray, Barbara Presnell, Murphy Hall: “Southern Mills.” The authors discuss the importance and influence of mills in Southern towns and read from their work.
  • Ann Ross, Pamela Duncan, Carroll Hall: “Funny Women.” The authors share the importance of humor in life and storytelling and read from their latest works.
  • Jaki Shelton Green, Kathryn Stripling Byer, Ruth Moose, Wilson Library: “Variety in Poetry.” Shelton Green, the 2009 N.C. Piedmont Poet Laureate; and Stripling Byer, former N.C. Poet Laureate; and Moose, a lecturer in UNC’s creative writing program, read from their work and discuss poetry.

12:20 p.m.:

  • Clay Carmichael ’79, Children’s Main Stage: “Wild Things.” Carmichael reads from her new book, Wild Things, and discusses her inspirations for writing children’s fiction.
  • Dorothy Allison, Zelda Lockhart, University United Methodist Church: “Persevering Women.” Allison, who wrote Bastard out of Carolina, and Lockhart, author of Cold Running Creek, discuss writing about women in extreme situations and read from their work.
  • John Kessel, Warren Rochelle, Mur Lafferty, Gerrard Hall: “The World of Sci-Fi and Fantasy.” Kessel, Rochelle and Lafferty read from their work and reveal how they make the unbelievable believable.
  • Daniel Wallace ’08, Matthew Vollmer, Nic Brown, Wilson Library: “New to the Scene.” Wallace, the J. Ross MacDonald Distinguished Professor of English and comparative literature at UNC, interviews friends Brown (Floodmarkers) and Vollmer (Future Missionaries of America) and introduces their first books. Brown is communications director for UNC’s Ackland Art Museum.
  • Allan Gurganus, Erica Eisdorfer, Wells Tower, Hamilton Hall: “New Books, Old Friends.” Gurganus interviews friends Eisdorfer (The Wet Nurses Tale) and Tower (Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned) and introduces their first books. Eisdorfer is the longtime manager of the Bull’s Head Bookshop at UNC.
  • William Conescu, Joanna Smith Rakoff, Manning Hall: “Emerging Voices.” Conescu and Rakoff discuss the roles their characters play within a group of friends and the dynamics of those friendships.

1:30 p.m.:

  • Rick Bragg, Ron Rash, Chapel of the Cross: “Chewin’ the Fat.” The authors talk about their lives, writing and friendship.
  • Barbara Duncan, Kathi Littlejohn, Children’s Main Stage: “Legends of the Milkyway.” Duncan shares Cherokee legends and the importance of storytelling to Native Americans. Littlejohn tells traditional Cherokee stories.
  • Wells Tower, David Rowell, Hamilton Hall: “Literary Journalism.” Tower and Rowell discuss how literary journalism has changed over the years and its current function.
  • Todd Johnson, University United Methodist Church: “A Sweet Debut.” Johnson reads from and discusses his new book, The Sweet By and By, a story of five North Carolina women and their lives and friendship.
  • Bernie Schein, Murphy Hall: “If Holden Caulfield Were in My Classroom.” Longtime teacher Schein shares stories from his middle school classrooms and describes how true emotion, rather than pure reason, is the key to discovering real relationships and personal truth.
  • Masha Hamilton, Robert Leleux, Manning Hall: “Writing Your Passion.” Hamilton and Leleux reveal their passions and the importance of writing about them, even if the topics aren’t widely discussed.

2:40 p.m.:

