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 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.