Simpson to present Thomas Harriot lecture

Author and musician Bland Simpson will present the Thomas Harriot lecture in the Voyages of Discovery Lecture Series at 7 p.m. Feb. 2 in Wright Auditorium at East Carolina University.

Simpson is a North Carolina native and the Bowman and Gordon Gray distinguished term professor of English and creative writing at UNC – Chapel Hill.


He has authored more than seven books, including “Heart of the Country, A Novel of Southern Music” and “The Coasts of Carolina: Seaside to Sound Country.”

Simpson is a long-time member of the Tony Award-winning string band The Red Clay Ramblers. He  has collaborated on or contributed to many musicals, including, “King Mackerel and The Blues Are Running: Songs and Stories of the Carolina Coast;” “Life on the Mississippi;” “Lone Star Love, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Texas;” Tony-nominee “Pump Boys and Dinettes;” “Kudzu, A Southern Musical;” and three-time Broadway hit and Tony Award-winning production “Fool Moon.”

Simpson’s awards and recognitions include a 1999 Governor’s Award for Conservation Communicator of the Year, presented by the North Carolina Wildlife Federation; the 1999 North Carolina Folklore Society’s Brown-Hudson Award for writing and music concerning state and regional heritage; and the 2005 North Carolina Award for Fine Arts, the state’s highest civilian honor in the arts.

ECU faculty, staff and students may receive one complimentary ticket for the lecture with a valid ECU ID. For the general public, tickets are $10. Contact the ECU Central Ticket Office at 252-328-4788 or 1-800-ECU-ARTS for more details. Individuals requesting accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) should call 252-737-1016 (voice/TTY) at least 48 hours prior to the event.

A final lecture in the 2011-12 Voyages series, the Jarvis Lecture on Christianity and Culture, will be held March 13, featuring Dr. J. Kameron Carter, associate professor of theology and Black church studies at Duke University.

The Voyages of Discovery Lecture series is made possible through contributions from Harriot College’s Dean’s Advancement Council, various university organizations, and many friends and supporters. To make a contribution, or for additional information, contact director of the series Dr. John A. Tucker at 252-328-1028 or Visit the series’ web site at