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Featured Authors

Keynote Speaker: Michael Parker

Michael Parker captivated the audience at East Carolina University’s first Literary Homecoming in 2004 with his delightful “Hidden Meanings: Treatment of Time, Supreme Irony, and Life Experiences in the Song ‘Ain’t Gonna Bump No More Big Fat Woman.’” A native of Clinton, North Carolina, Parker will give this year’s keynote address, telling of how the culture and people of eastern North Carolina have influenced his work. His first novel, Hello Down There, was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway First Fiction Prize and selected as a New York Times Notable Book. Parker’s 1994 collection of novellas and stories, The Geographical Cure, won the Sir Walter Raleigh Award. His stories have appeared in such journals as Carolina Quarterly, The Georgia Review, and The Oxford American as well as in several anthologies.  A recipient of fellowships from the North Carolina Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts, Parker teaches creative writing and literature in the English Department at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. His latest novel, If You Want Me to Stay, was published in September 2005 by Algonquin Books. He is currently working on a collection of stories, Don’t Make Me Stop Now, which will be published in early 2007.

Photo by Kathy Pories

Roberts Award for Literary Inspiration Presentation
and dessert reception

2006 Roberts Award recipient William Powell

william powell

William Stevens Powell will receive the Roberts Award for Literary Inspiration in recognition of his lifetime of contributions to North Carolina's literature. A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he worked for several years as a researcher for the State Department of Archives and History before joining the staff of the North Carolina Collection at the library of the University of North Carolina in 1951. He served as the curator of the collection from 1958 until his appointment in the 1970s as Professor of History at UNC. He is the author of numerous articles on North Carolina history in such scholarly journals as the North Carolina Historical Review and William and Mary Quarterly. His books include The Correspondence of William Tryon and Other Selected Papers, The First State University: a Pictorial History of the University of North Carolina, John Pory, 1572-1636: the Life and Letters of a Man of Many Parts, and North Carolina through Four Centuries. His Dictionary of North Carolina Biography and North Carolina Gazetteer are standard reference works that aid librarians and scholars in their work. The Encyclopedia of North Carolina, on which Professor Powell has worked for many years, will be published this fall by the University of North Carolina Press.

Named for Mr. and Mrs. B. W. C. Roberts of Durham, North Carolina, in honor of their gift to East Carolina University’s J. Y. Joyner Library of the Roberts Collection of North Carolina Literature, the Roberts Award for Literary Inspiration is presented annually by the library in recognition of a writer whose work has influenced in a significant way the literature of North Carolina.

Speakers honoring William Powell

shelby-stephenson2Shelby Stephenson
“Almost everything I write is tinged with the culture I was born in,” says poet
Shelby Stephenson. The rural world of Johnston County, where Stephenson was raised on a small farm, has inspired many of his poems. He has published more than a half dozen collections of poetry, and his work has appeared in anthologies and in such journals as Hudson Review, Poetry Now, and Southern Poetry Review. A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Stephenson earned a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Since 1978 he has taught creative writing and literature at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. He has served since 1979 as editor of Pembroke Magazine, a highly respected literary journal. His essays have appeared in such publications as Dictionary of Literary Biography, Encyclopedia of Southern Culture, and North Carolina Literary Review. An accomplished folk musician, he regularly performs with the Stephenson Brothers and Linda, his wife.

                                                  Photo by Jan G. Hensley

Timothy TysonTimothy Tyson
Born in Oxford, North Carolina, Timothy Tyson earned his Ph.D. from Duke University in 1994. He serves on the faculty of the Department of Afro-American Studies at the University of Wisconsin at Madison and as a Senior Research Scholar at Duke University’s Center for Documentary Studies. Also at Duke, he is Visiting Professor of American Christianity and Southern Culture in the Divinity School. Tyson’s Radio Free Dixie: Robert F. Williams and the Roots of Black Power won the James A. Rawley Prize and the Frederick Jackson Turner Award of the Organization of American Historians. Democracy Betrayed: the Wilmington Race Riot of 1898 and its Legacy, which he co-edited with David Cecelski, won the Outstanding Book Award in 1999 from the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights in North America. His most recent book, Blood Done Sign My Name, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and won the North Caroliniana Society Book Award in 2005.

