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Joyner Library Hosts Seventh Annual Literary Homecoming

East Carolina University celebrated the region’s literary traditions Sept. 17 - 18 with the Eastern North Carolina Literary Homecoming at Joyner Library.

This year’s theme, “Contrasting Cultural Expressions: Perceptions of Place and Self,” explored the impact of shared values and traditions on the perceptions of self and one’s place in the larger world context, organizers said. Artists from Eastern North Carolina interacted with artists influenced by other regions to explore differences and how they capture the culture of their regions in their work.

The keynote address was presented by award-winning author Josephine Humphreys. Her first three novels were mainly about contemporary family life in the South, but her fourth work, “Nowhere Else on Earth,” is a historical novel based on a true story from the Civil War. The novel includes historical events and characters relating to the Lumbee tribe of North Carolina and won the Southern Book Award for 2001.     

Homecoming events featured a presentation of the Roberts Award for Literary Inspiration to Nancy Olson for her work as the owner of Quail Ridge Books and Music in Raleigh and her dedication to promoting and supporting local artists. The presentation to Olson included tributes from and readings by North Carolina writers Jill McCorkle and Michael Malone. 

Panel discussions and interactive workshops with authors were held on Saturday, along with a luncheon with guest speaker Pamela Duncan. A native of Asheville and creative writing faculty member at Western Carolina University, Duncan has written three books, “Moon Women,” “The Big Beautiful” and “Plant Life.” Poet Michael White, who teaches creative writing and poetry at UNC - Wilmington, presented a poetry writing workshop. Also speaking was ECU alumna Margaret O’Connor, director of photography for The New York Times when the paper won the 2002 Pulitzer Prizes for Breaking News Photography and Feature Photography. O'Connor presented, “Recording the Moment When Cultures Clash.”

For seven years, the Eastern North Carolina Literary Homecoming has nourished and revitalized the creative spirit for writers as the event provides a place where artists and community members can interact and share ideas. The works represented by the award-winning authors encompass a variety of genres including poetry, fiction, historical nonfiction, and drama and how they tie into Eastern North Carolina culture.

This story appeared originally in the Sept. 24, 2010 issue of Pieces of Eight. An archived version of that issue is available at http://www.ecu.edu/cs-admin/news/poe/2010/910/September-2010-Archives.cfm.