Josephine Humphreys: Keynote speaker
The Literary Homecoming keynote address will be presented by Josephine Humphreys, an award-winning author from Charleston, SC. Humphreys studied creative writing at Duke University. Her first three novels were mainly about contemporary family life in the South, but her fourth, Nowhere Else on Earth, is a historical novel based on a true story from the American Civil War. The novel includes historical events and characters relating to the Lumbee tribe of North Carolina and is set on the Lumbee River. Humphreys’ work won the Southern Book Award in 2001. Rich in Love was adapted into a 1993 film, and Dreams of Sleep won the 1984 Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award. She is also the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Lyndhurst Prize, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature.
Novelist Pamela Duncan was born in Asheville and raised in Black Mountain, Swannanoa, and Shelby, NC; she currently lives in Cullowhee, NC, where she teaches creative writing at Western Carolina University. She holds a BA in Journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an MA in English/Creative Writing from North Carolina State University in Raleigh. Her first novel, Moon Women, was a Southeast Booksellers Association Award Finalist, and her second novel, Plant Life, won the 2003 Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Fiction. She is the recipient of the 2007 James Still Award for Writing about the Appalachian South, awarded by the Fellowship of Southern Writers. Her third novel, The Big Beautiful, is set on the North Carolina coast.
This award-winning novelist and playwright is a native of Rocky Mount, NC, and attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Jim Grimsley’s first novel, Winter Birds, won the 1995 Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction, given by the American Academy of Arts and Letters; the Prix Charles Brisket, given by the French Academy of Physicians; and a special citation from the Ernest Hemingway Foundation as one of three finalists for the PEN/Hemingway Award. His second novel, Dream Boy, won the 1996 Award for Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Literature from the American Library Association and was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award. Dream Boy was adapted for the stage by Eric Rosen, the play premiering at the About Face Theatre in Chicago in 1996. For his third novel, My Drowning, Grimsley was named Georgia Author of the Year. His fourth novel, Comfort & Joy, was a Lambda Literary Award finalist, and his fifth novel, Boulevard, earned him Georgia Author of the Year for the second time. Grimsley has also written eleven full-length and four one-act plays, including Mr. Universe, The Lizard of Tarsus, White People and The Existentialists. He has been playwright-in-residence at 7Stages Theatre of Atlanta since 1986 and was playwright in residence at About Face Theatre of Chicago from 2000 to 2004. Find out more at http://literati.net/Grimsley/
Alice Eley Jones
Alice Eley Jones of Murfreesboro, NC, is a writer and historian who specialize in North Carolina and African-American history. Jones began her career in public history in 1985 as a two-time Stagville Fellow Member (1985-1986) at Durham’s Historic Stagville, which is the former Bennehan-Cameron Plantation. During her tenure there she created the African American Community at Stagville brochure that has been adopted by the North Carolina Division of Archives and History for use at that site. She taught history at North Carolina Central University in Durham, NC, from 1987 to 1992. In 1992, she began a history consulting business called Historically Speaking, and in 2002, she began a publishing company, Minnie Troy Publishers. In 2002, Jones’s book Hertford County, North Carolina was released. Her other major works include the 2004 publications Within the Hope Plantation Household: A Cultural History of Bertie County 1550-1828 and Carpentry and Woodworking Tools of Hope Plantation.
A graduate of East Carolina, Margaret O’Connor was named one of its “100 Incredible Women.” Margaret began her professional career as an illustrator and art director in the field of advertising. In her early years, she worked as a freelancer and on the staff of the San Francisco Examiner. Later she moved to New York to work as a designer at the Wall Street Journal, where she designed the World Debt Crisis, an award winning special report. She joined The New York Times as an art director in 1984 and was later named Deputy Design Director. In 1998 she became Director of Photography and presided over the photo department which won the 2002 Pulitzer Prizes for Breaking News Photography and Feature Photography. Her team also won the award for best use of photography in the Pictures of the Year International competition. She has been featured in Newspaper Design For The Times, Communications Arts Magazine, Print magazine, and various editions of The Best of Newspaper Design. O’Connor retired from the Times in 2008 and is currently traveling, painting and writing. She currently serves as a board member of the East Carolina Women's Roundtable.
