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Pieces of Eight


Literary Homecoming Set for September

By Erica Plouffe Lazure

Through both word and song, East Carolina University will celebrate the region’s literary traditions Sept. 26 and 27. The Eastern North Carolina Literary Homecoming at Joyner Library, now in its fifth year, will offer interactive workshops in addition to panel presentations.

This year, 10 award-winning writers rooted in the history, literature and culture of eastern North Carolina will share their work and their experiences with homecoming participants.

“Meeting with and learning from writers serves as inspiration for the creative spirit,” said Maurice York, assistant director for ECU’s Special Collections. “We hope by adding workshops to this year’s events, that the literary homecoming will nourish and revitalize this spirit.”

Clyde Edgerton, humorist and author of “Solo: My Adventures in the Air,” and Margaret Maron, author of several mysteries, including “Bootlegger’s Daughter,” will speak at the event. Also author and musician Bland Simpson; Shelia P. Moses, author of “The Legend of Buddy Bush”; and poet Minnie Bruce Pratt.

Doris Betts, author of many short stories and novels, will be presented with the Roberts Award for Literary Inspiration Sept. 26. Author Randall Kenan, Betts’ former student, will lead the readings and tributes of Betts’ work, along with a musical performance by Bland Simpson.

A host of workshops – from playwriting and poetry to music making – will be offered throughout the day. All events, except for Saturday lunch, are free, but registration is required. Visit, call 252.328.1068, or e-mail

To help folks get in a literary mindset, a few free programs lead up to the main event. Those events, and the schedule for the homecoming are listed below.


  • Sept. 4, 4:30 - 6:30 p.m., Sept. 4, at Pitt Community College: A discussion about children’s literature by Alan Bailey (Joyner Library) and Sheila Mendoza, media coordinator at South Central High School

  • Sept. 11, 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., Sheppard Memorial Library: Barton College professor Rebecca Godwin will lead a discussion on Clyde Edgerton’s book, “Walking Across Egypt.”

  • Sept. 12, 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Cornerstone Baptist Church: Gera Miles (English) and PCC faculty member Regina Garcia will lead a discussion on Randall Kenan’s book, “The Fire This Time”

  • Sept. 17, 11 a.m. to noon, at PCC: PCC faculty member Regina Garcia will lead a staged “readers’ theatre” format from Clyde Edgerton’s book, “The Floatplane Notebook.”

Literary Homecoming Schedule:

  • Sept. 26, 7 p.m., Joyner Library: North Carolina authors Randall Kenan and Bland Simpson will read and perform their work. Author Doris Betts will be presented with the Roberts Award for Literary Inspiration.

  • Sept. 27, 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., Joyner Library: Panel discussion: Inspiring Social Awareness for Younger Readers, by authors Eloise Greenfield and Shelia P. Moses; Workshop: Playing with the Facts: Expressing the Message though Genre Choice, by authors Jim Grimsley and Randall Kenan

  • Sept. 27, 11:15-12:30 p.m., Joyner Library: Panel Discussion: Locating Self: Exploring Social Issues through Poetry, Fiction, and Drama, by Jim Grimsley and Minnie Bruce Pratt; Workshop: A Red Clay Rambler has “Lunch at the Piccadilly,” by Clyde Edgerton and Bland Simpson.

  • Sept. 27, 12:30-1:45 p.m., Mendenhall Student Center: Lunch break including a reading by Margaret Maron, advanced ticket purchase for the event is required

  • Sept. 27, 2:00-3:15 p.m., Joyner Library: Panel Discussion: Whodunit? Environmental Concerns in Mystery Novels, by Margaret Maron and Wanda Canada; Workshop: To Make Revolution Irresistible: Writing, Poetry, and Social Issues, by Minnie Bruce Pratt.

  • Sept. 27, 4:00-5:00 p.m., Joyner Library: Keynote address: Clyde Edgerton
This page originally appeared in the Aug. 29, 2008 issue of Pieces of Eight. Complete issue is archived at