• By Don Dwiggins
  • Posted Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Library to host author Randall Kenan

The Library is pleased to host a program by author and North Carolina native Randall Kenan in conjunction with the University of North Carolina’s Author’s on the Road program, a component of the North Carolina Literary Festival on Tuesday, September 8th at 7 pm in the Central Library auditorium. Authors on the Road is a component of the 2009 North Carolina Literary Festival hosted by UNC-Chapel Hill Library and presented by Our State magazine with additional sponsorship from the State Library of North Carolina. For more information visit: www.ncliteraryfestival.org.

Randall Kenan work is widely praised for capturing the essence of African American life in rural North Carolina, His first novel A Visitation of Spirits, was published by Grove Press in 1989; and a collection of stories, Let the Dead Bury Their Dead, was published in 1992 by Harcourt, Brace. That collection 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. He is also the author of a young adult biography of James Baldwin (1993), and wrote the text for Norman Mauskoff’s book of photographs, A Time Not Here: The Mississippi Delta (1997). Walking on Water: Black American Lives at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century was published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1999, and was nominated for the Southern Book Award. The Fire this Time, a work of nonfiction, was published in July 2007.

Mr. Kenan was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1963, and spent his childhood in Chinquapin, North Carolina. He attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he received a B.A. in English in 1985. From 1985 to 1989 he worked on the editorial staff of Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., publishers. In 1989, he began teaching writing at Sarah Lawrence College and Columbia University. He was the first William Blackburn Visiting Professor of Creative Writing at Duke University in the fall of 1994, and the Edourd Morot-Sir Visiting Professor of Creating Writing at UNC-Chapel Hill in 1995. He was the John and Renee Grisham Writer-in-Residence at the University of Mississippi, Oxford (1997-98), Visiting Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Memphis, and held the Lehman Brady Professorship at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. He has also taught urban literature at Vassar College.

Kenan is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Writers Award, the Sherwood Anderson Award, 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. Currently, he is associate professor of English and comparative literature at UNC-Chapel Hill.

The Authors on the Road program is designed to bring the North Carolina Literary Festival to the state of North Carolina and to further highlight our talented North Carolina authors.

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