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Symposium to celebrate literature with NC ties

(Oct. 4, 2004)   —   The literary influence of eastern North Carolina on the creative works of seven authors with will be celebrated this month at the symposium, "Eastern North Carolina and Literary Inspiration: A Homecoming."

The event, which takes place Oct. 23 in the Great Room of East Carolina University's Mendenhall Student Center, offers the opportunity for both area residents and the university community to meet and listen to the award-winning authors of juvenile and adult literature.

Juvenile authors Sue Ellen Bridgers, Elizabeth McDavid Jones and Carole Boston Weatherford will present a panel in the morning. Bridgers, a native of Winterville, writes realistic novels for young adults finding their way to adulthood. Her titles include, "Home Before Dark and Keeping Christina." Jones, an East Carolina University graduate, has written the mysteries Night Flyers and "Mystery on Skull Island." A former newspaper columnist, Weatherford has written a variety of nonfiction, poetry, and children's literature, including "Sink or Swim: African-American Lifesavers of the Outer Banks." A second morning session will include remarks by historian William S. Powell, editor of "North Carolina Fiction, 1734-1957: An Annotated Bibliography," and book dealer Bill Loeser of Chapel Hill. Library staff will demonstrate the North Carolina History and Fiction Digital Library (, which features electronic versions of historic novels.

In afternoon sessions Randall Kenan, Michael Parker, and Bland Simpson will read from their works and discuss their writing. Kenan, who grew up in Duplin County and now teaches in the English Department at UNC-Chapel Hill, melds old themes of Southern literature with new in such works as "A Visitation of Spirits" and "Let the Dead Bury Their Dead." In his most recent novel, "Virginia Lovers," Michael Parker, who teaches creative writing and literature at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, continues to treasure language and to write with the artistic precision of a line engraving. Simpson, a longtime teacher in the Creative Writing Program at UNC-Chapel Hill, also performs with the famous Red Clay Ramblers and will combine music with his presentation about writing.

Keynote speaker Allan Gurganus has written such widely celebrated novels as "Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All." He is known for his comedy and his ability to write about contemporary issues in an old storytelling style. A native of Rocky Mount, he uses southern characters, language, and settings to weave insightful views of life in the South. The symposium is free, but requires registration by contacting or 252-328-6514.

Co-sponsors of the symposium are East Carolina University's Joyner Library, Department of English, Ledonia Wright Cultural Center, Office of Institutional Equity, and Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences and Greenville/Pitt County'"'s Sheppard Memorial Library. The symposium is funded in part by a grant from the North Carolina Humanities Council.

Certified teachers can receive Continuing Education Credit (CEU) for their attendance.


Contact: ECU News Bureau | 252-328-6481