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By: Miranda Forman

Junot DiazWith the North Carolina Literary Festival less than two weeks away, it’s time to start thinking about who you’ll want to hear. Meet Junot Díaz, one of our keynote authors.

The list of Díaz’s awards and accolades could fill all five of the high-resolution MicroTile walls in the James B. Hunt Jr. Library, and rightfully so. Along with the Pulitzer Prize, Díaz has won the National Book Critics Circle Award and has been honored with a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, Dayton Literary Peace Prize, Guggenheim Fellowship, PEN/O. Henry Award, and more.

The New York Times has called Díaz’s voice “one of the most distinctive and magnetic … in contemporary fiction: limber, streetwise, caffeinated and wonderfully eclectic.” In an interview with Díaz, Sam Anderson writes that Díaz’s “receptivity to all the possible sources of inspiration is what makes Díaz’s work … so distinctively rich.” Díaz draws from every aspect of his history and our entire literary tradition to create vibrant characters who survive on many different borders, both physically and emotionally.

Díaz’s first book Drown was published to critical acclaim, featuring themes of absent fathers, immigrating from the Dominican Republic, and Díaz’s hallmark character Yunior—a nerdy, quirky teenager. The stories of Drown set the stage for Díaz’s later work, including his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and This is How You Lose Her. If you’re looking for heartbreaking and inspiring reading from one of the most acclaimed writers in the country, pick up any one of Díaz’s books.

We are honored to welcome Díaz to the North Carolina Literary Festival where he will read and hold a book signing at 7:00-9:00pm on Friday, April 4th, at the Hunt Library—1070 Partners Way, Raleigh.

While the Festival is free and open to the public, space is limited, and we ask that you reserve tickets for two of our authors, Junot Díaz and Richard Ford. For free tickets to see Junot Díaz, please visit this link: https://t.co/ehKbjkk0RT. Richard Ford tickets can be reserved here: https://t.co/ojBnw27CcJ. You may also reserve tickets at Quail Ridge Books & Music.

For more information about the programs of the Literary Festival and to download the full schedule of events, please visit the Festival website.

By: David Hiscoe

Hunt Library Teaching and Visualization Lab. ©Jeff Goldberg/Esto

Cited for “the creative and bold vision that went into designing an innovative model for a research library as a high-technology research platform,” the James B. Hunt Jr. Library at North Carolina State University has been awarded the prestigious 2014 Stanford Prize for Innovation in Research Libraries (SPIRL).

Judged by an international panel of library and academic leaders, SPIRL was established by the Stanford Libraries in 2013 “to single out for community attention and to celebrate functionally significant results of the innovative impulses in research libraries worldwide.”

“Our vision was to give NC State a signature library that would help us recruit the very best students and the very best faculty and to serve the community as an inspiring place of excellence and passion and ideas and vision,” says Susan K. Nutter, Vice Provost and Director of Libraries at NC State. “We could not be more honored that our vision and hard work have been awarded the Stanford Prize.”

By: Miranda Forman

Richard Ford

The NC State Bulletin just published an insightful interview with Richard Ford, Pulitzer Prize winner, bestselling novelist, and keynote author at the North Carolina Literary Festival.

An interview teaser:

When Richard Ford was a teenager, he knew what he wanted to be when he grew up: a hotel manager. Ford even went to Michigan State so he could enroll in the university’s highly regarded hotel science program. As it happened, he changed career paths a number of times — schoolteacher, science editor, law school student, ROTC cadet — before he decided to try his hand at writing fiction. He got a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing, tried and failed to get any of his short stories published, and had only modest success with two novels that did find a publisher.

That’s when Ford decided to quit fiction writing and become a sportswriter for Inside Sports magazine. That lasted a year until the magazine folded. He then applied for a job at Sports Illustrated; they didn’t hire him. At that point Ford did the only thing he could think of to do: he wrote a novel about a man who had abandoned a career as a fiction writer to become a sportswriter.

That novel, “The Sportswriter,” went on to become one of Time magazine’s five best books of 1986. His novel “Independence Day,” a sequel to “The Sportswriter,” is the only book to ever win both the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the PEN/Faulkner Award. Since then he has published a number of critically praised and commercially successful books and story collections, most recently the novel “Canada” (2012). He may not be a hotel manager, but fiction writing seems to suit Richard Ford just fine.”

For Richard Ford’s own words about winning the Pulitzer, sportswriting, and the future of reading, please check out the rest of the interview.

As part of the NC Literary Festival, Ford will be reading on Sunday, April 6th, at 1:15PM in NC State’s Hunt Library. This is a ticketed event, and while tickets are free, they need to be reserved. Tickets are available at Quail Ridge Books & Music or online at go.ncsu.edu/nclitfest-ford.

