North Carolina Literary Review Reading featuring Randall Kenan, Nancy Poling & Angela Belcher Epps moderated by Barbara Bennett
Wed 2/20 7pm
A reading featuring recent NC Literary Hall of Fame inductee Randall Kenan, who served as final judge for NCLR's 2018 Alex Albright Creative Nonfiction competition
Also reading: Prize winner Nancy Poling will be reading from her story “Leander’s Lies”
and honorable mention winner Angela Belcher Epps will be reading from her story “Sandhill: A Symphony of Souls”
Event Moderator: Barbara Bennett, frequent NCLR contributor, including, most recently, her essay on Daniel Wallace’s Big Fish in NCLR Online 2019
RANDALL KENAN’s debut novel, A Visitation of Spirits (Grove Press, 1989), established him as a major voice in contemporary American fiction. Like Visitation, Kenan’s second book, a collection of stories, Let the Dead Bury Their Dead (1992), was set in the fictional community of Tims Creek, based on Kenan’s hometown of Chinquapin in Duplin County, North Carolina. Let the Dead Bury the Dead was nominated for the Los Angeles Times Book Award for Fiction, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and was among The New York Times Notable Books of 1992. Kenan is also the author of a young adult biography of James Baldwin (1993), and he wrote the text for Norman Mauskoff ’s book of photographs A Time Not Here: The Mississippi Delta (1997). His travelogue and “spiritual autobiography,” Walking on Water: Black American Lives at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century (1999), was nominated for the Southern Book Award. His has also published a collection of essays, The Fire this Time (2007). In 2011, Kenan edited The Cross of Redemption: Uncollected Writings of James Baldwin (2010), and in 2016 he edited The Carolina Table: North Carolina Writers on Food (2016).
Kenan is a professor in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. During the summers he regularly serves on the faculties of Sewanee Writers’ Conference and Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. He was the first William Blackburn Visiting Professor of Creative Writing at Duke University in the fall of 1994, was the 1997–98 John and Renee Grisham Writer-in-Residence at the University of Mississippi, Oxford, and he held the 2003–04 Lehman Brady Professorship at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. Kenan is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Writers Award, the Sherwood Anderson Award, and the John Dos Passos Award and was the 1997 Rome Prize winner from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He was awarded the North Carolina Award for Literature in 2005.
*Will be reading and speaking about the Alex Albright Creative Nonfiction Prize Competition, his role as judge, and Poling’s story “Leander’s Lies”
After years of living in many parts of the country, NANCY WERKING POLING reports that she is “now happily settled in Black Mountain, NC, an area where nature and history are honored.” Poling is the author of the nonfiction book Before It Was Legal: A Black-white Marriage (1945–1987), which she self-published in 2017, as well as a short story collection, Had Eve Come First and Jonah Been a Woman (Wipf and Stock, 2010), and a novel Out of the Pumpkin Shell (Spinsters Ink, 2009). Randall Kenan, the final judge for the 2018 Alex Albright Creative Nonfiction Prize competition, said of Poling’s essay, “It was love at first read to me, and stands out in originality and in tone.”
*Will be reading from “Leander’s Lies” from NCLR 2019
ANGELA BELCHER EPPS’s short stories and creative nonfiction have appeared in a variety of literary and mainstream periodicals such as Obsidian: Literature in the African Diaspora, Pembroke Magazine, Gumbo for the Soul: The Recipe for Literacy in the Black Community, Essence, and Ladies Home Journal. She is also the author of the novella Salt in the Sugar Bowl (Main Street Rag, 2013). She holds a BA in English from Hofstra University and an MA from New York University’s Creative Writing Program. She now lives in Raleigh, NC, and is a member of the Carolina African American Writers’ Collective.
*Will be reading from “Sandhill: A Symphony of Souls” from NCLR Online 2019
BARBARA BENNETT received her PhD in American Literature from Arizona State University. She is currently an Associate Professor at North Carolina State University. Her books include Comic Vision, Female Voices (Louisiana State University Press, 1998), Understanding Jill McCorkle (University of South Carolina Press, 2000), Soul of a Lion (National Geographic Books, 2010), and Smoke Signals from Samarcand: The 1931 Reform School Fire and its Aftermath (University of South Carolina Press, 2018). Read her interview with Jill McCorkle and Lee Smith in NCLR 2016 and her essay on Jill McCorkle’s Ferris Beach in NCLR 2006. Her essay “Big Fish: The Myth and the Man,” about Daniel Wallace, can be found in NCLR 2019. Bennett will giving a reading from her most recent book, Smoke Signals from Samarcand (UNC Press, 2018), at Flyleaf on March 5, when she'll also be conversing with author Belle Boggs.
*Will be moderating the event