Authors newly named for the North Carolina Literary Festival, Sept. 10-13 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, are listed in alphabetical order below with capsule biographies, and Web sites where available.

Photos: To download photos, see end of release.

Note: For a story about the festival, see

Authors newly named for the North Carolina Literary Festival, Sept. 10-13 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, are listed in alphabetical order below with capsule biographies, and Web sites where available.

Kelly Alexander of Chapel Hill co-wrote “Hometown Appetites: The Story of Clementine Paddleford, the Forgotten Food Writer Who Chronicled How America Ate” (Gotham, 2008), a biography of the New York Herald Tribune food writer in the 1950s and ’60s. Alexander teaches food writing at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University and is heard frequently on National Public Radio.

Alexander’s 2003 feature on Paddleford in Saveur magazine, where she long was a senior editor, won the journalism award from the James Beard Foundation. She also was an assistant editor at Food & Wine magazine, and her stories have appeared in The New York Times, O: The Oprah Magazine, Newsweek, Gourmet, Real Simple, Slate, The New Republic and more.

Dorothy Allison, now of northern California, grew up in Greenville, S.C., the first child of a 15-year-old unwed mother who worked as a waitress. Allison wrote the National Book Award finalist and best-seller “Bastard Out of Carolina” (Plume, 1993), which won an American Library Association (ALA) Award for Lesbian and Gay Writing and became a movie.

Allison’s chapbook of poetry, “The Women Who Hate Me,” was published by Long Haul Press in 1983. Her short story collection, “Trash” (Firebrand Books, 1988) also won an ALA Prize for Lesbian and Gay Writing. It contained the story “Compassion,” which was selected for both Best American Short Stories 2003 and Best New Stories from the South 2003.

Another novel, “Cavedweller” (Dutton, 1998), also became a national best-seller and a movie. It was named a New York Times notable book of the year and won an ALA prize.

James Applewhite of northern Durham County has written 11 books of poetry, including “A Diary of Altered Light” (Louisiana State University Press, 2000) and “Selected Poems” (Duke University Press, 2005). He earned three degrees from Duke and taught there from 1972 to 2008. His literary festival talk is part of the James Hutchins Lecture Series at the UNC Center for the Study of the American South.

His honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship in Poetry, the North Carolina Award in Literature, the Jean Stein Award in Poetry from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters and the Associated Writing Program’s Contemporary Poetry Prize.

Applewhite has had 240 poems published in journals and magazines including Southern Review, Poetry, American Poetry Review, Sewanee Review, The Atlantic Monthly, New England Review and Harpers. His 19 articles and critical essays on poets and poetry have appeared in journals including South Atlantic Quarterly, The Wallace Stevens Journal and collections from university presses.

Dan Ariely is the James B. Duke Professor of behavioral economics at Duke University, where he holds appointments in the Fuqua School of Business, the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience and the economics department. He also is a visiting professor in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s media arts and sciences program and president of the Society for Judgment and Decision Making. He wrote “Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces that Shape Our Decisions” (Harper, 2008) and is working on a new book titled “Dining Without Crumbs: The Art of Eating Over the Sink.”

Ariely studies how people act in the marketplace as opposed to how they should or would perform if they were completely rational. His interests span a range of daily behaviors such as buying (or not), saving (or not), ordering food in restaurants, pain management, procrastination, dishonesty and decision-making in different emotional states. His experiments demonstrate profound ideas that defy conventional wisdom. 

Ariely’s research has been published in psychology, economics, marketing and management research journals and featured in The New York Times, the New Yorker, The Washington Post and The Financial Times.  He has provided commentaries for National Public Radio and CNN.

Doris Betts of Pittsboro, Alumni Distinguished Professor of English Emerita in the College of Arts and Sciences at UNC-Chapel Hill, wrote six novels and three short-story collections. Her fiction, set mostly in North Carolina, depicts ordinary people showing extraordinary perseverance and tenacious common sense in the face of life’s troubles.

Three of her books – “Tall Houses in Winter,” “The Scarlet Thread” and “Beasts of the Southern Wild and Other Stories” (Simon & Schuster, re-issue, 1998) – won Sir Walter Raleigh Awards for Fiction from the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association.

Betts’ other books are “The Gentle Insurrection and Other Stories” (Louisiana State University, re-issue, 1997) “The Astronomer, and Other Stories” (Louisiana State University, reprint, 1995), “The River to Pickle Beach” (Simon and Schuster, reprint, 1996) “Heading West” (Touchstone, reprint, 1995), “The Sharp Teeth of Love” (Knopf, reprint, 1997) and “Souls Raised From the Dead” (Scribner), which won the Southern Book Award and was named one of the 20 best books of 1994 by The New York Times.

“The Ugliest Pilgrim,” the most widely printed of her stories, became an Academy Award winner as a short film, “Violet,” and in 1998 was the basis of a musical that won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award.

Betts’ honors include the North Carolina Award for Literature, the UNC Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching and the North Caroliniana Society Award for contributions to the state’s literary and cultural heritage. The UNC faculty honored her with the Thomas Jefferson Award in recognition of her academic and personal contributions to the University and North Carolina.

She is a former chancellor of the Fellowship of Southern Writers. The Doris Betts Distinguished Professorship in creative writing at UNC was established in the creative writing program to honor her 32-year teaching career.

Jenna Black of Pittsboro earned a bachelor’s degree in physical anthropology and French from Duke University and set out to become the next Jane Goodall. That ambition fell by the wayside after she discovered that primates spend most of their time eating and sleeping. She went on to groom dogs and write technical documents; she now writes romance, fantasy and young adult novels. Her books include “Shadows of the Soul,” “Hungers of the Heart,” “The Devil’s Due” and “Speak of the Devil.” Spectra Books, Tor Books and Dell have been among Black’s publishers.

Will Blythe, a Chapel Hill native who lives in New York City, is best known for his memoir “To Hate Like This Is to Be Happy Forever: A Thoroughly Obsessive, Intermittently Uplifting and Occasionally Unbiased Account of the Duke-North Carolina Basketball Rivalry,” (HarperCollins, 2007) a New York Times best-seller.

Formerly the literary editor of Esquire magazine, Blythe has written for Rolling Stone, Sports Illustrated, The New Yorker, the Oxford American and other magazines. His work appears in anthologies including “The Best American Short Stories,” “The Best American Sportswriting,” “The Oxford American Book of Great Music Writing” and more. He writes often for The New York Times Book Review.

Michele Andrea Bowen of Durham calls her work black Christian fiction. Her first three novels, published by Warner Books/Walk Worthy Press, were “Church Folk” (2001), “Second Sunday” (2003) and “Holy Ghost Corner” (2006). Grand Central Publishing Co., formerly Warner Books, published her latest, “Up at the College” (2008).

Bowen, educated in segregated schools in St. Louis, started writing when she was 8 or 9. Her first stories were about little black girls. In high school, she wrote about black urban teen life during the 1970s. She went on to graduate with honors in psychology from Washington University in St. Louis, where she earned master’s degrees in social work and counseling education. She later earned graduate degrees in public health and U.S. history from UNC-Chapel Hill.

“Writing is a ministry for me,” Bowen says. “I love the Lord and I love writing about God and church life.”

Rick Bragg is the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer of best-selling and critically acclaimed books on the people of the foothills of the Appalachians, including the autobiography “All Over but the Shoutin,’” (Vintage Books, 1997) “Ava’s Man” (Knopf, 2001) and “The Prince of Frogtown” (Knopf, 2008).

Bragg, a native of Calhoun County, Alabama, calls these books the proudest examples of his writing life, what historians and critics have described as heart-breaking anthems of people usually written about only in fiction or clichés. They chronicle the lives of his family – cotton pickers, mill workers, whiskey makers, long sufferers and fist fighters.

Bragg, who has written for numerous magazines, ranging from Sports Illustrated to Food & Wine, was a newspaper writer for two decades, covering high school football for the Jacksonville News and militant Islamic fundamentalism for The New York Times. He has won more than 50 writing awards for books and journalism, including, twice, the American Society of Newspaper Editors Distinguished Writing Award.