  • R.L. Stine, Children’s Main Stage: “Goosebumps Galore!” Stine, with help from children in the audience, creates a short story and discusses the importance of imagination.
  • Elizabeth Spencer, Kevin McCarthy, Sharon Swanson, Gerrard Hall: “The Life of Elizabeth Spencer.” Spencer, McCarthy and Swanson discuss the making of the film “Elizabeth Spencer: Landscapes of the Heart,” which provides a detailed look at Spencer’s Southern life through interviews, archival photos and film clips.
  • Rick Bragg, University United Methodist Church: “The Prince of Frogtown.” The Pulitzer Prize-winning author discusses writing about real people in real life situations and reads from his latest work.
  • Dana Coen, Michael Malone, Carroll Hall: “Writing for the Stage and Screen.” Coen and Malone discuss the unique form of stage and screen writing and share their experiences in the industry.
  • Lars Schoultz, Wilson Library: “That Infernal Little Cuban Republic.” Schoultz discusses his book of the same title and U.S.-Cuban relations.
  • Fred Chappell, Robert Morgan, Jesse Graves, Hamilton Hall: “Teacher, Student … Stories.” Former N.C. Poet Laureate Chappell, Morgan and Graves discuss how their mentors have influenced their writing and read from their latest work. Graves was taught by Morgan, who was taught by Chappell.

3:50 p.m.:

  • Carrie Ryan, Children’s Main Stage: “Zombie Land.” Ryan will read from and discuss her new zombie book, The Forest of Hands and Teeth.
  • Randall Kenan ’85, Robert Leleux , Dorothy Allison, Hamilton Hall: “Writing Gay.” The authors discuss writing about gay and lesbian characters and the issues they face. Kenan is an associate professor of English and comparative literature at UNC.
  • Elizabeth Edwards ’71, University United Methodist Church: “Resilience.” Edwards is interviewed about her latest book, Resilience: Reflections on the Burdens and Gifts of Facing Life’s Adversities.
  • Allan Gurganus, Doris Betts ’54, Daniel Wallace ’08, John Rowell, Carroll Hall: “From Books to Movies, Plays and Musicals.” Gurganus, Betts, Wallace and Rowell discuss adapting their books to movies, plays and musicals. Betts is the Alumni Distinguished Alumni Distinguished Professor of English emerita at UNC. Wallace is the J. Ross MacDonald Distinguished Professor of English and comparative literature at UNC.
  • Will Blythe ’79, Cadillac Man, Gerrard Hall: “Street Name Cadillac Man.” Blythe and Cadillac Man discuss their friendship and Cadillac Man’s life on the streets.

5:30 p.m.:

  • Keynote: Elizabeth Strout, Memorial Hall: Strout reads from and discusses her Pulitzer Prize-Winning book, Olive Kitteridge. Tickets, free from the Memorial Hall Box Office, are required.

8 p.m.:

  • Performance: The Good Ol’ Girls — Jill McCorkle ’80, Lee Smith, Marshall Chapman, Matraca Berg. Memorial Hall. Authors Smith and McCorkle read from their works while Nashville musicians Berg and Chapman perform accompanying songs. The artists share stories about their friendship and about the creation of the musical The Good Ol’ Girls. Tickets, free from the Memorial Hall Box Office, are required.

Sunday, Sept. 13

11:10 a.m.:

  • NBA Cares, Children’s Main Stage: “Storytime with NBA Cares.” Storytelling by NBA and WNBA players followed by questions and answers.
  • Cassandra King, Janice Owens, Gerrard Hall: “Food, Fiction and Friendship.” Friends King and Owens share their thoughts on writing fiction and food writing.
  • Marianne Gingher, Lydia Millet, Jenny Offill, Murphy Hall: “Long Story Short.” Gingher, Millett and Offill discuss flash fiction and read their short shorts from The Long Story Short, edited by Gingher, a UNC associate professor of English and comparative literature.
  • Katherine Min, Samia Serageldin, Paul Cuadros, Carroll Hall: “Second Generations.” Min, Serageldin and Cuadros discuss second generations’ cultural experiences from their Asian, Egyptian and Hispanic viewpoints.
  • Sabrina Jeffries, Jenna Black, Virginia Kantra, Hamilton Hall: “Romance in the Air.” Jeffries, Black and Kantra discuss the art of writing romance novels and read from their latest books.

