All speakers will begin at 7 p.m.
All events are free and open to the public.
Future Visiting Writers
NC Arts Council Literary Fellowship Series
September 8, 2016
The North Carolina Arts Council will help kick off the 2016-17 series with three award winning writers presenting Sept. 8 at 7 p.m. in Belk Centrum.
Alina “Tita” M. Ramirez, Anna Lena Phillips Bell, and Julie Funderburk are all recipients of the NC Arts Council Artist Fellowship Award in the literary category. The award recognizes individual artists for excellence and achievement within their art forms or traditions. The three writers were among 18 artists to receive the award out of more than 260 submissions from across the state.
- Alina “Tita” M. Ramirez – Ramirez’s essays, short stories and reviews have been published in Quarter After Eight (2013), The Normal School (2010), roger: an art and literary magazine (2010), and storySouth (2009). She was nominated for The Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses in both 2005 and 2008, and is a founding member of Spring Garden Press. A graduate of UNC Greensboro’s MFA Creative Writing program, she currently teaches writing at Elon University.
- Anna Lena Phillips Bell – Bell is the recipient of the 2012 Emerging Writers Award in poetry from the Southern Women Writers Conference, as well as a 2011 Ella Emerging Artist Award from the Durham Arts Council. Her poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in 32 Poems, Colorado Review, The Southern Poetry Review, The Southern Poetry Anthology, Vol. VII: North Carolina, and The Raintown Review, among others. A Pocket Book of Forms, her letterpress-printed, travel-sized guide to poetic forms, has been selected for inclusion in both juried and curated exhibitions.
- Julie Funderburk – Funderburk teaches English and Creative Writing at Queens University in Charlotte, and serves as a Board of Trustees Member of the North Carolina Writers’ Network. She has been awarded scholarships by the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference (2012) and the Sewanee Writers’ Conference (2006). Funderburk has published a chapbook collection, Thoughts to Fold into Birds (Unicorn Press 2014), and her first full-length collection of poetry, The Door that Always Opens, will be published by LSU Press in the fall of 2016.
An evening with William Stribling
September 22, 2016
PE Monroe Auditorium
This event will be held in sponsorship with the Footcandle Film Society and will include a screening of Stribling's film, Bear with Us.
William Stribling is an award-winning filmmaker who holds degrees from NYU in Film/TV Production and Dramatic Literature as well as a Masters in Screenwriting from Chapman University. His latest feature film Bear with Us, is currently making the rounds at film festivals worldwide and has garnered several awards along the way. His short film Down in Flames: the True Story of Tony "Volcano" Valenci was recently released on Amazon after a long and succesful film festival run. Stribling's first feature film Lies I Told My Little Sister was released in 2015 by ARC Entertainment as a "Geena Davis Selection". Most recently, Stribling directed the web series Edgar Allan Poe's Murder Mystery Dinner Party for Shipwrecked Comedy. He lives and works in Los Angeles where he is currently writing and directing a digital series for Adaptive Studios.
An evening with Marlon James
October 13, 2016
Essayist and author Marlon James was born in Kingston, Jamacia. He attended the University of the West Indies and graduated with a degree in Language and Literature. In 2006, he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a Masters in Creative Writing, and has taught English and Creative Writing at Macalester College since 2007. His first novel, John Crow's Devil, takes place in 1957 in a remote Jamaican village and tells the story of a biblical struggle, and was a New York Times Editor’s Choice. His second novel, The Book of Night Women, is set in the early 19th century and follows a women’s slave revolt on a Jamaican sugar plantation; it won the 2010 Dayton Literary Peace Prize and Minnesota Book Award. His most recent novel, 2014's A Brief History of Seven Killings, is told from the perspective of multiple characters, and explores the 1976 assassination attempt on Bob Marley, and the several decades of Jamaican history and political instability following it. The work won numerous awards, including the American Book Award, the Minnesota Book Award, and the 2015 Man Booker Prize for Fiction, and was the first book by a Jamaican author ever to be shortlisted for that prize. Chicago Tribune wrote of the book, “An impressive feat of storytelling: raw, uncompromising, panoramic yet meticulously detailed. The Jamaica portrayed here is one many people have heard songs about but have never seen rendered in such arresting specificity—and if they have, only briefly.”
An evening with Sarah Vowell
October 27, 2016
PE Monroe Auditorium
The author of seven nonfiction books on American history and culture, including this year’s campus read, Assassination Vacation, which is about a road trip to the tourist sites where Presidents Lincoln, Garfield, and McKinley were murdered, Sarah Vowell is known for her wit and keen insight into America’s past. Seeing herself as a “translator” rather than a historian, the New York Times bestselling author and essayist says, “It’s not that I try to make history entertaining, although I do. It’s that I see it as inherently entertaining, and part of the fun of my job is sharing that with other people.” She received a degree in Modern Languages and Literature from Montana State University, and a Masters in Art History from School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her first novel, Radio On, is her 1995 diary of listening to the radio, and upon its publication, Newsweek wrote of Vowell, “A cranky stylist with talent to burn.” Her most recent book, Lafayette and the Somewhat United States, follows French aristocrat Marquis de Lafayette as he assists the United States during the Revolutionary War.
