ECU English professor Dr. Liza Wieland has been awarded a fellowship that will support research for her next book. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)
Wieland awarded fellowship in literature
Oct. 23, 2013
By Spaine Stephens
For ECU News Services
Set in the 1930s and '40s in France, East Carolina University English professor Dr. Liza Wieland's novel in progress requires more research than her previous works.
Thanks to a 2013-2014 North Carolina Arts Council fellowship in literature, Wieland will travel abroad to pore over history archives that will enhance the novel's historical accuracy. Wieland is one of only five recipients among 131 applicants to receive the $10,000 award in the prose category of the fellowship program.
"I was thrilled," Wieland said of finding out she had received the fellowship. "The details (in the book) have to be right, requiring visits to archives in both the United States and abroad. The fellowship will support this travel."
Earning the fellowship is not only a boon to her craft but also a nod to the council's confidence in Wieland's work.
"We're really happy to recognize the quality of Liza's work, and hope that the grant will make a meaningful impact on her ability to keep writing," said David Potorti, literature and theater director for the North Carolina Arts Council. "She's a great representative of the literary talent in our state, and our goal is to continue supporting her and others who carry on that tradition."
Wieland is the author of seven books: three collections of short fiction, "Quickening" (2011), "You Can Sleep While I Drive" (1999) and "Discovering America," (1994); three novels, "A Watch of Nightingales" (2009), "Bombshell" (2001) and "The Names of the Lost" (1992); as well as a volume of poems, "Near Alcatraz" (2005). She has won two Pushcart Prizes, the Michigan Literary Fiction Prize, a Bridport Prize in the United Kingdom and fellowships from The National Endowment for the Arts and the Christopher Isherwood Foundation. She has previously been awarded a fellowship from the North Carolina Arts Council.
She expects to complete her current novel by the end of the fellowship period next year.
Also the fiction editor of the 'North Carolina Literary Review,' Wieland will continue to teach during the fellowship. She draws motivation from both colleagues and students.
"The work of my colleagues in English, in terms of both their classroom presence and their research and creative output is an inspiration," she said. "Students, too, are an inspiration, fuel for my writing. I never know when a student comment in class will solve a problem in my work, provide insight into a character, lead me to a new story, help me refine my sense of what a story is and does.
"Actually, I do know when," she said. "It happens at least once a week."
As a fellow, Wieland also will have the opportunity to attend a weekend workshop with Creative Capital Foundation, an artist-centered grant-making organization in New York that shares a strategic planning curriculum with artists around the country.
The North Carolina Arts Council fellowships, given since 1980, are extremely competitive and nationally recognized. In addition to awards in prose, awards are granted in categories including choreography; visual, craft and film/video; songwriting and composition.