Bragg is a professor of writing in the journalism department at the University of Alabama.

Nic Brown, who lives with his wife and very small daughter in Chapel Hill, is a graduate of Columbia University and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he was a Truman Capote Fellow and a Teaching-Writing Fellow.  “Floodmarkers,” his first book, was published in July by Counterpoint. Selections from “Floodmakers” have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and have appeared in the Harvard Review, Glimmer Train, Epoch and The South Carolina Review.

Cadillac Man – real name Thomas Wagner – had been in the Army and worked in a soft drink distribution warehouse, where he was promoted to manager. Then one day they let him go, and what followed was 13 years of homelessness and living by his wits. His nickname, he said, comes from more than one unplanned encounter with Cadillacs.

After taking up residence along a sidewalk in Astoria, Queens, Cadillac Man began talking one day with a man who turned out to be magazine writer and author Will Blythe (“To Hate Like This Is to Be Happy Forever”). Blythe began reading Cadillac Man’s journals, finding that “there was a story there, with dialogue, with wit.” The result was Cadillac Man’s memoir, “Land of the Lost Souls: My Life on the Streets” (Bloomsbury, March 2009). 

“Cadillac Man’s story is grueling. His book is not,” wrote Dwight Garner in The New York Times. “He works to put human faces on the men and women you see huddled under overpasses and in alleyways, and there are cracks of light in the tale he tells, even moments of joy, bravery and suspense.”

Cadillac Man went on to publish an essay in The New York Times, be interviewed by the BBC and New York Public Radio and have his first public reading broadcast on C-Span Book TV.

Fred Chappell, a former Poet Laureate of North Carolina, has written 12 poetry books, two story collections and eight novels. His awards for writing include the Thomas Wolfe Prize from UNC-Chapel Hill; eight Roanoke-Chowan Awards in Poetry, presented annually by the N.C. Literary and Historical Association for the best volume of poetry by a North Carolinian; and the Bollingen Prize in Poetry from Yale University.

A native of Canton, in western North Carolina, Chappell taught at UNC-Greensboro from 1964 to 2004. His latest collection is “Shadow Box” (Louisiana State University Press, 2009).
Michael Chitwood, a freelance writer and a lecturer in UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences, has written poetry and fiction that appeared in Poetry, The New Republic, Threepenny Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, Field, The Georgia Review and other journals. 
Ohio Review Books has published two books of his poetry: “Salt Works” (1992) and “Whet” (1995).  His third book, “The Weave Room,” was published by The University of Chicago Press in the Phoenix Poets series (1998).  His collection of essays, “Hitting Below the Bible Belt,” was published by Down Home Press in 1998. 

“Gospel Road Going,” a collection of poems about his native Appalachia, was published in 2002 and was awarded the 2003 Roanoke-Chowan Prize for Poetry from the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association for the year’s best volume of poetry by a North Carolina resident. He won the Roanoke-Chowan again last year for “Spill” (Tupelo Press, 2007). His poetry collection “From Whence” was released in 2007 by Louisiana State University Press.

Dana Coen teaches screenwriting in the writing for the screen and stage program at UNC-Chapel Hill. An adjunct assistant professor in communication studies in the UNC College of Arts and Sciences, he has written extensively for television, most recently as co-executive producer of the Fox prime-time series “Bones.”

Coen previously was co-executive producer on the CBS prime-time series “JAG,” where he spent eight seasons. Other credits include story editor on “Room for Two” starring Linda Lavin, staff writer on “Carol and Company” starring Carol Burnett and episodes of “NCIS,” “General Hospital” and “The Wonder Years.” His honors include the 2003 Jewish Image Award for his “JAG” episode “The Promised Land” and the 1999 Movie Guide Epiphany Prize for his “JAG” episode “Second Sight.” Coen also has been a stage director and an actor and written plays.

William Conescu’s first novel, “Being Written” (Harper Perennial, 2008), is the story of a man who has discovered that he’s a minor character in a book and the lengths to which he’s willing to go to win a bigger part. Translations of the novel have been released or are forthcoming in Germany, the Netherlands, Turkey and Spain. 

Conescu graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill with highest honors in creative writing and later earned a master’s degree in fine arts, specializing in creative writing, at N.C. State. His short stories have appeared in The Gettysburg Review, New Letters, Green Mountains Review and elsewhere.
Conescu works in development communications at Duke University and lives in Chapel Hill.  He is working on his second novel.

Ronald Cotton (see also Jennifer Thompson-Cannino) was mistakenly identified as a rapist from a photo array and subsequent physical lineup in North Carolina in 1984. The victim, Jennifer Thompson, had been raped at knifepoint by a man who broke into her apartment while she was sleeping. But Cotton was innocent of the crime. Thompson-Cannino and Cotton tell this true story together in “Picking Cotton” (St. Martin’s Press, 2009), which describes an unlikely friendship forged between a woman and the innocent man she sent to prison. Cotton and Thompson-Cannino will appear together at the festival.

Mike Craver, a North Carolina native, graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill and was a member of the Red Clay Ramblers for 12 years, appearing in the play “Diamond Studs,” recording nine albums, and touring the U.S., Canada, Europe, Scandinavia, Africa and the Middle East. After leaving the Ramblers, Craver became a writer and performed in more theatre productions.

His off-Broadway credits include “The Oil City Symphony” (co-author and original cast member, Drama Desk Award), “Smoke on the Mountain,” “Radio Gals” (co-author and original cast member), “Wilder” (co-author and original cast) and “Lunch at the Piccadilly” (co-writer and original cast), based on the book by Clyde Edgerton. Craver has worked in theatres across the country, including the Pasadena Playhouse, Actors Theatre of Louisville and the Cape Playhouse in Dennis, Mass.

At the festival, Craver will appear with Edgerton for a musical performance based on the latter’s novel “The Bible Salesman.”
Paul Cuadros, an assistant professor in the UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication, wrote “A Home on the Field: How One Championship Team Inspires Hope for the Revival of Small Town America” ( 2006), which explores class and ethnic conflict through the story of a Latino high school soccer team in Siler City. The title is this year’s summer reading program book at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Cuadros worked for five years for the investigative journal The Chicago Reporter, writing about the poor on such issues as health care, immigration, housing, and crime. He then worked for the Center for Public Integrity in Washington, D.C., as a writer and researcher on two book projects and several reports. In 1999, he was awarded an Alicia Patterson Foundation Fellowship to write and report on the impact of emerging Latino communities on the rural South.

He received the Inland Press Association Award sponsored by the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the Pew Charitable Trust Award for health care reporting and a National Association of Hispanic Journalists award for online reporting.

Sarah Dessen is the author of nine novels for young adults that have sold more than 1.5 million copies, most recently “Along for the Ride” (Viking Children’s Books, June 2009). Her eighth, “Lock and Key” (Viking Children’s Books, 2008), won praise as “sharp, clever and honest” (School Library Journal). The movie “How to Deal,” based on her first two books, was released in 2003 and starred Mandy Moore.

Dessen graduated from UNC in 1993 with highest honors in creative writing and later taught in the program.

Pamela Duncan of Cullowhee teaches creative writing at Western Carolina University.  Her first novel, “Moon Women” (Dial Press, 2002), was a Southeast Booksellers Association Award Finalist, and her second, “Plant Life” (Delacorte, 2003), won the 2003 Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Fiction, one of the state’s highest cultural honors. She received the 2007 James Still Award for Writing about the Appalachian South, awarded by the Fellowship of Southern Writers. 

Duncan’s third novel, “The Big Beautiful” (Dial Press), was published in 2007. Born in Asheville and raised in Black Mountain, Swannanoa and Shelby, N.C., Duncan holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from UNC-Chapel Hill and a master’s in English and creative writing from N.C. State.

Pam Durban is the Doris Betts Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing at UNC. Her books include a collection of short stories, “All Set About with Fever Trees” (University of Georgia Press, 1995) and two novels, “The Laughing Place” (Picador USA, 1995) and “So Far Back” (Picador USA, 2005). Her short fiction has been published in The Georgia Review, Tri-Quarterly, The Southern Review, The New Virginia Review and The Ohio Review. Her short story “Soon” appeared in “The Best American Short Stories of the Century,” edited by the late John Updike, and her work appeared in “The Best American Short Stories 1997” and twice in “New Stories from the South, The Year’s Best.”

