Category Archives: English

Ethnic Studies Film Series screening on March 21

ECU Ethnic Studies, Sociology department, English department, and the Ledonia Wright Cultural Center present: Forbidden; Undocumented and Queer in Rural America by Tiffany Rhyard. The documentary will be shown in Sci-tech 307C on Tuesday, March 21 from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m.

Forbidden is a feature length documentary about an inspiring young man whose story is exceptional, although not unique. Moises is like the thousands of young people growing up in the United States with steadfast dreams but facing overwhelming obstacles.

If you are an undocumented queer immigrant living in the United States amidst this turbulent political climate, you are not safe and your future is at risk. When Moises Serrano was just a baby, his parents risked everything to flee Mexico and make the perilous journey across the desert in search of the American dream. After 23 years growing up in the rural south where he is forbidden to live and love, Moises sees only one option — to fight for justice.

The film chronicles Moises’ work as an activist traveling across his home state of North Carolina as a voice for his community, all while trying to forge a path for his own future.

Both the director, Tiffany Rhynard, and Moises will be attending the screening. There will be a breif Q & A after the film. This event is a Wellness Passport Event!

-by Gera s. Miles Jr., Ethnic Studies

 

Writing workshop highlights veterans’ stories

Former Marine Phil Klay. (contributed photo)

Former Marine Phil Klay. (contributed photo)

Former Marine Phil Klay will be at East Carolina University March 16-17 to participate in the University-sponsored Veterans Writing Workshop, designed to coach and mentor veterans and military-connected writers to record their stories of service.

Klay joined the Marines because we were a nation at war, he says. He wrote short stories about his war, and how that war followed him home, so the American people could better understand the consequences of America’s reactions to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. There were stories he had to tell — individual stories about men and women that weren’t being told on the nightly news.

Now he’s returning to eastern North Carolina to help other veterans tell their own stories.

Klay will lead a writing workshop March 16 and will be joined by fellow authors Ron Capps, Monica Haller and Dr. Fredrick Foote at Hendrix Theater that evening from 7-9 p.m. for readings and a question-and-answer session, which is open to the public and is an ECU Passport Event.

Author Ron Capps. (contributed photo)

Author Ron Capps. (contributed photo)

“I think the craft of writing is the best way we have of dealing with the most vital, painful and beautiful aspects of life. Hopefully, I’ll have something useful to say to writers who are trying to figure out how to approach subjects that are important to them,” Klay said. “Certainly, I’ve found conversations with veteran writers to be hugely important in helping me to formulate my thoughts.”

Klay won the 2014 National Book Award for Fiction for “Redeployment,” a collection of short stories about the war he witnessed in Iraq during a 2007 troop surge intended push back against a raging insurgency that threatened Iraq’s future.

“It’s such an odd space to be in, transferring being at war in Iraq and at peace the States, between one’s primary sense of oneself as a Marine and as a husband, as a soldier and a citizen,” Klay said. He hopes that his work, and the writing produced by the Veterans Writing Workshop, will extend a bridge to those who didn’t share the experiences of combat.

Klay continues to be affected by his time in Iraq and the continuing legacy of a war well into its second decade. In February 2017, the New York Times published an opinion piece (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/10/opinion/sunday/what-were-fighting-for.html) that commended the moral courage of individual American fighting men and women.

“I think I’ve continued to develop a respect for the depth and complexity of veteran’s experiences. I’ve also thought more about the role of American citizens more broadly, whether veteran or not, and the things that unify us as a country,” Klay said.

Veterans and military-connected writers interested in participating in the Veterans Writing workshop can visit http://www.ecu.edu/cs-acad/veteranswritingworkshop/registration.cfm to register.

 

 

-by Benjamin Abel, Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences

Peter Makuck to read at ECU

Longtime eastern North Carolina resident Peter Makuck will present a public reading from his poetry and fiction on Wednesday, Feb. 15 at 7:30 p.m. in East Carolina University’s Bate building, room 1026.

(contributed photo)

(contributed photo)

Makuck, distinguished professor emeritus, taught English and creative writing at ECU from 1978 until his retirement in 2006. Founder of the internationally acclaimed literary journal Tar River Poetry, he is also the author of eight books of poetry and four collections of short stories, including one of each published in 2016.

Makuck grew up in New London, Connecticut and has a doctorate in American literature from Kent State University. He has been a Fulbright Exchange Professor at Cambery, France and a visiting writer at Brigham Young University and N.C. State University. He and his wife, Phyllis, live on Bogue Banks.