For more information and a full schedule of events, please visit the Festival website.

By: David Hiscoe

To make it easy for you to plan in advance to see your favorites among the over 100 authors, performers, and programs available April 3-6, the daily schedule for the 2014 North Carolina Literary Festival is now available, both online and on the Festival’s free app, which you can download to your mobile device from m.guidebook.com.

The choices could be difficult, with winners of four Pulitzers, a half dozen National Book and National Book Critics Circle awards, many of your favorite North Carolina authors, the creator of the Goosebumps series, the author of The Jane Austen Book Club, and great programs for children in the Festival lineup.

Highlights include:

Thursday, April 3

  • Lev Grossman, book critic for Time magazine and author of Warp, Codex (an international bestseller), The Magicians (a New York Times bestseller) and The Magician King (also a Times bestseller).
  • Literary trivia at the Cameron Bar and Grill.

Friday, April 4

  • Junot Díaz, recipient of a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship and author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, winner of the 2008 Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award.
  • Bourbon tastings, Irish lit and drink specials, the Monti storytelling contest, and The Morning After band in venues in downtown Raleigh.

Saturday, April 5

  • Writer, musician, and screenwriter James McBride, author of the landmark memoir The Color of Water and 2013 winner of the National Book Award.
  • R. L. Stine, the Stephen King of children’s fiction, as well as Paul Muldoon, Karen Joy Fowler, and William T. Vollmann.
  • North Carolina authors Jill McCorkle, Ben Fountain, and Daniel Wallace.
  • Panels on the future of storytelling, poetry, forensics, African-American women’s voices, and first novels.
  • A host of activities for children and parents.
  • Workshops on bookmaking, pop-up books, comics, and making electronic music.

Sunday, April 6

  • Richard Ford, Pulitzer Prize winner and author of The Sportswriter and its sequels, Independence Day and The Lay of the Land.
  • North Carolina authors Lee Smith, Wiley Cash, Elizabeth Spencer, Allan Gurganus, and the NC Literary Hall of Fame and the Lee Smith Award.
  • Additional events for children and young adults, including The Story Squad and Poetry Out Loud

The majority of the NC Literary Festival will be held in and around NC State’s new James B. Hunt Jr. Library.  As the “face of NC State in the 21st century,” this new space has generated international attention for its iconic architecture, its transformative technologies, and its simulation and large-scale visualization spaces that encourage and enable new forms of storytelling. The Hunt Library will serve as the centerpiece for the NC Literary Festival’s theme, “The Future of Reading.”

The NC Literary Festival is hosted on a rotating basis by the academic libraries at NC State University, Duke University, and the University of North Carolina.  The event is free and open to the public.

____________________

Laureate sponsors for the 2014 festival include PNC, Our State magazine, The Friends of the Library of North Carolina State University, and the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources that has administered grant funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the federal Library Services and Technology Act.

By: Miranda Forman

Richard FordWith the NC Literary Festival only two weeks away, it’s time to start thinking about who you’ll want to hear. Meet Richard Ford, one of our keynote authors whose six published novels and four collections of short stories have earned him recognition as one of the most powerful authors of his generation.

Often exploring characters who are navigating the dissolution of the cultural institutions around them, Ford is best known for his novels The Sportswriter, Independence Day, and The Lay of the Land, which focus on Frank Bascombe, a real estate agent in New Jersey, and follow him through various stages of his life. Independence Day was awarded the Pulitzer Prize and the Pen/Faulkner Award for Fiction, the first time the same book won both prizes.

Ford’s latest work Canada, published in 2012, narrates the story of Dell, an abandoned 15-year-old boy who flees from Montana to Canada, seeking, as one critic has pointed out about Ford’s work as a whole, “consolation and redemption in a chaotic time.” The novel is, as The New York Times concluded, “a masterwork by one of our finest writers working at the top of his form.”

Richard Ford currently lives in Maine with his wife, Kristina Ford. We are honored to welcome him to the North Carolina Literary Festival, where he will read and hold a book signing from 1:15-3:00pm on Sunday, April 6th, at the Hunt Library—1070 Partners Way, Raleigh.

While the Festival is free and open to the public, space is limited, and we ask that you reserve tickets for two of our authors, Richard Ford and Junot Díaz. For free tickets to see Richard Ford, please visit this link: https://t.co/ojBnw27CcJ. Junot Díaz tickets can be reserved here: https://t.co/ehKbjkk0RT. You may also reserve tickets at Quail Ridge Books & Music in Raleigh.