Durban’s honors include a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship, a Whiting Writer’s Award and a James Michener Creative Writing Fellowship from the University of Iowa.

Clyde Edgerton, a UNC alumnus and former English teacher, decided to be a writer in 1978 after seeing Eudora Welty read on public television. Eight novels resulted, including six from Ballantine Books: “Raney” (1986), “Walking Across Egypt” (1988), “In Memory of Junior” and “Killer Diller” (1996), “Where Trouble Sleeps” (1998) and “The Floatplane Notebooks” (2004). Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill published Edgerton’s “Red Eye” (1995).

Shannon Ravenel Books issued “Lunch at the Piccadilly” (Ballantine, 2003) and “Solo: My Adventures in the Air,” (Shannon Ravenel Books, 2006) Edgerton’s nonfiction account of his five years in the U.S. Air Force as a fighter pilot based in the United States, Korea, Japan and Thailand. His latest book is the novel “The Bible Salesman” (Little Brown and Co., 2008).

Edgerton is known for his comedic musical performances on piano as well as his books. His mother insisted on piano lessons when he was growing up in the small community of Bethesda outside Durham. He earned three degrees from UNC-Chapel Hill and now is a professor of creative writing at UNC-Wilmington.

Edgerton has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Lyndhurst Fellowship, the North Carolina Award for Literature, a Distinguished Alumni Award from the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Education and five notable book awards from The New York Times.

Elizabeth Edwards shared her battle with breast cancer through her New York Times best-selling memoir “Saving Graces: Finding Solace and Strength from Friends and Strangers” (Broadway Books, 2006). Her new title, “Resilience: Reflections on the Burdens and Gifts of Facing Life’s Adversities” (Broadway Books, 2009), was a No. 1 New York Times best-seller. In the book, she draws on the experiences of others as well as her own, crafting an unsentimental and inspirational meditation on the gifts sometimes found among life’s biggest challenges.

Edwards is working on health-care issues with the Center for American Progress. She holds bachelor’s and law degrees from UNC. After law school, Edwards clerked with a district court judge and worked for the N.C. Attorney General’s office.  She also worked at the Raleigh law firm Merriman, Nicholls and Crampton. Edwards has volunteered at Goodwill Industries and is active in the Wade Edwards Foundation, which she helped establish.

Erica Eisdorfer of Carrboro, author of “The Wet Nurse’s Tale” (Putnam, August 2009), has managed the Bull’s Head Bookshop at UNC for more than 20 years. She was a book reviewer for 10 years on WUNC, North Carolina Public Radio, and her book reviews and articles have appeared in magazines and newspapers including Travel & Leisure and American Bookseller. Eisdorfer is the editor of a coffee-table photo book published by UNC Press, “Carolina: Photographs from the First State University” (2006).

William R. Ferris, a leader in Southern studies, African American music and folklore, is the Joel R. Williamson Eminent Professor of History at UNC and the senior associate director of its Center for the Study of the American South. He is also adjunct professor in the curriculum on folklore.

The former chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, Ferris has conducted thousands of interviews with musicians ranging from the famous (B.B. King) to the unrecognized (Parchman Penitentiary inmates working in the fields). He has written or edited 10 books and created 15 documentary films.

Ferris co-edited the massive Encyclopedia of Southern Culture (UNC Press, 1989), which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. His other books include “Mule Trader: Ray Lum’s Tales of Horses, Mules and Men” (University and College Press of Mississippi, 1998), “Images of the South: Visits with Eudora Welty and Walker Evans” (Center for Southern Folklore, 1978), “Mississippi Black Folklore” (University and College Press of Mississippi, 1971) and “Blues from the Delta” (1970, 1978, 1988). Ferris’ films include “Mississippi Blues” (1983), which was featured at the Cannes Film Festival. He has produced numerous sound recordings and hosted “Highway 61,” a weekly blues program on Mississippi Public Radio, for nearly a decade.

He has won honors including the Charles Frankel Prize in the Humanities, the ALA’s Dartmouth Medal, the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Award and the W.C. Handy Blues Award. In 1991, Rolling Stone magazine named him among the nation’s Top Ten Professors.

Marianne Gingher, associate professor of English at UNC-Chapel Hill, wrote the novel “Bobby Rex’s Greatest Hit,” (Ballantine Books, 1987), which won North Carolina’s Sir Walter Raleigh Award. It became an NBC movie of the week in 1992 and was named a notable book by the American Library Association. The ALA also gave her short story collection “Teen Angel” a best-book award.

Gingher’s memoir, “A Girl’s Life,” (Louisiana State University Press, 2001), received a Foreword magazine book of the year citation in 2001. Her work has appeared in periodicals and journals including the Oxford American, Southern Review, Carolina Quarterly, North American Review, The Washington Post and The New York Times. Gingher also has taught at the Bread Loaf and Sewanee writers’ conferences and Hollins University. She directed UNC’s creative writing program from 1997 to 2002.

Jesse Graves was born and raised in Sharps Chapel, Tenn., 40 miles north of Knoxville, where his family had settled in the 1780s. He holds a doctoral degree from the University of Tennessee and recently completed “Field Portrait,” a manuscript of poems that served as his master’s degree thesis for a master’s degree in fine arts in poetry from Cornell University.

Graves has taught literature and writing at Tennessee, Cornell and the University of New Orleans.  His poems have appeared in recent issues of Southern Poetry Review, Connecticut Review, Louisiana Literature, South Carolina Review and Tar River Poetry.  His essay “Lattice Work: Formal Tendencies in the Poetry of Robert Morgan and Ron Rash,” along with three of his poems, appeared in a special issue of The Southern Quarterly on the theme “Poetry in the South.”  This fall he will join the faculty at East Tennessee State University as assistant professor of English.

John Grisham was working 60 to 70 hours a week at a small Southaven, Miss., law practice long before his name became synonymous with the modern legal thriller. Before going to the office and during courtroom recesses, he worked on his hobby: writing his first novel. In 1983, he was elected to the state legislature and served until 1990. 

One day at the DeSoto County courthouse, Grisham overheard the harrowing testimony of a 12-year-old rape victim and was inspired to start a novel exploring what would have happened if the girl’s father had murdered her assailants. Getting up at 5 a.m. every day to get in several hours of writing before heading off to work, Grisham spent three years on “A Time to Kill” and finished it in 1987. Initially rejected by many publishers, it was eventually bought by Wynwood Press, which gave it a modest 5,000 copy printing and published it in June 1988. 

That might have put an end to Grisham’s hobby, but he had already begun his next book. It would quickly turn that hobby into a full-time career and spark one of publishing’s greatest success stories. The day after Grisham completed “A Time to Kill,” he began work on “The Firm,” a story of a hotshot young attorney lured to an apparently perfect law firm that was not what it appeared.

When he sold the film rights to Paramount Pictures, Grisham suddenly became a hot property among publishers, and book rights were bought by Doubleday. Spending 47 weeks on The New York Times best-seller list, “The Firm” became the best-selling novel of 1991.  The successes of “The Pelican Brief,” which hit No. 1 on the New York Times best-seller list, and “The Client,” which debuted at No. 1, confirmed Grisham’s reputation as the master of the legal thriller. Grisham’s success even renewed interest in “A Time to Kill,” which was republished in hardcover by Doubleday and then in paperback by Dell. This time around, it was a best-seller. 

Since first publishing “A Time to Kill” in 1988, Grisham has written one novel a year. His other books are “The Chamber,” “The Rainmaker,” “The Runaway Jury,” “The Partner,” “The Street Lawyer,” “The Testament,” “The Brethren,” “A Painted House,” “Skipping Christmas,” “The Summons,” “The King of Torts,” “Bleachers,” “The Last Juror,” “The Broker,” “Playing for Pizza,” and “The Appeal” – all international best-sellers. There are more than 235 million John Grisham books in print worldwide, which have been translated into 29 languages.