Carole Boston Weatherford
Currently living in High Point, NC, this versatile writer began writing in the first grade by dictating poems to her mom in her hometown of Baltimore, Maryland. She has an MA in publication design from the University of Baltimore and an MFA from the University of North Carolina in Greensboro. She began at Fayetteville State University as a writer-in residence and is now an associate professor there, currently teaching composition and children’s literature. Since her literary debut with Juneteenth Jamboree, her books have received many literary honors. Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom, illustrated by Kadir Nelson, won a Caldecott Honor, the Coretta Scott King Award for Illustration, and an NAACP Image Award. Birmingham, 1963 won the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, the Jane Addams Children's Literature Honor and the Jefferson Cup from Virginia Library Association. The Sound that Jazz Makes won the Carter G. Woodson Award from National Council for the Social Studies, and an NAACP Image Award nomination. Freedom on the Menu: The Greensboro Sit-Ins and Remember the Bridge: Poems of a People both won the North Carolina Juvenile Literature Award. She also received the Golden Kite Honor from the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators for Dear Mr. Rosenwald. In 2007, she received the Ragan-Rubin Award from the North Carolina English Teachers Association.
Michael White teaches creative writing and poetry at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington where he has won the UNCW Chancellor’s Teaching Excellence Award and the UNCW Research Reassignment Award. A graduate of the University of Missouri and the University of Utah, he has published three full-length collections of poetry: The Island, Palm Cathedral, and Re-entry, which is the 2006 winner of the Vassar Miller Prize in Poetry. His poems have also appeared in many journals, magazines, and anthologies, including The New Republic, The Paris Review, Ploughshares, The Kenyon Review, The New England Review, Western Humanities Review, and Best American Poetry. In addition, he has won the American Poets Prize three times, the Colorado Prize for Poetry, and is a recipient of fellowships from the North Carolina Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Michael Malone is an award-winning writer who was born in Durham, NC. Among his prizes are the Edgar, the O. Henry, the Writers Guild Award, and the Emmy. He is the author of nine novels, most recently The Four Corners of the Sky; one collection of short stories; and two works of nonfiction. In addition, he has composed plays, screenplays, and had a stint as head writer on the ABC-TV soap opera One Life to Live in the mid 1990s, during the period in which TV Guide deemed the show as the “thinking man’s soap.” Educated at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and at Harvard University, he has taught at Yale, the University of Pennsylvania, and Swarthmore. Currently, the author lives in Hillsborough, North Carolina, with his wife, Maureen Quilligan, a Renaissance scholar who currently chairs the English Department at Duke University in Durham.
Jill McCorkle is the author of nine books— five novels and four story collections, most recently Going Away Shoes; five of her books have been selected as New York Times Notable Books. Native of Lumberton, NC, McCorkle studied creative writing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Hollins College in Virginia. She is the winner of the New England Book Award, the John Dos Passos Prize for Excellence in Literature, the R. Hunt Parker Award for significant contribution to North Carolina literature, and the North Carolina Award for Literature. A member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers, McCorkle has the distinction of having published her first two novels on the same day in 1984. Currently, McCorkle is a professor in the MFA in Creative Writing program at North Carolina State University. She has taught at UNC-Chapel Hill, Tufts University, and Brandeis, where she was the Frannie Hurst Visiting Writer. She was also a Briggs-Copeland Lecturer in Creative Writing at Harvard, was one of the original core faculty members of the Bennington College MFA program, and is a frequent instructor at the Sewanee Summer Writers Program. Her stories have appeared in such venues as The Atlantic, Ploughshares, Oxford American, and Southern Review. Two of her stories have been selected for Best American Short Stories, and several have been collected in New Stories from the South. Her story "Intervention" is in the most recent edition of the Norton Anthology of Short Fiction. Aside from published fiction, her essays and reviews have appeared in The New York Times Books Review, The Washington Post, The News & Observer, Southern Living, Real Simple and The American Scholar. She lives in Hillsborough, NC, with her husband, Tom Rankin, Director of the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University.