By: Miranda Forman

On Sunday nights from 9:00-10:00, you can explore the mysteries of the universe in the Hunt Library’s iPearl Immersion Theater with renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson’s new television series Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey. Investigating mysteries from the smallest molecules to the Milky Way, the popular weekly show promises to explain “how we discovered the laws of nature and found our coordinates in space and time.”

The visuals and stories of Cosmos are stunning, and even more so in the Immersion Theater. The first two episodes are available online, and we hope to see you next Sunday at 9:00pm!

By: Miranda Forman

Lev GrossmanWith the NC Literary Festival only TWO weeks away, it’s time to start thinking about who you’ll want to hear. We thought we’d help by providing some author spotlights as we lead up to April 3 and the beginning of the Festival.

Lev Grossman—bestselling author and senior writer and book critic for Time—has truly written something for everyone. As a journalist, he has reported on a universe of topics, including electronics, video games, Web comics, and crossword puzzles. The list of people he’s interviewed is a Who’s Who of contemporary writers and innovators, including Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, J.K. Rowling, and Salman Rushdie. About his work as a book critic, the New York Times wrote that he is “among this country’s smartest and most reliable.”

As an author of fiction, Grossman is best known for his books The Magician (New York Times Bestseller and named by The New Yorker as one of the best books of 2009) and The Magician King (also a Times bestseller). Featuring a dark, satirical, yet moving twist on childhood favorites like The Chronicles of Narnia, Grossman’s latest novels are adult speculative fiction at its best. NPR called The Magician King “a spellbinding stereograph, a literary adventure novel that is also about privilege, power and the limits of being human.”

Lev Grossman is working at the forefront of “The Future of Reading,” and is someone to talk to whether you’re interested in technology, video games, or almost anything else. He is one of our festival openers and will be reading at 7:30-8:30pm April 3rd, in the Hunt Library Auditorium at 1070 Partners Way, Raleigh.

To learn more about the authors and programs of the NC Literary Festival, check out the Festival website and download a copy of the Festival schedule.

By: Miranda Forman

Though all the activities for the North Carolina Literary Festival are free and open to the public, two events where seating is limited will require that you reserve a free ticket in advance.

Junot Díaz, Friday, April 4th at 7:00-9:00 PM
Hunt Library Auditorium—1070 Partners Way, Raleigh

Keynote author Junot Díaz is the author of the critically acclaimed Drown; The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award; and This Is How You Lose Her, a New York Times bestseller and National Book Award finalist.

Please reserve your tickets for Junot Díaz at https://t.co/ehKbjkk0RT

Richard Ford, Sunday, April 6th, at 1:00-3:00 PM
Hunt Library Multipurpose Room—1070 Partners Way, Raleigh

Keynote author Richard Ford has published six novels and four collections of stories, including The Sportswriter, Independence Day, A Multitude of Sins, The Lay of the Land, and most recently, Canada. Independence Day was awarded the Pulitzer Prize and the Pen/Faulkner Award for Fiction, the first time the same book won both prizes.

Please reserve your tickets for Richard Ford at https://t.co/ojBnw27CcJ

Additionally, a limited number of tickets for both events is also available at Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh.

These tickets are limited and are going very quickly, so if you plan on attending either of these events, please reserve your tickets as soon as possible.

We look forward to seeing you at the Festival!

By: Miranda Forman

With the North Carolina Literary Festival only three weeks away, it’s time to start thinking about who you’ll want to hear. We thought we’d help by providing some author spotlights as we lead up to April 3 and the beginning of the Festival.

Meet Lee Smith, North Carolina author of thirteen novels and four compilations of short stories. She is professor emerita in English at North Carolina State University and has been hailed by Writer Magazine as “one of the South’s most distinctive voices.”

Lee Smith’s work often features her Southern roots. Her latest novel Guests on Earth details the time Zelda Fitzgerald spent in Highland Hospital in Asheville, NC, told from the point of view of a young hospitalized piano prodigy. Sometimes humorous and sometimes dark, Smith’s fiction is wide-ranging and always emotionally gripping. Smith’s awards and accolades are extensive, including the O. Henry Award, the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award for Fiction, and in April 2013, she was the first recipient of Mercer University’s Lanier Prize for Southern Literature.

Once a longtime English professor at North Carolina State University, Smith now lives in Hillsborough, NC. We are honored to welcome her back to NC State for the Literary Festival.

To learn more about the authors and programs of the NC Literary Festival, check out the Festival website.

By: Miranda Forman

During the library’s break hours this week, ACC Tournament games will be shown in the Hunt Library’s Teaching & Visualization Lab on the 4th floor.

The viewing schedule is:
Thursday: 12:00 – 6:00 pm
Friday: 12:00 – 6:00 pm
Saturday: 1:00 – 5:30 pm
Sunday: 1:00 – 4:00 pm

Go Wolfpack!