An evening with Marie Howe
November 17, 2016
Marie Howe’s writing has been described by The Boston Globe as “Poetry of intimacy, witness, honesty, and relation”. She is the author of three collections of poetry: The Kingdom of Ordinary Time (2009); What the Living Do (1997); and The Good Thief (1988). The Good Thief was selected by Margaret Atwood for the National Poetry Series, who said of the work, “These poems are intensely felt, sparely expressed, and difficult to forget; poems of obsession that transcend their own dark roots.” What the Living Do was selected by Publishers Weekly as one of the five best poetry collections of 1997, and The Kingdom of Ordinary Time was a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize. Howe also co-edited the essay collection In the Company of My Solitude: American Writing from the AIDS Pandemic (1994), and her poetry has appeared in many publications, including The Atlantic, Harvard Review, and Ploughshares.
An evening with Leslie Rindoks
January 19, 2017
Writing under the nom de plume of Avery Caswell, Leslie Rindoks has had humorous essays published in Baltimore Fishbowl, Baltimore Style and the literary journal Welter. She has an M.F.A in Design and an M.F.A in Creative Writing and Publishing Arts, and she attended Iowa Writers’ Workshop in 2006. She is a native of Chicago, but says her home is where her heart is: the Piedmont region of North Carolina. Lenoir-Rhyne’s 2017 Visiting Writer In-Residence, she says the reason she writes can be summed up by her favorite quote, “A book is a party an author throws for the reader.”
An evening with Denise Kiernan
February 9, 2017
When asked if she had a maxim or motto, writer and producer Denise Kiernan replied, “Everything is falling into place...until it isn't. Then just wing it.” Her book, The Girls of Atomic City, was named one of Amazon’s Top 100 Best Books of 2013, and is an NPR, New York Times, and Los Angeles Times bestseller. It tells the true story of the women who worked at Oak Ridge, the military site in Tennessee where the U.S. developed fuel for the first atomic bomb—unbeknownst to the workers. The Washington Post said of the novel, “Kiernan has amassed a deep reservoir of intimate details of what life was like for women living in the secret city...Rosie, it turns out, did much more than drive rivets.” Her writing has appeared in numerous publications, including, Village Voice, Ms. Magazine, Readers Digest, and Discover, and she was the head writer for “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” during its Emmy award-winning first season. She has appeared on PBS NewsHour, MSNBC Morning Joe, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and NPR's "Weekend Edition,", and has been a producer for media outlets such as MSNBC and ESPN. This event is sponsored by The Steelman Lecture Series.
An evening with Reginald Dwayne Betts
February 23, 2017
Poet and criminal justice reform advocate Reginald Dwayne Betts says one book completely changed his life: The Black Poets. At 16 he was arrested for carjacking and sentenced to nine years in prison; while he was in in solitary confinement, the anthology was slid under his cell door. The book opened up poetry’s world of possibilities, and he has since written two volumes: Masters of the Reagan Era, which received a PEN New England Award for poetry, and Shahid Reads His Own Palm. His memoir, A Question of Freedom: A Memoir of Learning, Survival, and Coming of Age in Prison, tells the story of his confinement in some of Virginia’s worst prisons; The Baltimore Times called the book a “must-read”. He has been interviewed on several national shows, including, NPR’s Fresh Air and The Travis Smiley Show, and has been the featured speaker at conferences such as the Beyond the Bench conference and the NACo legislative conference. He has also been featured in The Washington Post, The New York Times, and The New Yorker. Co-sponsored by Exodus Homes, Hickory.
An Evening with Erik Larson
March 9, 2017
PE Monroe Auditorium
A native of New York City, Erik Larson is the author of seven novels, five of which are New York Times bestsellers. His most recent novel, Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania, hit #1 on the list. His previous book to, In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin, also hit #1 on the Times list and has had movie rights optioned by Universal Studios and Tom Hanks’ Playton. The Devil in the White City spent a combined total of over six years on the New York Times bestseller list, won an Edgar Award for nonfiction crime writing and was a finalist for a National Book Award. Leonardo DiCaprio has acquired the option to make a movie of the book; Martin Scorsese will direct, Billy Ray will write the screenplay, and the studio will be backed by Paramount. This event is co-sponsored by the Hickory Public Library.
A boook signing for Erik Larson will be held from 5 to 6 p.m. at the Hickory Public Library.
Family Day with Dan Santat
April 1, 2017 - The Little Read
PE Monroe Auditorium
*This event will take place at 12 noon*
Author and illustrator Dan Santat is known for his children's book, The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend, winner of the 2015 Caldecott Medal. The book, largely written as a gift for his son, tells the story of an imaginary friend, Beekle, who goes in search of a child to be his perfect match. DreamWorks Animation is adapting it into an animated film, which will be written and directed by Jason Reitman. Santat’s first book, Guild of Geniuses, won the Los Angeles Society of Illustrators Bronze Medal for Book Illustration, and he received the Silver Metal from the Society of Illustrators for his illustrations in Oh No! (Or How My Science Project Destroyed the World). In addition to being the illustrator of numerous children’s books, including, The Three Ninja Pigs, The Secret Life of Walter Kitty, and Dog in Charge, Santat is the author and illustrator of the graphic novel Sidekicks. He is also the creator of the Disney Channel animated series The Replacements, which was based on a children’s book he intended to write. His most recent book, Are We There Yet?, follows a boy who begins to time travel during a long, boring car ride. A commercial illustrator as well, he has created pieces for many publications and companies, including Esquire, Macy’s, and Activision.