Nine of his novels have been turned into films, as was an original screenplay, “The Gingerbread Man.” “The Innocent Man” (2006) marked his first foray into non-fiction. Grisham spoke at the first literary festival at UNC in 1998.

Grisham devotes time to charitable causes, including most recently his Rebuild The Coast Fund, which raised $8.8 million for Gulf Coast relief in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Grisham lives with his wife Renee and two children. The family splits their time between their Victorian home on a Mississippi farm and a plantation near Charlottesville, Va.

Masha Hamilton of Brooklyn, N.Y., has written four novels, including “The Camel Bookmobile” (Harper Collins, 2007) and “31 Hours” (Unbridled Books, 2009). Her novels have been translated into a dozen languages and optioned for film. She also is a journalist who reported for five years from the Middle East for the Associated Press and another five from Moscow. She has written from Africa and Afghanistan, working for outlets including the Los Angeles Times and NBC Mutual Radio. She has been awarded fiction fellowships from Yaddo, Blue Mountain Center, Squaw Valley Community of Writers and the Arizona Commission on the Arts.

John Hart, a Durham native who graduated from Davidson College near Charlotte, has worked as a banker, stockbroker, attorney and pub keeper. Later, “with one young daughter and another in the works, I quit everything to take a stab at chasing the dream.” He spent hours at the Rowan County Library, and the novel “The King of Lies” (Minotaur Books, 2007) resulted. “There hasn’t been a thriller as showily literate since Scott Turow came along,” wrote Janet Maslin in The New York Times.

Hart’s second novel, “Down River” (Thomas Dunne Books, 2007), won the 2008 Edgar Award for best novel. His latest novel, also in the mystery-suspense genre, is “The Last Child” (Minotaur Books, 2009).

Sabrina Jeffries decided she wanted to be a romance writer when she was 12. It took her 18 more years to get there, during which she took a detour to get her doctorate in English literature from Tulane University. Now, her sexy and humorous “Regency” historical tales routinely land on the USA Today and New York Times best-seller lists and have won several awards, including the Booksellers’ Best.

Jeffries’ current series, School for Heiresses (Pocket), features the spirited graduates of Mrs. Harris’s School for Young Ladies, unconventional heiresses who prove a match for society’s most irresistible rogues. Her titles, from Pocket and Avon books, include “Never Seduce a Scoundrel,” “The Pirate Lord” and “Only a Duke Will Do.” She lives in North Carolina with her husband and son.

Bret Jennings, an Altavista, Va., native, grew up surrounded by angel biscuits, country ham with redeye gravy, sweet corn, homemade bread and butter pickles and fresh tomato sandwiches. He began his culinary career as a student at N.C. State University in Raleigh. He worked as a caterer, busboy and waiter before traveling to research other culinary traditions in Thailand, Mexico, France, Italy, Germany and Spain.

In 1999 he opened his restaurant, Elaine’s On Franklin, in Chapel Hill. Wine Spectator magazine has awarded the restaurant its coveted Award of Excellence for its wine list each year since 2001. Jennings was also featured in Southern Living Magazine, invited to cook at the James Beard House in December 2002 and awarded the top rating of four stars by The News & Observer of Raleigh in 2003.

Jennings will appear with food writers at the festival.

Todd Johnson, a North Carolina native, has been a teacher and studio singer, and he received a Tony Award nomination as a producer of “The Color Purple” on Broadway. He studied history at UNC and holds a master’s degree from Yale Divinity School. “The Sweet By and By” (William Morrow, 2009) is his first book. A longtime resident of Manhattan’s Upper West Side, he now lives in a 250-year-old house in Litchfield County, Connecticut, where he is at work on his second novel. In his spare time, he gardens and rides horses.

Paul Jones is a UNC clinical associate professor with appointments in the School of Information and Library Science and School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Since 1992, he has directed, possibly North America’s longest-running Web site and one of the largest collections of free materials on the Internet.

His poetry has been published in The News & Observer, Poetry (Chicago) and “The Best American Erotic Poems: From 1800 to the Present” (Scribner’s, 2008). His critical and instructional writing on Raymond Carver can be found in the “Heath Anthology of American Literature.”

Courtney Jones Mitchell grew up in Mocksville and graduated from UNC in 2001 with a degree in journalism and a minor in creative writing. She graduated from the Hollins University masters program in writing in 2002. Her stories have appeared in Best New American Voices, Carolina Quarterly, The News & Observer and The Carrboro Free Press. Her story “Everywhere’s Safe in this World” was a finalist for the Winter 2009 short-story contest for Narrative magazine. 

Her latest work, “How to Roll,” will be included in author Marianne Gingher’s anthology “Long Story Short: Flash Fiction by Sixty-Five of North Carolina’s Finest Writers” (UNC Press, 2009). Jones Mitchell works as a Web writer and copy editor at UNC-Chapel Hill. She lives in Chapel Hill with her husband and is working on a novel.

Virginia Kantra of Raleigh credits her love for strong heroes and courageous heroines to a childhood spent devouring fairy tales and her appreciation of a well-crafted story to her years as an English major at Northwestern University. Kantra, a USA Today best-selling author, has written more than 20 books of contemporary romance, romantic suspense and paranormal romance, published in more than a dozen countries.

A six-time Romance Writers of America award finalist, Kantra has received industry honors including two National Readers’ Choice Awards. “Sea Lord,” the latest book in her “Children of the Sea” series for Berkley, was released in May. Kantra is married to her college sweetheart and the mother of three children.

John (Joseph Vincent) Kessel has taught American literature, science fiction, fantasy and fiction writing at N.C. State University in Raleigh since 1982. He became known that year with the novella “Another Orphan,” a fantasy based on Melville’s “Moby Dick,” which received the 1982 Nebula Award from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and was reprinted in 1989 as a Tor Double book.

He later won the 1992 Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award for the best short science fiction of the year from the Center for the Study of Science Fiction at the University of Kansas for his short story “Buffalo.” He also received a Paul Green Playwright’s Prize from the North Carolina Writers Network in 1994 for “Faustfeathers.”

His other works include the novels “Good News From Outer Space” (Tor Books, 1989) and “Corrupting Dr. Nice” (Tor Books, 1997), plus the collections “Meeting in Infinity” (Arkham House Publishers, 1992) – named a notable book of 1992 by the New York Times Book Review – and “The Pure Product” (Tor Books, 1997). His criticism has appeared in Science Fiction Eye, The Los Angeles Times Book Review, The New York Review of Science Fiction and elsewhere.

Cassandra King’s first novel, “Making Waves in Zion” (Black Belt Press, 1995) was reissued by Hyperion of New York under the title “Making Waves.”  Hyperion released her second novel, “The Sunday Wife,” in 2002, and a third, “The Same Sweet Girls,” in 2005. Her work also appears in the collection “Alabama Bound: The Stories of a State” and the second volume of “Stories from the Blue Moon Café,” released in 2004.

“The Sunday Wife” was a Literary Guild and Book-of-the-Month Club selection; a People Magazine Page-Turner of the Week; Books-a-Million President’s Pick for 2002; Utah’s Salt Lake Libraries Readers’ Choice Award nominee; and one of South Carolina’s Readers’ Circle selections.

King’s third novel, “The Same Sweet Girls” (Hyperion, 2005) was a national No. 1 Book Sense Selection; a Book-of-the-Month Club and Literary Guild selection; and spent several weeks on The New York Times extended list. A fourth novel, “Queen of Broken Hearts,” the story of a divorce therapist who can heal everyone’s broken heart but her own, was released in 2007 by Hyperion and became a Book-of-the-Month Club and Literary Guild selection.

King, born and raised on an Alabama peanut farm, has taught English at several colleges.  She lives in the Low Country of South Carolina with her husband, novelist Pat Conroy.

Mur Lafferty, a podcaster and writer living in Durham, published her first essays and fiction online. This led to work with several magazines and the publishing of her novel, “Playing for Keeps” (Swarm Press, 2008), which reached No.1 in science fiction on She has written for more than 15 role-playing games and several magazines and wrote a book on podcasting.

