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LRU's Visiting Writers Series presents trio of North Carolina writers
LRU's Visiting Writers Series presents trio of North Carolina writers

Lenoir-Rhyne University's Visiting Writers Series will present a trio of North Carolina writers including, Angela Davis-Gardner, Patrice Gopo, and Allison Hutchcraft, on Thursday, November 16, from 7 to 8 p.m. in Belk Centrum.

Davis-Gardner received her Bachelor of Arts in English from Duke University, and her Master of Fine Arts from the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Greensboro. Her first teaching job was in Tokyo at Tsuda College, and upon returning from Japan, she worked as a journalist before teaching at Guilford College, UNC Greensboro, and N.C. State University, where she spent the majority of her career before retiring and being named a Distinguished Professor Emerita. Her first novel, Felice, was published in 1982, and she has written several essays, stories, and books since, including the books Butterfly's Child and Plum Wine, both of which were influenced by her interest in Japanese-American relations and Japanese culture. Felice was adapted into an opera and was recently staged at Opera Breve.

Davis-Gardner has won many awards, including two grants from the North Carolina Arts Council and two Fellowships from the Japan Foundation. In 2007 she was Duke University's William Blackburn Visiting Fiction Writer, and she has spent several residencies at the Virginia Center for Creative Arts. Plum Wine was named a Notable Novel by the Kiriyama Pacific Rim Prize and was the winner of the Fiction Award from the Southern Independent Bookstore Alliance. In addition to her writing, she continues to teach private classes and lives in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Gopo is a Charlotte, N.C., writer whose essays mainly highlight issues revolving around racial and social injustices. A black Jamaican American who grew up in a predominantly white environment, Gopo gathers reflections and images from her life, and looks for intersection points of the personal with the larger culture in which she exists. "In this way, my work expands the intimate to the universal, but also shrinks the universal to the intimate," she says.

Gopo is the recipient of the 2017 Gell Residency for Writers with Young Children, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2016 for the essay, "What Remains," and received a 2016 Regional Artist Project Grant from the Arts and Science Council for the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. Her essays have appeared in a number of publications, including online in The New York Times and The Washington Post. Gopo's essay, "For My Husband Driving Down a Mountain," was read on WFAE-FM in 2016.

Hutchcraft is a 2017 - 18 N.C. Arts Council fellowship recipient. The Charlotte, N.C., poet says she's drawn towards meditative lyrics and sequential poems, which push her to explore questions from an array of angles. "Research in all its many forms, following hunches, reading widely, immersing in a subject, offers gifts of discovery, complication, and fertile ambiguities that feed my writing and imaginative thinking," she says. "Reading has opened so many worlds to me, from those of extinct birds and the ethics of looking at animals to colonial and ecological histories. My work springs from such exploration and a practice of gathering images, shaping bits of language, and imagining."

Hutchcraft's poems have appeared in the Kenyon Review, Crazyhorse, The Cincinnati Review, Barrow Street, the Beloit Poetry Journal, American Letters & Commentary, West Branch, and other journals. She has been awarded scholarships from the Tin House Writers Workshop, Key West Literary Seminar, and the Squaw Valley Community of Writers, and received a 2016 Regional Artist Project Grant from the Arts & Science Council for the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. She was a fellow at the Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts & Sciences in 2017, and will be a resident at the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology on the Oregon coast in 2018. She earned a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing with a concentration in Poetry, from Purdue University.

January 18, 2018

Jennifer Horne

Belk Centrum, 7 – 8 p.m.

March 21, 2018

Marie Heaney & Catherine Heaney

Belk Centrum, 7 – 8 p.m.

March 22, 2018

Zadie Smith and Nick Laird

Belk Centrum, 7 – 8 p.m.

April 14, 2018

Robert Beatty

P.E. Monroe Auditorium, 12 – 1 p.m.

April 19, 2018

Terry Gifford

Belk Centrum, 7 – 8 p.m.

The Visiting Writers Series has provided outstanding literary arts programming that is free and open to the public for the past 29 years. Each year, the VWS invites authors to tell the stories behind their own works in a relaxed environment before an audience filled with campus and community members. The Writers Series' mission is to build a community of readers, because it believes a community that reads is a more creative, open, and tolerant community. The VWS believes the beauty and power of words help people make sense of the world. Children's writers, mystery writers, essayists, poets, and novelists all participate in this celebration of the written and spoken word.

Sponsors of the 2017-18 VWS include: Footcandle Film Society, Hickory Public Library, N.C. Arts Council, National Endowment for the Arts, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Our State, Crowne Plaza Hickory, United Arts Council of Catawba County, and WFAE 90.7.