12:20 p.m.:

  • Ronald McDonald, Children’s Main Stage: “Storytime with Ronald McDonald.” Ronald McDonald reads a story, sings songs and shares the importance of using one’s imagination.
  • Elizabeth Spencer, Allan Gurganus, Hamilton Hall: “Influences and Inspirations.” Spencer and Gurganus share their writing, influences and inspirations.
  • Ann Prospero, Bill Smith, Bret Jennings, Carroll Hall: “Chefs of the Triangle.” Prospero discusses her book about chefs in the Triangle and their lives, recipes and restaurants. Smith and Jennings share their experiences as Triangle chefs.
  • Michelle Andrea Bowen, Manning Hall: “Church Folk.” Bowen discusses writing African-American Christian fiction and reads from her work.
  • Robert Morgan, L.G. Walker, Gerrard Hall: “Figures in History.” Morgan discusses his biography of explorer Daniel Boone. Walker shares the life of Henry R. Porter, a surgeon who survived Little Bighorn.
  • Fred Chappell, Stephen Corey, Pam Durban, Wilson Library: “Literally Literary.” The authors discuss the meaning of “literary” and how literary works have been perceived over time. Chappell is a former N.C. Poet Laureate; Durban is the Doris Betts Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing at UNC.

1:30 p.m.:

  • Alan Gratz, Children’s Main Stage: “The Brooklyn Nine.” Gratz shares his baseball book while discussing sports, family and history.
  • Pamela Duncan, Kathryn Stripling Byer, Hamilton Hall: “Poetry in Fiction.” Duncan and Stripling Byer discuss how their writing is inspired by works of poetry and fiction.
  • John Rowell, David Rowell, Katherine Min, Marianne Gingher, Carroll Hall: “More from ‘Long Story Short.'” The Rowell brothers, Min and Gingher, a UNC associate professor of English and comparative literature, discuss flash fiction and read their short shorts from The Long Story Short, edited by Gingher.
  • Maureen Sherbondy, Dorianne Laux, Murphy Hall: “‘Slow Vanishing,’ ‘Dark Charms.'” Sherbondy (The Slow Vanishing) and Laux (Dark Charms) discuss a darker side of poetry and read from their work.
  • Ursula Vernon, Thomas Boatwright, Ben Towle, Manning Hall: Vernon, Boatwright and Towle discuss the art of graphic novels and their growing popularity.
  • William Ferris, Gerrard Hall: “Give My Poor Heart Ease.” Ferris explores the musical roots of the blues, describing musical traditions that shaped the blues in significant ways. He is the Joel Williamson Eminent Professor of history at UNC and senior associate director of UNC’s Center for the Study of the American South.

2:40 p.m.:

  • John Claude Bemis ’95, Children’s Main Stage: “The Nine Pound Hammer.” Bemis reads from and discusses his first book in The Clockwork series, which is full of hoodoo magic, battling trains and mystifying medicine shows.
  • Shelia Moses, Brian Ray, Stephen March, Gerrard Hall: “Growing Up Fast.” Moses, Ray and March discuss the adult issues faced by their young adult characters and read from their work.
  • Ronald Cotton, Jennifer Thompson Cannino, Carroll Hall: “Picking Cotton.” Cotton and Thompson Cannino share their true story of rape and the wrongfully accused.
  • Dan Ariely, Dana Coen, John Hart, Hamilton Hall: “Lies and Deceit.” Ariely discusses why people lie; Coen and Hart discuss the role of lies and deceit in their stories.

4 p.m.:

  • Performance: “The Bible Salesman,” Clyde Edgerton ’66 and Mike Craver, Memorial Hall: Author Edgerton and musician Craver perform a musical rendition of Edgerton’s book The Bible Salesman. Tickets, free from the Memorial Hall Box Office, are required.

As noted, keynote events in Memorial Hall are free but require tickets obtained in advance from the hall box office. The office is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays, including the first two days of the festival, Sept. 10 and 11. On the weekend of the festival, the box office will be open from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sept. 12 and 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sept. 13.

Overall, events will begin from 4 p.m. through 7:30 p.m. Sept. 10; at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 11; from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sept. 12; and from 11:10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 13. The Children’s Main Stage will be between Bynum Hall and Steele Building. In other buildings, signs will direct visitors to the appropriate rooms.

Author Douglas Blackmon, previously announced for the festival, has canceled his appearance.


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