Lafferty’s work can be seen in “Knights of the Dinner Table,” “Suicide Girls,” “Escape Pod,” and “Hub.” She is host of the award-winning podcast “I Should Be Writing,” and the author behind the online serial, “Heaven.” Lafferty earned a bachelor’s degree in English with a focus on creative writing and a double major in journalism and mass communication in 1995 from UNC.

Dorianne Laux’s fourth book of poems, “Facts about the Moon” (W.W. Norton, 2005), was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and won the Oregon Book Award. Co-author of “The Poet’s Companion,” Laux has received two Best American Poetry Prizes, a Best American Erotic Poems Prize, a Pushcart Prize, two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Laux is also the author of “Awake” (1990), “What We Carry” (1994) and “Smoke” (2000), all from BOA Editions, a nonprofit publisher of poetry and literature. She wrote “Superman: The Chapbook” (2008) and “Dark Charms” (2009), both from Red Dragonfly Press.

Born in Augusta, Maine, Laux graduated with honors in 1988 from Mills College with a bachelor’s degree in English. She teaches at N.C. State and lives in Raleigh with her husband, who is also a poet.

Robert Leleux wrote the memoir “The Memoirs of a Beautiful Boy” (St. Martin’s Press, 2008). His work has appeared in publications including The New York Times Magazine and The Texas Observer, to which he is a regular contributor. He has been a guest on radio and television programs including National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered” and CNN’s “Headline News.”

A graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, Leleux was born in Texas and lives in New York City, where he teaches in public schools.

Zelda Lockhart’s novel “Fifth Born” (Atria, 2002) was a 2002 Barnes & Noble Discovery selection and won a finalist award for debut fiction from the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Legacy Foundation. Her other works of fiction, poetry and essays can be found in anthologies, journals and magazines.  Lockhart is also the author of “The Evolution,” a serial novella currently appearing in the archives of the Open Book series.

Lockhart’s latest novel, “Cold Running Creek” (LaVenson, 2007), a work of historical fiction, garnered the attention of literary organizations including the Historical Novel Society and won a 2008 Honor Fiction Award from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association.  Recently, the book was chosen to be read by incoming students at N.C. A&T State University. Lockhart is working on her third novel, lecturing and facilitating workshops that empower adults and children through writing. In spring 2009, she was visiting writer at UNC-Wilmington, where she taught and worked on her novel. Lockhart lives in Hillsborough.

Michael Malone of Hillsborough was head writer of the soap opera “One Life to Live” from 1991 to 1996, wining an Emmy in 1994. The show was averaging 5 million viewers when Malone left. His next soap opera writing job was with “Another World” in 1997. He returned to write “One Life to Live” from 2003 to 2004.

While on “One Life,” Malone wrote a novel, “The Killing Club” (Hyperion) which was tied into the show. For months, viewers watched a show character, Marcie Walsh, write the book. It was published in 2005 with the authors listed as Walsh and Malone. In its first week of publication “The Killing Club” went to No. 16 on The New York Times best-seller list. It later rose to No. 11.

Malone’s other books, all published by Sourcebooks Landmark, include “Uncivil Seasons” (1983), “Time’s Witness” (1989), “Foolscap, or, the Stages of Love” (1991), “First Lady” (2001) “Red Clay, Blue Cadillac: Stories of Twelve Southern Women (2002) and “The Last Noel” (2003).

Stephen March, a novelist, short story writer and songwriter, sets his work in the South.  His published books include “Armadillo” (Texas Review, 2003), a novella that won a Texas Review Press Prize; “Love to the Spirits” (River City, 2004), a short story collection that won the Independent Publisher Award for Short Fiction in 2005; “Catbird” (Permanent Press, 2006), a novel chosen as a Book Sense Notable by the American Booksellers Association; and “Strangers in the Land of Egypt,” a novel published in May by Permanent Press.

Since 1987, March has taught courses in writing and literature at Elizabeth City State University, where he is a professor of language, literature and communication. March has released a compact disc of his songs, “Blue Moon Diner.” He also writes a weekly column for the Elizabeth City Daily Advance.

Kevin McCarthy
, a lecturer in writing at Dartmouth College, is a Hollywood veteran, having worked in development and production for a number of major studios and independent production companies. He worked on the films “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape,” “Cider House Rules,” “Chocolat,” “Leaving Las Vegas,” and “October Sky.” He has written screenplays and is working on adapting two novels.  McCarthy is also a theater director and has had plays produced in Los Angeles, Boston, and Europe, where he was artistic director of a French theater company for five years.

His latest project is directing the documentary “Elizabeth Spencer: Landscapes of the Heart,” based on the author’s memoir. McCarthy includes interviews, archival photos and film clips on Spencer’s life and work, viewed through the prism of the Southern upbringing that defined her.

Lydia Millet
has written six novels, including “My Happy Life” (Soft Skull Press, 2007), which won the 2003 PEN-USA Award for Fiction; “Oh Pure and Radiant Heart” (Soft Skull Press, 2005), a finalist for the Arthur C. Clarke Prize and “How the Dead Dream” (Counterpoint LLC, 2007), a Los Angeles Times Best Book of 2008.

As an undergraduate at UNC from 1986 to 1990, Millet wrote an honors thesis in fiction – an early novel – that won her the University’s Louis D. Rubin Jr. Prize in Creative Writing. Her story “Walking Bird” appears in “Long Story Short: Flash Fiction by Sixty-Five of North Carolina’s Finest Writers” (UNC Press, 2009) edited by Marianne Gingher. Millet’s first collection of short stories, “Love in Infant Monkeys,” will be published in October by Soft Skull Press.

Katherine Min’s novel “Second Hand World” (Knopf, 2006) made her a finalist for the 2007 PEN/Bingham Award for “an exceptionally talented writer whose debut work represents distinguished literary achievement and suggests great promise.” Her stories have appeared in publications including TriQuarterly, Ploughshares, The Threepenny Review and Prairie Schooner and have been anthologized in college textbooks. 

Min’s story, “Courting a Monk” was included in The Pushcart Book of Short Stories, a collection of the best Pushcart Prize stories of the last 25 years. Another story, “Eyelids,” was listed as a “Distinguished Story” in The Best American Short Stories of 1997; her story “The Brick” was performed at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles for National Public Radio’s Selected Shorts program in 1999. 

Min received a National Endowment for the Arts grant in 1992 and New Hampshire Arts Council Fellowships in 1995 and 2004. Her most recent story, “The Music Lover,” appears in “Long Story Short: Flash Fiction by Sixty-Five of North Carolina's Finest Writers” (UNC Press, 2009), edited by Marianne Gingher. Min has been a fellow or resident at Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and elsewhere and was a Tennessee Williams Scholar at the Sewanee Writers Conference. She teaches creative writing and literature at UNC-Asheville, the Iowa Summer Writers’ Festival and in the master’s in fine arts program at Queen’s University in Charlotte.

Robert Morgan, the Kappa Alpha Professor of English at Cornell University, has written poems and fiction including The New York Times best-selling novel “Gap Creek” (Touchstone, 2000), which received the 2000 Southern Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction and the Appalachian Writers Association 2000 Book of the Year. The book was chosen as a Notable Book by The New York Times and was a selection of the Oprah Book Club.

Morgan’s most recent book, “Boone: a Biography” (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2007) tells the story of Daniel Boone. His honors include the 2008 Thomas Wolfe Prize from UNC and Guggenheim and Rockefeller foundation fellowships. He received the James G. Hanes Poetry Prize from the Fellowship of Southern Writers and the North Carolina Literature Award in 1991.

A native of the North Carolina mountains, Morgan earned his bachelor’s degree in English in 1965 from UNC and his master’s from UNC-Greensboro in 1968.  His first book, “Zirconia Poems” (Lillabulero, 1969), led to several poetry books and short story collections. His story “The Balm of Gilead Tree” (Gnomon, 1997) was included in the 1997 O. Henry Awards anthology.

Other books by Morgan include the novella “Good Measure” (LSU Press, 1993) and the novels “The Hinterlands” (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 1994), “The Truest Pleasure” (Algonquin, 1995) and “This Rock” (Scribner, 2001). “The Truest Pleasure” was a Publisher’s Weekly notable book and a finalist for the Southern Book Critics Circle Award.