Five Makuck short stories have received honorable mentions in the Best American Short Stories collections, and a personal essay on guns was named a Best Essay of 2000. For poetry, he has received the Zoe Kincaid Brockman Award for best book of poems by a North Carolinian.

The reading is sponsored by ECU’s Department of English. Admission is free and open to the public.

 

-by Alex Albright, ECU English Department

Pulitzer-prize winning poet coming to ECU

Pulitzer-prize winning poet Stephen Dunn will be reading from his work at 5 p.m. on Friday, October 21 at the Greenville Museum of Art.

Stephen Dunn (Photo by Bernard C. Meyers)

Stephen Dunn (Photo by Bernard C. Meyers)

The event is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by Thomas Harriet College of Arts and Sciences, the Great Books Program, the Department of English, and the Contemporary Writer’s Series.

Dunn is the author of sixteen books; his poems have appeared in Poetry, The Atlantic, The Nation, the New Yorker, the American Poetry Review, the New Republic, and many other journals. Since 1974 he has taught at Richard Stockton College of NJ, where he is Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing. Dunn has been a Visiting Professor at The University of Washington, NYU, Columbia, and The University of Michigan. 

A reading by 2nd annual Hallberg Award-winning undergrad writer at ECU

Tuesday, September 27th 7:00 pm

1005 Bate Building, ECU, East Fifth Street | Greenville, NC 27858

The ECU English Department and the Creative Writing Area presents a reading with Q & A by Cameron Green, this year’s Bill Hallberg Award in Creative Writing winner. Green will read his winning story, “Why the News is Bad for You,” which was chosen this year by Garth Risk Hallberg, in Room 1005 of the Bate Building on the ECU main campus, on Tuesday evening, September 27th, at 7 pm. Garth Risk Hallberg is Bill’s son and author of the acclaimed novel, City on Fire.

The Bill Hallberg Award, open to undergraduates at colleges in NC, VA, TN, and SC, was established to honor the late ECU Creative Writing Professor and to celebrate the literary efforts of undergraduate students in our region. The winner receives $500 and is invited to read at ECU. Bill Hallberg was the author of several books and a longtime professor at East Carolina University. His novel, The Rub of the Green, concerned golf and was published by Doubleday in 1988. The New York Times Book Review called it “a story to be enjoyed by non-golfers and savored by those who love the game.” A memoir, The Soul of Golf, followed in 1997. He also edited Perfect Lies, an anthology of golf stories by John Updike, Walker Percy, and others.

A question and answer session will follow the reading. This event is free to the public and the ECU community, thanks to the ECU English Department and the Creative Writing faculty.

For further information, please contact Creative Writing Area Coordinator: John Hoppenthaler HOPPENTHALERJ@ecu.edu; tel. 252-328-5562

Prize-winning author coming to ECU

Author Jim Grimsley will meet with East Carolina University students and read from his best-selling memoir, “How I Learned to Shed My Skin,” on Sept. 22.

Grimsley will speak about his personal experiences growing up during segregation in Jones County at 3:15 p.m. in Mendenhall Student Center’s Great Rooms. At 8 p.m., he will read from his memoir at the Greenville Museum of Art, 802 Evans St. 

Grimsley

Grimsley

Grimsley also will announce the winner of the North Carolina Literary Review’s Alex Albright Creative Nonfiction Prize at the Greenville Museum of Art. The winner will receive $250 and their essay will be published in the North Carolina Literary Review (NCLR) in 2017. The prize is named for the publication’s founding editor and funded by the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association.

Both events are free and open to the public and are part of a series of events celebrating the 25th issue of the annual NCLR. Sponsors include ECU’s English and creative writing departments, the NCLR and Greenville Museum of Art.

Grimsley, who is white, combines the story of how Jones County schools were integrated, first by a “Freedom of Choice” desegregation plan and then by federal mandate, with his personal account of how he learned to be a racist while growing up there — and then unlearned those lessons. Black classmates brought into a whites-only school system by integration taught him how to “shed” his racism.

Since 1999, Grimsley has been senior writer in residence at Emory University in Atlanta and is one of 50 active fellows in the Fellowship of Southern Writers. He has won numerous awards and prizes for his writing, including the 2005 Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Lila Wallace/Reader’s Digest Writers Award, the Lambda Literary Award for Fiction, the Asimov Readers’ Award, the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction, and the Bryan Prize for Drama. He has been named Georgia Author of the Year twice.

