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2010 Induction Ceremony for the N.C. Literary Hall of Fame

A large and appreciative audience came to Southern Pines yesterday for the 2010 induction ceremony of the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame.

Pam Kelley at the Charlotte Observer wrote a nice feature on one of our inductees, The Mind of the South author W. J. Cash, in which she talked to former Observer editor Ed Williams and historian Paul Escott about what they planned to say in honor of Cash’s induction.

For those of you who weren’t there, here are a few other choice remarks from yesterday’s ceremony:

“We gather together to welcome Walter Page into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame.  He would have been proud and he would have been quizzical.  North Carolina in his day wasn’t exactly either literary or welcoming.”  – Shippen Page, presenting for induction his great-grandfather, author, editor, and diplomat Walter Hines Page.

“But teaching is a profession that not only brings great pleasure; it also carries abundant opportunities for humility.  How could I have known just how gifted the young man from Hendersonville was?  Had I known, I might have asked, does he really need me or any teacher?”  – Joseph Flora, Robert Morgan’s first English teacher at UNC Chapel Hill, when presenting Morgan for induction.

“This recognition makes me more determined than ever to write better, to grow and learn, to get it right.”  – Robert Morgan, accepting his induction.  When Robert Morgan talks about needing to learn more, the rest of us need to quit whining and work harder.

“A writer being born North Carolinian is like winning the Kentucky Derby as a colt.  . . . Our state’s greatest resource, brothers and sisters, is cussedness.  Stories only happen to people mean enough to tell them.”  – Allan Gurganus, accepting his induction.  Or preaching a tent revival.  It got hard to tell.

“As long as a mule’s not farting in my face, I’ll consider myself a raving success.”  – Samm-Art Williams, accepting his induction by putting it into perspective.

Tell you what: if you come to Fall Conference, I’ll explain Samm-Art’s context.