Shelia Moses wrote Dick Gregory’s memoir, “Callus on My Soul” (Longstreet Press, 2003), at his request, which required years of research and interviews. While Longstreet was editing the memoir, Moses fell deep into research that led to her children’s book “I, Dred Scott” (Margaret K. McElderry, 2005), which earned her recognition as the Georgia Author of the Year in 2006. Moses’ earlier work, “The Legend of Buddy Bush” (Margaret K. McElderry, 2003), was a finalist for the National Book Award. That title and its sequel, “The Return of Buddy Bush” (Margaret K. McElderry, 2005), received the Coretta Scott King Honor Award. 

Moses also wrote “The Baptism” (Margaret K. McElderry, 2007) and “Joseph” (Margaret K. McElderry, 2008), a young adult story of a boy living in homeless shelter. Her short story “Tumbleweed” appears in “Long Story Short: Flash Fiction by Sixty-Five of North Carolina's Finest Writers” (UNC Press, 2009), edited by Marianne Gingher. Moses lives in Rich Square, N.C.

Jenny Offill wrote the novel “Last Things” (Farrar Straus Giroux, 1999), a New York Times notable book of the year. With Elissa Schappell, she has edited two anthologies: “The Friend Who Got Away” (Doubleday, 2005) and “Money Changes Everything” (Broadway, 2008). Her first children's book, “17 Things I’m Not Allowed To Do Anymore” (Schwartz & Wade), was published in 2008. She teaches at Columbia University and in the master’s in fine arts program at Brooklyn College.

Janis Owens of Newberry, Fla., wrote the novels “My Brother Michael” (Pineapple Press, 1997), winner of the Chautauqua South Fiction Award for Best Novel, “Myra Sims” (Pineapple Press, 1999) and “The Schooling of Claybird Catts” (Harper Collins, 2003).  Her essays have appeared in The New York Times, Writer’s Digest and many other publications. Author Pat Conroy has called her “one of the finest novelists of our time.”

Her new book is “The Cracker Kitchen: A Cookbook in Celebration of Cornbread-Fed, Down-Home Family Stories and Cuisine” (Scribner, 2009). Part cookbook, part family memoir, the book celebrates the backwoods resilience of Southern culture. Owens offers a refreshing anthropological exploration of proud, fiercely independent Americans who have a deep love of their families, country, stories and food. Intertwined with their history is the history of her own beloved family: Grannie, Granddaddy, Uncles and cousins-in-law, complete with pictures from her family album and many a family story.

Barbara Presnell of Lexington, a 2002 and 2008 recipient of North Carolina Arts Council Fellowships, has published three chapbooks, and her poems appear in journals and anthologies. Presnell won the 2006 Cleveland State University Poetry Center’s First Book Prize for her collection “Piece Work,” which the university published the next year.

A portion of the poems won the 2004 Linda Flowers Prize from the N.C. Humanities Council and was published as “Sherry’s Prayer.” The book has been adapted for the stage by Brenda P. Schleunes, producing artistic director of the Touring Theatre of North Carolina, and is performed in community colleges and other venues across the state.

Ann Propsero of Durham wrote “Chefs of the Triangle: Their Lives, Recipes, and Restaurants” (John F. Blair, due in September). She was a founding member of the poetry journal Palmetto Review and has given poetry performances at the Miami Center for Fine Arts, Miami Dade Community College and the University of Miami. A former feature writer for the Miami Herald and several magazines, Propsero was editorial director in the publications department at the University of Miami and an adjunct professor of writing at the University of Miami and Miami Dade Community College. 

Propsero’s novel, “Almost Night,” a mystery set in Miami and the Everglades, was published by Dutton in 2000. In Britain, her novel was nominated for best first novel and on the bestseller list for first novels. It was translated and published in Germany, Norway, the Netherlands and Japan. Her freelance articles and photographs have appeared in the Miami Herald, Miami Magazine, South Florida Gardener and Vista.

Ron Rash, a recipient of the O. Henry Prize, teaches at Western Carolina University. He wrote the 2009 PEN/Faulkner Finalist and New York Times best-selling novel “Serena” (Ecco, 2008), plus three more novels: “One Foot in Eden” (Novello Festival, 2002), “Saints at the River” (Henry Holt and Co., 2004), and “The World Made Straight” (Henry Holt and Co., 2006).

Rash has written three poetry collections and three collections of stories, among them “Chemistry and Other Stories” (Picador, 2007), a finalist for the 2007 PEN/Faulkner Award.  A short story collection, “Burning Bright,” is forthcoming from Ecco in March 2010.

Brian Ray of Atlanta earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of South Carolina, where he taught literature and writing before moving to Greensboro for another graduate degree. A fan of Michael Crichton as a child, Ray also admired authors including Don DeLillo, Margaret Atwood and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Before he decided to go full throttle with writing, he toyed with the idea of becoming a musician, a rock climber, an economist, and a reporter. Ray’s novel, “Through the Pale Door” (Hub City Writers Project, 2009), won the South Carolina First Novel Contest. He is writing a second novel.

Kathy Reichs, anthropology professor at UNC-Charlotte, is also a forensic anthropologist for the Canadian province of Quebec. A native of Chicago, where she received her doctorate at Northwestern, Reichs divides her time between Charlotte and Montreal and is a frequent expert witness in criminal trials. She was vice president of the American Academy of Forensic Science, serves on the Canadian National Police Services Advisory Board and is one of only 75 forensic anthropologists certified by the American Board of Forensic Anthropology. 

Reichs’ work as a forensic anthropologist is internationally recognized. She has traveled to Rwanda to testify at the United Nations Tribunal on Genocide, helped identify individuals from mass graves in Guatemala and done forensic work at Ground Zero in New York. She has identified war dead from World War II, Korea and Southeast Asia. 

Reichs’ experiences spawned her 11 best-selling novels, each playing on an aspect of forensic anthropology that she has used. Scribner has published all her books featuring main character Temperance Brennan. “Déjà Dead” (1997) brought her fame when it became a New York Times best-seller and won the 1997 Ellis Award for Best First Novel. Reichs’ “Death du Jour” (1999), “Fatal Voyage” (2001), “Grave Secrets” (2002), “Monday Mourning” (2004), “Cross Bones” (2005), “Bones to Ashes” (2007) and others also became New York Times best-sellers.

Warren Rochelle was born in Durham, grew up in Chapel Hill and is an associate professor of English at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Va. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English from UNC-Chapel Hill, a master’s in library science from Columbia University and a doctorate in English from UNC-Greensboro.

Rochelle has published in several journals, including Foundation, Extrapolation and Paradoxa, and two essay collections: “More Lights than One on the Fiction of Fred Chappell” (Louisiana State University Press, 2004) and “Teaching Ideas for University English: What Really Works” (Christopher-Gordon, 2004). His critical work, “Communities of the Heart: the Rhetoric of Myth in the Fiction of Ursula K. Le Guin,” was published by Liverpool University Press in 2001. His creative works have appeared in journals including The North Carolina Literary Review, Forbidden Lines, Aboriginal Science Fiction, Colonnades and Graffiti, as well as the Asheville Poetry Review, GW Magazine, Crucible, The Charlotte Poetry Review and Romance and Beyond. Rochelle has a short story in the collection, “The Silver Gryphon” (2003) and two novels, “The Wild Boy” (2001) and “Harvest of Changelings” (2007), all published by Golden Gryphon Press. His third novel, “The Called,” is to be published by Golden Gryphon next year.

Ann B. Ross wrote two paperback mysteries – “The Murder Cure” (Avon, 1978) and “The Murder Stroke” (Nordon, 1981) – and a historical novel, “The Pilgrimage” (Macmillan, 1987). She also is the author of the Miss Julia series, published by The Reader’s Digest Condensed Books in 12 languages.

“Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind” was named a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers book in 1999. It was also ninth on the 76 Most Highly Recommended Books by Book Sense, which listed it as one of the Best Books of the First Five Years.