Grimsley has been an active supporter of the eastern North Carolina literary scene as a participant in the annual literary homecomings that were hosted by ECU for a decade and as a frequent contributor to NCLR. He did most of his background research for “How I Shed My Skin” at ECU’s Joyner Library and was featured at a Greenville Museum of Art reading last December.

Grimsley’s books and the NCLR will be available for purchase at the GMA reading. For more information, contact Alex Albright at 252-328-4876 or the Greenville Museum of Art at 252-758-1946.

–Sophronia Knott

Wieland awarded 2016 Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor

ECU’s Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences inducted Dr. Liza Wieland as Distinguished Professor at the college’s annual convocation on August 19.

Wieland, professor of English and THCAS Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Development, is the 18th member of the faculty to be honored with the title of THCAS Distinguished Professor.

Dr. Liza Wieland (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

Dr. Liza Wieland (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

“I’m thrilled to have been chosen to join the ranks of this excellent group of teachers, scholars, mentors and servants to the College,” said Wieland. “From the very beginning of my time here, the University has been unwaveringly supportive of my work with grants and release time, and now this award, all of which serve to acknowledge that the arts matter at ECU.”

The THCAS Distinguished Professorship is the highest honor within the college and is conferred upon a professor whose career exemplifies a commitment to and a love for knowledge and academic life, as demonstrated by outstanding teaching and advising, research and creative productivity, and professional service.

“Dr. Wieland’s amazing record of creative activity, inspiring teaching and dedication to ECU and its mission are indeed distinguished. She exemplifies the best of ECU,” said Dr. Marianne Montgomery, chair of Harriot College’s Department of English.

Throughout Wieland’s years of academic service to ECU, she has displayed the qualities and characteristics required of a Distinguished Professor.

In her academic role, Wieland has exhibited great range, teaching courses in Beginning and Advanced Fiction Writing; Beginning Poetry Writing; Introduction to Creative Writing; Special Topics in Creative Writing: Theories of the Novel; Appreciating Literature; Interpreting Literature; and Literature from the Writer’s Perspective: Contemporary Irish Fiction. She has served on both the English undergraduate and graduate committees, as an English undergraduate advisor, on an ad hoc committee to study undergraduate English curriculum and on the ECU Honors College Advisory Board.

Wieland has taken on addition roles and initiatives in her areas of research and creative activity. In 2008, she was appointed fiction editor for the North Carolina Literary Review and in 2010 she co-founded and co-directed the ECU Contemporary Writers Series.

Over the course of her career, Wieland has authored eight novels, collections of short fiction and books of poetry. Her fiction, poems and essays have appeared in 13 anthologies and more than 40 published magazines and journals. She has participated in more than 80 lectures, conferences, workshops and public readings on topics related to her writing.

In recognition of her many professional talents, Wieland has received a Research and Creative Activity Reassignment Award, Harriot College Research Award, twice received the Department of English Research and Creative Activity Award, and in 2013, received full funding from the ECU Office of the Provost for the BRIDGES Professional Development Program for Women in Higher Education.

Letters of nomination from colleagues within and outside the ECU community laud Wieland for contributions to her field, adding to the impressive case for inducting her into the prestigious group of Thomas Harriot Distinguished Professors.

“With enthusiasm and without reservation, I urge you to select Professor Wieland for a Harriot College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professorship,” writes a colleague in a letter of support. “Administrators, faculty members and students all testify that Liza Wieland is a riveting and inspirational teacher. Her literary achievement is internationally admired. Her fiction is a national treasure that brings a great deal of positive attention to East Carolina University. Her career has been one of sustained excellence.”

Wieland received her Ph.D., M. Phil. and M.A. degrees in English and Comparative Literatures from Columbia University in 1988, ‘85 and ‘84 respectively. She received her BA degree in English and American Literature and Language from Harvard College in 1981.

–Lacey Gray

ECU faculty publish book after finding success in improving writing program

Members of East Carolina University’s English Department collaborated to publish a book they hope will help other higher education institutions harness the full potential of their writing programs.

After successfully utilizing the reaccreditation process to improve ECU’s writing program, faculty members Will Banks, Wendy Sharer, Tracy Morse and Michelle Eble co-edited, “Reclaiming Accountability: Improving Writing Programs through Accreditation and Large-Scale Assessments.” The book provides examples of how departments and writing programs have used accreditation to gain the kinds of benefits seen at ECU through similar initiatives around the country.

