All Conference Lunch--Closing General Session: Friday, 12 - 2:00 p.m., October 19, 2007
Bland Simpson, winner of the North Carolina Award for Fine Arts, head of the Creative Writing Program at UNC-CH, playwright, novelist, and member of the famous Red Clay Ramblers, will send us home with a song in our hearts and a story for our ears.
A teacher since 1982 in UNC-Chapel Hill's Creative Writing Program, and now the program's director, Bland Simpson is Bowman and Gordon Gray Associate Term Professor of English and Creative Writing, and is author of the books Heart of the Country, A Novel of Southern Music; The Great Dismal, A Carolinian's Swamp Memoir; The Mystery of Beautiful Nell Cropsey, A Nonfiction Novel; Into the Sound Country: A Carolinian's Coastal Plain, with photography by his wife Ann Cary Simpson; and Ghost Ship of Diamond Shoals, The Mystery of the Carroll A. Deering, A Nonfiction Novel. His latest book, The Inner Islands: A Carolinian's Sound Country Chronicle was published Fall 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press.*
Since 1986 a member of the Tony Award-winning, internationally acclaimed stringband The Red Clay Ramblers, Simpson has toured extensively in North America, Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, and has also collaborated on, or contributed to, the following musicals: King Mackerel & The Blues Are Running: Songs & Stories of the Carolina Coast; Diamond Studs; Hot Grog; Life on the Mississippi; Lone Star Love, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Texas; Tony-nominee Pump Boys & Dinettes; Cool Spring; Tar Heel Voices; Kudzu, A Southern Musical; and three-time Broadway hit and Special Tony Award-winning Fool Moon. In September, 2002, Simpson worked with the Ramblers on a Waynesville, N.C., preview of the Diane Coburn Bruning-choreographed ballet of their music, Ramblin' Suite. The ballet officially premiered at the Fox Theater in Atlanta, Oct. 31st-Nov. 3rd, 2002. A second Ramblers ballet, Carolina Jamboree, developed and performed with the Carolina Ballet, premiered at Raleigh Memorial Auditorium in February 2005 and was broadcast by UNC TV statewide in early 2006.