SOUTHERN PINES, NC—The Weymouth Center for the Arts & Humanities in Southern Pines houses the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame, a living celebration of the state’s rich literary heritage. Fifty-three authors have been inducted into the Hall of Fame since its founding in 1996.
On Sunday, October 12, at 2:00 pm, four poets will join them: Betty Adcock, Ronald H. Bayes, Jaki Shelton Green, and Shelby Stephenson. Hailing from Raleigh, Mebane, Laurinburg, and Benson respectively, their varied backgrounds paint a vivid picture of North Carolina literature past, present, and future.
Sunday’s ceremony will include readings by North Carolina’s seventh poet laureate Joseph Bathanti, plus Barbara Braveboy-Locklear, Teresa Church, Nora Shepard, and more. J. Peder Zane will serve as Master of Ceremonies, and the exhibit hall will host several North Carolina literary organizations. The Country Bookshop, located in Southern Pines, will be on hand to sell books by the inductees.
For the purposes of induction into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame, a North Carolina writer is defined as one who is:
- significantly shaped by his or her time in the state, and/or
- identified in the public’s mind as a North Carolinian and/or
- self-identified as a North Carolinian.
Writers selected for induction into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame meet the following criteria:
- the writer is acclaimed nationally or internationally;
- the quality of the work is exemplary;
- the writer has influenced the development and appreciation of literature in North Carolina; and
- the writer has achieved a formative and significant place in the annals of North Carolina literature.
“I am very honored and humbled that my peers, that my legacy of service to the state, that my legacy of trying to have good practices and trying to have literary excellence is recognized,” Jaki Shelton Green said in a recent interview, “that it matters.”
Largely self-educated—she has no degrees—Betty Adcock was Writer in Residence at Meredith College in Raleigh, where she taught until 2006 and twice held the Mary Lynch Johnson Professorship. She is the author of six poetry collections and the recipient of two Pushcart Prizes, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the North Carolina Medal for Literature, among many other honors and awards.
Ronald H. Bayes is the Writer-in-Residence and Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing Emeritus at St. Andrews University in Laurinburg. His collection Greatest Hits 1960-2002 was published by Pudding House Publications in 2003, following Chainsong for the Muse (Northern Lights Press, 1993).
Jaki Shelton Green is a writer and activist. She received the North Carolina Award for Poetry in 2003. She has published four books of poetry through Carolina Wren Press. She was the 2009 Piedmont Laureate.
Shelby Stephenson has published many collections of poems. He is the former editor of Pembroke Magazine. His Family Matters: Homage to July, the Slave Girl won the 2008 Bellday Poetry Prize. His website is www.shelbystephenson.com.
The North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame is a program of the North Carolina Writers’ Network. Since 2008, the Network and the Weymouth Center collaborate with the North Carolina Center for the Book, the North Carolina Humanities Council, and the North Carolina Collection of the Wilson Library at UNC-Chapel Hill to produce the induction ceremony and to promote the NCLHOF and North Carolina’s literary heritage.