Six of the Miss Julia books have appeared on The New York Times Extended Bestseller List. Many have also appeared on the bestseller lists of Book Sense and Barnes & Noble. “Miss Julia Paints the Town” is the ninth book in the series and was released in paperback in April. The 10th book, “Miss Julia Delivers the Goods,” was released in hardcover in April.

Ross holds a bachelor’s degree in Literature from UNC-Asheville and master’s and doctoral degrees in English from UNC-Chapel Hill. Her major field of study in graduate school was medieval English literature and language, with a specialty in Anglo-Saxon studies. She has been on the faculty of UNC-Asheville as visiting lecturer, visiting professor and adjunct professor of humanities.

David Rowell of Fayetteville attended UNC, where he studied creative writing under James Seay, Doris Betts, Max Steele and Marianne Gingher. He has been executive editor at DoubleTake Magazine and articles editor at The Washington Post Magazine. Pieces Rowell has edited and published have been reprinted in the anthologies “Best American Short Stories,” “Best American Essays,” “Best American Sports Writing,” “Best American Travel Writing” and “New Stories From the South.” He lives with his wife and two sons in Silver Spring, Md.

John Rowell of Fayetteville – David’s brother – wrote the short story collection “The Music of Your Life” (Simon and Schuster, 2003), named a Dazzling Debut/Breakout Book of Spring 2003 at His fiction, essays and reviews have been featured in publications including Tin House, Bloom and Show Business Weekly.

Rowell is a member of the upper school faculty at the Gilman School in Baltimore, where he teaches English and creative writing as well as directing in the theater program.  He has previously taught creative writing at Mediabistro in New York City, Loyola College, University of Maryland Baltimore Campus and in the University of Baltimore.

Rowell holds a bachelor’s degree from UNC and a master’s of fine arts in writing and literature from Bennington College. He has received fellowships including those from the Sewanee Writers Conference, Edward F. Albee Foundation, Blue Mountain Center and Kimmel-Harding-Nelson Center for the Arts in Nebraska City, Neb.

Bernie Schein of Beaufort, S.C., holds a master’s degree in education, with an emphasis in educational psychology, from Harvard University. His stories and essays have been published in Atlanta Magazine, Atlanta Weekly, Creative Loafing, and the Mississippi Educational Advance. His book written with his wife, Martha Schein, “Open Classrooms in the Middle School” (Parker, 1975), was a selection of the Educators’ Book Club.

Schein has taught for more than 40 years. In talks and workshops, he has shared his views on everything from the shortcomings of the SAT and the No Child Left Behind Act to the need for students to be emotionally open and aware before true learning can take place.

Schein was principal of three schools in Mississippi and South Carolina before he taught full time at the Paideia School in Atlanta, which he helped to start. Schein taught creative and expository writing, literature, drama and social studies. He was chosen District Teacher of the Year in the Atlanta area in 1978. He has been an educational consultant throughout his career and continues to teach creative writing to both adolescents and adults.

Lars Schoultz is the author of “Human Rights and United States Policy Toward Latin America” (1981), “The Populist Challenge: Argentine Electoral Behavior in the Postwar Era” (1983), “National Security and United States Policy Toward Latin America” (1987), “Politics and Culture in Argentina” (1988), “Beneath the United States: A History of U.S. Policy Toward Latin America” (1998), and “That Infernal Little Cuban Republic: The United States and the Cuban Revolution” (2008).

A William Rand Kenan Jr. Professor of Political Science at UNC-Chapel Hill, Schoultz specializes in inter-American relations. His articles have appeared in The American Political Science Review, The American Journal of Political Science, Comparative Politics, The Journal of Politics, The Journal of Latin American Studies and Political Science Quarterly.

Schoultz has held a Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship in Buenos Aires to study Argentine electoral behavior, two postdoctoral research grants from the Social Science Research Council to study United States policy toward Latin America and a Ford Foundation grant to study U.S. immigration policy. He has been a MacArthur Fellow in International Peace and Security and held residential fellowships at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and at the National Humanities Center. Schoultz is the recipient of the UNC Tanner Award (1982), the Class of 1994 Award (1994), and the William Friday Award (2006), all for teaching excellence.

Samia Serageldin was born and raised in Egypt but left at the age of 20 to study at London University, where she earned a master’s degree in political science. In the early ’80s, she came to the United States and lived in Michigan and Massachusetts before moving to North Carolina in 1989.

Her autobiographical first novel, “The Cairo House,” (Syracuse University Press, 2000) was translated into nine foreign languages. Her second novel, “The Naqib’s Daughter,” about Napoleon’s expedition to Egypt in 1798, was published in February by Fourth Estate UK. A third book, “Love is Like Water & Other Stories,” is forthcoming from Syracuse University Press in September and is set partly in Chapel Hill. 

Serageldin has published essays on Islam, women, Arab American writing and counter-terrorism, most recently in “Muslim Networks” (UNC Press, 2005) and “In the Name of Osama bin Laden” (Duke University Press, 2002).

Serageldin has taught French and Arabic, most recently at Duke, and wrote a literary review column for The Chapel Hill News for many years. She is an active public speaker on current events in the Middle East and heavily involved in promoting French-American cultural connections as vice president of Alliance Française in the Triangle.

Jaki Shelton Green was selected as the first N.C. Piedmont Poet Laureate in 2008 and received the North Carolina Award for Literature in 2003. She is the 2007 recipient of the Sam Ragan Award from St. Andrews Presbyterian College for contributions to fine arts in the state. Her poetry has appeared in publications including The African-American Review, Obsidian, Ms. Magazine, Essence magazine, Emigration, Black Poets Lean South Anthology, the Pedestal Poetry Journal and Poets for Peace.

Shelton Green’s publications include “Dead on Arrival,” “Dead on Arrival and New Poems,” “Masks,” “Conjure Blues,” “singing a tree into dance” (Carolina Wren Press, 2004), “breath of the song” (Carolina Wren Press, 2005) and a play, “Blue Opal.” In 2005, “breath of the song,” was cited as one of two Best Poetry Books of the Year by The Independent Weekly of Durham. 

Shelton Green has performed her poetry and taught workshops throughout the United States, Europe and Central and South America. She holds a master’s degree in community economic development from the Development Training Institute of the University of Maryland and maintains an independent consultancy. She teaches creative writing to the homeless, the newly literate, the incarcerated and others. Her workshops, such as “Building Community through Poetry and the Arts,” are available through the North Carolina Humanities Council Speaker’s Bureau.

Maureen Sherbondy grew up in Metuchen, N.J., and now lives in Raleigh. Her poems have appeared in publications including European Judaism, Calyx, Feminist Studies, 13th Moon, Cairn, Comstock Review, Crucible, The Roanoke Review and The News & Observer. Three of Sherbondy’s poems were finalists in the William Faulkner – William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition.

Her other poems have won first place in the Deane Ritch Lomax Poetry Prize (Charlotte Writers’ Club), The Lyricist Statewide Poetry Contest and the Hart Crane Memorial Poetry Award from Kent State University. Main Street Rag published her first chapbook, “After the Fairy Tale,” in 2007. “Praying at Coffee Shops,” published in 2008, has been named a winner in the poetry category of the Next Generation Indie Awards. Her collection of short stories, “The Slow Vanishing,” is expected soon.

Bill Smith, a chef in Chapel Hill for more than 25 years, wrote “Seasoned in the South,” named a New York Times Notable Book and a Food & Wine magazine Best of the Best. Last spring, The James Beard Awards named Smith a finalist for Best Chef. Smith co-founded Cat’s Cradle in the 1970’s and came to be the chef at Crook’s Corner after leaving La Residence restaurant in 1992.

Over the past decade, Smith has created original dishes. His stories, recipes and creative cooking ideas are available in his book and on his blog, “A Year in the Kitchen.” Smith’s essays, commenting on such topics as “Foraging for Flowers to Make Honeysuckle Sorbet,” have been featured in newspapers and on radio and television. Smith’s latest writing topic, “Immigrants in the Kitchen,” was inspired by travel journals he kept during trips to Celaya and Mexico. He recently was interviewed on this topic for an article in the Journal of Southern Cultures: “Taking the Heat and Dishing it Out in a Nuevo-New-South Kitchen.”