ECU English faculty members

ECU English faculty members (left to right) Tracy Ann Morse, William P. Banks, Wendy Sharer and Michelle F. Eble co-edited, “Reclaiming Accountability: Improving Writing Programs through Accreditation and Large-Scale Assessments.” (Contributed photo)

As part of the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), required for accreditation, the authors focused their efforts on specific initiatives that would help broaden the reach of ECU’s writing program. “We saw reaccreditation as an opportunity to rethink our first-year writing program and our writing-intensive program so they worked together more effectively at helping students move from beginning college-level writing and thinking across their years at ECU,” said Banks, associate professor.

According to Sharer, director of the QEP, some of the changes seen in the program at ECU include:

  • Additional peer consultants to work with students and faculty in all disciplines in a larger, welcoming University Writing Center.
  • A revised Writing Foundations curriculum that includes a new, sophomore-level composition course designed to help students transition into writing in their major areas.
  • Writing mentors embedded in writing-intensive courses across the curriculum.
  • A website that brings together writing-related resources.

Additionally, the university provided resources to help faculty learn new information about writing and how to teach it in major courses.

As part of the updated curriculum, the class “Writing About the Disciplines” was added for second-year students to make it easier to transfer their skills to writing for their disciplines. “We are making the writing that students are doing explicitly relevant to the writing they will do in their majors or even careers,” said Eble, associate professor.

Their book brings together a series of critical cases that show how accreditation has been used in similar ways at other institutions to effect change on campus and across various academic programs. It illustrates how faculty can use accreditation to cultivate campus-wide discussions of writing to better meet local student learning needs.

–Jamie Smith

NCLR names new writing competition for founding editor

 The North Carolina Literary Review (NCLR) has named its new creative nonfiction competition for founding editor Alex Albright.

Albright

Albright

Responding to the honor of having the award named for him, Albright said, “This new competition recognizes NCLR’s continued commitment to publishing the best creative nonfiction available about topics of interest to North Carolina readers and to its ongoing openness to writers at the beginning of their careers.”

The Alex Albright Creative Nonfiction Prize competition is open to any writer who fits the NCLR definition of a North Carolina writer: current or previous residents of North Carolina or a writer who uses North Carolina as subject matter. The first prize recipient will be awarded $250 and publication in NCLR. Finalists will also be considered for publication in the 2016 print and online issues.

Current NCLR editor Margaret Bauer noted, “It is particularly significant that the first winner of the Albright Prize will be published in NCLR’s 25th issue.”

The submission period for the Alex Albright Creative Nonfiction Prize Competition opened on June 15, and the deadline is August 1.

Albright earned his bachelor’s degree at UNC Chapel Hill, and his Master of Fine Arts at UNC Greensboro before joining the faculty of the English department of ECU in 1981. He is the author of, most recently, “The Forgotten First: B-1 and the Integration of the Modern Navy,” as well as the author and producer of the UNC-TV “Boogie in Black and White” and the editor of “The Mule Poems” and “The North Carolina Poems” of internationally renowned eastern North Carolina poet A.R. Ammons, whom Albright named “staff poet” during his years as editor.

Albright published the premiere issue of the NCLR in 1992. He pointed out that when it launched it was “one of the very few literary magazines in the U.S. that focused primarily on creative nonfiction.”

He explained his dedication to cultivating creative nonfiction: “Because virtually every literary magazine at the time was dominated by fiction and poetry, we wanted a forum for nonfiction that was written more for smart readers than for academics. We also wanted a forum that was as open to unknown writers as it was to the big names that dominated the state’s literary scene.”

Under Albright’s editorship, NCLR earned the Best New Journal Award from the Council of Editors of Learned Journals (CELJ) in 1994. Albright has been honored for his contribution to North Carolina literature with the R. Hunt Parker Award given by the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association in 1998 and the Roberts Award for Literary Inspiration given by ECU’s Friends of Joyner Library in 2007. NCLR has earned four more CELJ awards in more than 20 years since its first issue, most recently the Phoenix Award for Significant Editorial Achievement.

Albright said he shares this honor with his original associate editors, John Patterson and the late Bertie Fearing.

Find complete submission guidelines for NCLR’s Alex Albright Creative Nonfiction competition, at http://www.nclr.ecu.edu/submissions/albright-guidelines.html.

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