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Pieces of Eight

Children's Literature Focus of 2006 NCLR

By Erica Plouffe Lazure

Children’s literature is the focus of the 2006 North Carolina Literary Review.

The fanciful cover of the 2006 issue of NCLR reflects its focus on childen’s literature. (Contributed photo)

The literary journal, housed in East Carolina University’s English department, just published its 15th edition.

“What wonderful writers for children and young adults we have living in North Carolina,” said NCLR editor Margaret Bauer, the Rives chair of Southern literature at ECU. “We hope this year’s issue will be enjoyed by the whole family.”

Among the featured stories is “Tani,” the first fairy tale written by Northampton County children’s author Mebane Holoman Burgwyn, author of “The Crackajack Pony” (1969) and “River Treasure” (1947).

“This story, along with original illustrations, had never been published,” Bauer said.

“It was found in the archives of the UNC-Greensboro library by Sarah W. Davis, librarian at the Sallie Harrell Jenkins Memorial Library in Aulander, N.C. It may actually be the first story Burgwyn ever wrote down.”

Burgwyn, who died in 1993, was internationally known for writing stories about farm life, and her six novels became staple reading for schoolchildren in the 1950s and 1960s. She was also one of the first white writers of that era to make a breakthrough in the depiction of black children in literature, according to ECU English professor Laureen Tedesco.

Carole Boston Weatherford’s original children’s story, “The Patchwork Princess of the Great Dismal Swamp,” is also a featured story.

Other articles in NCLR include interviews with Randall Kenan (author of “Let the Dead Bury their Dead” about his boyhood reading, young adult author Sarah Dessen (author of “Just Listen” and “Someone Like You”), and an analysis of gender in Jill McCorkle’s young adult novel, “Ferris Beach.” Maurice York, the North Carolina librarian at Joyner Library at ECU, wrote an article about one of North Carolina’s first children’s authors, Mary Ann Bryan Mason.

North Carolina writer David Cecelski wrote an essay about cooking, restaurants, and memory in his essay, “Love, Death, and Sweet Potato Biscuits,” which he had delivered at ECU during the 2005 Eastern North Carolina Literary Homecoming.

Lorraine Hale Robinson and Stephanie Whitlock Dicken helped Bauer with editing and art direction, respectively, and ECU English colleagues Laureen Tedesco, Kenneth Parille, Gregg Hecimovich and Don Palumbo were among those from ECU who served on the 2006 editorial board.

In conjunction with ECU’s centennial, the 2007 NCLR will feature East Carolina writers, artists, and photographers. The 2008 theme is North Carolina humor.

NCLR will be available at Dowdy Student Stores at ECU, Parker-Kenneybrook Books on Evans Street in Greenville, R.A. Fountain in Fountain, and Sunflower Books in Washington. NCLR is also available online at and at the Third Eastern North Carolina Literary Homecoming, Sept. 30, at ECU’s Willis Building.

This page originally appeared in the Sept. 1, 2006 issue of Pieces of Eight. Complete issue is archived at