Joanna Smith Rakoff of New York City wrote the novel “A Fortunate Age” (Scribner, 2009). She has written for The New York Times, Vogue, the Los Angeles Times and other publications. She holds degrees from Oberlin College; University College, London; and Columbia University.

Elizabeth Spencer was born in Carrollton, Miss., and received a master’s degree from Vanderbilt University in 1943. Her first novel was published in 1948; eight others followed. Spencer has published stories in The New Yorker, Atlantic, and other magazines. She went to Italy in 1953 on a Guggenheim and met her future husband, John Rusher. In 1986, they moved to Chapel Hill, where Spencer taught writing at UNC until 1992.

Her most recent book is “The Southern Woman: New and Selected Fiction” (Modern Library, 2001). Her other titles include “The Voice at the Back Door” (LSU Press, 1994) “The Salt Line” (LSU Press, 1995) and “The Night Travelers” (re-issue, LSU Press 2002). Spencer’s “The Light in the Piazza” (McGraw-Hill, 1960) was made into a movie in 1962 and a musical on Broadway in 2005. The musical won six Tony Awards in 2006. 

Spencer is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a charter member of the fellowship of Southern Writers. Her writing has received awards including the Award of Merit from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 2007, she received the PEN/Malamud Award for Short Fiction from the PEN/Faulkner Foundation. Her latest honor is the Lifetime Achievement Award from The Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters.
Kathryn Stripling Byer of the North Carolina mountains was the state’s Poet Laureate for four years. A graduate of the UNC-Greensboro master’s in fine arts program, she has written six poetry books including “Wildwood Flower” (1992), “Black Shawl” (1998), “Catching Light” (2002) and “Coming to Rest” (2006) all from Louisiana State University Press.

Stripling Byer’s work has appeared in journals ranging from The Atlantic to Appalachian Heritage. She has received the Hanes Poetry Award from The Fellowship of Southern Writers, the Southern Independent Booksellers Award for “Catching Light,” the Lamont (now McLaughlin) Award from the Academy of American Poets for “Wildwood Flower,” and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the N.C. Arts Council. Her blog is “My Laureate’s Lasso.”

Elizabeth Strout won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for “Olive Kitteridge” (Random House, 2008), a collection of 13 linked stories about a retired schoolteacher. Strout also wrote “Abide with Me” (Random House, 2006), a national best-seller and Book Sense pick, and “Amy and Isabelle” (Random House, 1998), which won the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction and the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize.

Strout’s short stories have been published in magazines including The New Yorker and O: The Oprah Magazine. She is on the faculty of the master’s in fine arts program at Queens University in Charlotte and lives in New York City.

Wayne Sutton of Raleigh is an entrepreneur, strategist and producer with a passion for video blogging and social media. He covers online technology, gadgets, industry news, conferences, product reviews and the people behind them on his online video channel. For more than four years, he has counseled business leaders in firms ranging from small start-ups and nonprofit organizations to large and small corporations.

Sutton helps industry leaders maneuver through the ever-changing Internet environment. Be it social media strategy, Web apps, blogs or new ways to use mobile technology as a marketing and a sales tool, Sutton makes sure his clients receive up-to-date information about best-practices and industry standards for digital/online communities.

Sharon Swanson of Chapel Hill has written extensively on the life and work of author Elizabeth Spencer. Swanson’s work has been published in Raleigh’s Metro Magazine, Chapel Hill Magazine and The News & Observer. Her interview with the family of Collin Finnerty, one of the three exonerated Duke University lacrosse defendants, was nominated for a Silver Gavel Award from the American Bar Association.

Swanson received a graduate degree in nonfiction writing from Bennington College and a master’s in public administration from East Carolina University. Her latest project is “Elizabeth Spencer: Landscapes of the Heart,” a detailed look in high definition video – through interviews, archival photos and film clips – at Spencer’s life and work, viewed through the prism of the Southern upbringing that defined her.

Jennifer Thompson-Cannino (see also Ronald Cotton) was raped at knifepoint in 1984 by a man who broke into her apartment while she was sleeping. She escaped, and in the course of reporting the crime, eventually positively identified Ronald Cotton as her rapist in a photo array and subsequent physical lineup.  But Cotton was innocent. This is the story told by Jennifer Thompson-Cannino and Ronald Cotton in “Picking Cotton” (St. Martin’s Press; March, 2009), the true story of an unlikely friendship between a woman and the innocent man she sent to prison. Thompson-Cannino lives in Winston-Salem with her husband and three children. She is an activist against mistaken eyewitness identification and capital punishment. She will appear with Cotton at the festival.

Wells Tower is the author of “Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned,” a short fiction collection published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux this year. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s, GQ, The Paris Review, McSweeney’s, The Washington Post magazine and elsewhere. The recipient of two Pushcart Prizes and the Plimpton Discovery Prize from the Paris Review, Tower lives in North Carolina and Brooklyn.

Matthew Vollmer’s work has appeared in Paris Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, Colorado Review, Gulf Coast, Antioch Review, Portland Review, PRISM International and New Letters. His work has been twice short-listed for the Best American Short Stories series, and he has been nominated numerous times for the Pushcart Prize.  His first novel, “Future Missionairies of America,” was published by MacAdam/Cage early this year.

Vollmer holds a bachelor’s degree in English from UNC-Chapel Hill, a master’s in English from N.C. State University and a master’s in fine arts in fiction writing from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He teaches in the English department at Virginia Tech, where he also advises graduate teaching assistants in the composition program.

Dr. L.G. Walker Jr.
wrote “Dr. Henry R. Porter: the Surgeon Who Survived Little Bighorn” (McFarland and Co., 2007). He has a special interest in the history of medicine and surgery. His publications cover both literary and scientific topics.
Walker retired in 1997 as chairman of the department of general surgery and residency program director at the Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte. He also is a clinical professor of surgery emeritus at UNC.

He graduated from the School of Medicine of the University of Alabama in 1956, interned at the University of Virginia and completed his residency at Emory University. He was in the U.S. Navy as a medical officer and later on the faculty of the Emory University School of Medicine as assistant professor of surgery and assistant chief of surgery at Atlanta Veterans Administration Hospital.

Tobias Wolff won the Los Angeles Times Book Award for his memoir “This Boy’s Life” (Grove Press/Atlantic Monthly Press, 1989), made into a movie starring Robert DeNiro, Ellen Barkin and Leonardo DiCaprio in 1993. His other memoir, “In Pharaoh’s Army: Memories of the Lost War” (Knopf, 1994), was a finalist for the same award and the National Book Award. It recounts Wolff’s experiences as a soldier in Vietnam. While at UNC, Wolff also will read as a distinguished visiting writer in a new living writers course in the creative writing program.

Prizes for Wolff’s short stories have included two O. Henry Awards, given each year for the two best short stories published by American writers in American magazines. Wolff won the PEN/Faulkner Award for his novella “The Barracks Thief and Selected Stories” (Bantam, 1986). The award, founded by writers to honor their peers and administered by the international writers’ group PEN, honors William Faulkner.

Wolff’s short story collections include “In the Garden of the North American Martyrs” (Antaeus, 1980), “Back in the World: Stories” (Vintage Books USA, 1986), “The Night in Question: Stories” (Vintage Books USA, 1997) and “Our Story Begins: New and Selected Stories” (Knopf, 2008). He edited “The Vintage Book of Contemporary Short Stories” and “The Best American Short Stories, 1994.” Wolff teaches at Stanford University.

N.C. Literary Festival Web site:
Downloadable photos:
Doris Betts:

Douglas Blackmon:

Will Blythe:

Rick Bragg:

Fred Chappell:

Clyde Edgerton:

Elizabeth Edwards:

John Grisham:

Kathy Reichs:
Elizabeth Strout:

N.C. Literary Festival contacts: Amy Baldwin, (602) 619-9191 or (919) 843-5615, ; Martin Armes, (919) 608-7260,
News Services contact: LJ Toler, (919) 962-8589

Comments are closed.