Photo courtesy of the author

North Carolina Folklore

Nancy Roberts
Nancy Roberts

“Writing is no longer an interest with me,” says Nancy Roberts, “it is an obsession. It is who I am. It is what I do for fun.” She has written for six newspapers and published one of her own in eastern North Carolina. Roberts has written more than twenty books. She is perhaps best known for her collections of ghost stories, including Ghosts from the Coast, published by the University of North Carolina Press, and An Illustrated Guide to Ghosts and Mysterious Occurrences in the Old North State, now in its fifteenth printing as North Carolina Ghosts and Legends. An accomplished storyteller, Roberts has appeared on CBS This Morning and on public television programs in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. A native of North Carolina, she grew up in Wisconsin but studied literature and journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She lives in Charlotte.

Photo courtesy of the author

Barbara Braveboy Locklear
Barbara Braveboy-Locklear

Barbara Braveboy-Locklear’s forty-year career as a storyteller has raised public awareness of the folklore and history of the Lumbee Indians of Robeson County. Braveboy-Locklear earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communicative Arts from what is known today as the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. Her stories have been published in Pembroke Magazine; Paths to Freedom; The Carolina Indian Voice, a weekly paper published in Pembroke; and in Native Visions Magazine, published monthly by the Robeson Journal. Her passion for educating the public has led her to work as a fine arts curator, historian, and lecturer. Currently she is working on a historical novel about the Lumbee families who migrated during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries from North Carolina to southeast Georgia.

Photo courtesy of the author

Children's Literature

Elisa Carbone
Elisa Carbone
A full-time writer who resides in the Washington, D.C., area and in the mountains of West Virginia, Elisa Carbone adds first-hand research to the imaginative process as she writes her novels.  “Whether that’s riding a train all night to Canada or trudging along the North Carolina beach during gale force winds,” she states, “reenactment helps me truly understand what the people in my books must have experienced.” Her 2001 novel for a juvenile audience, Storm Warriors, was set on Pea Island, North Carolina, during the late nineteenth century.  The American Library Association chose this title as a Notable Book in 2002, and it received the Virginia Library Association’s Jefferson Cup Award the same year. Carbone’s 1998 novel, Stealing Freedom, was an ALA Best Book for Young Adults. Her newest novel, Blood On the River: Jamestown 1607 focuses on one of the main goals of the 1607 expedition, locating the settlers of Roanoke's Lost Colony. Raised in Arlington, Virginia, Carbone attended the University of Maryland, where she earned two master’s degrees.

Photo by Sharon Natoli

James RansomeJames Ransome
Born in Rich Square, North Carolina, James Ransome earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in illustration from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. He has illustrated numerous children’s books published by such notable firms as Atheneum, Harcourt Brace, HarperCollins, Knopf, and Scholastic. He won the Coretta Scott King Award for Illustration and the IBBY Award for The Creation as well as a Coretta Scott King Honor Award for Illustration for Uncle Jed’s Barbershop. An ALA Notable Book, this title has been featured on Reading Rainbow. The recipient of additional awards and commendations, Ransome also received commissions for mural paintings at the Children’s Museum in Indianapolis; The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati; and the Hemphill Branch Library in Greensboro, N.C. A member of the Society of Illustrators, he serves as a visiting professor in the School of Art and Design’s Illustration Department at Syracuse University.

Photo by Lisa Cline-Ransome

Southern Women Writers

Linda Beatrice Brown
Linda Beatrice Brown
Set partially in eastern North Carolina, Linda Beatrice Brown’s first novel, Rainbow Roun Mah Shoulder, won The North Carolina Cultural Arts Coalition’s contest in 1983 for the best book by a minority writer and was published the next year by the Carolina Wren Press. Brown’s second novel, Crossing Over Jordan, was published in 1995 by Ballentine Books. Brown’s biographical work entitled The Long Walk: The Story of the Presidency of Willa B. Player at Bennett College, appeared in 1998.  A native of Akron, Ohio, Brown was graduated from Bennett College in 1961 and earned a Ph.D. from Union Graduate School in 1980. She has been a college professor for more than 26 years, teaching at Guilford College and most recently serving as the Willa B. Player Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Bennett College.

Photo by Otis Hairston

Louise ShiversLouise Shivers
A native of Stantonsburg in Wilson County, Louise Shivers grew up in Wilson with her nine brothers. She attended Atlantic Christian College in her hometown and Meredith College in Raleigh. She furthered her education at the University of South Carolina and at Augusta College in Augusta, Georgia, where she has served as Writer-in-Residence for more than twenty years. Shivers won the U.S.A. Today: Best First Novel of the Year Award in 1983 for Here to Get My Baby Out of Jail, which was made into the movie Summer Heat. Her novel A Whistling Woman was published in 1993.  “I write out of place,” she says, “and eastern N.C. is my place.”

Photo courtesy of the author