Morgan Writer-in-Residence Program loses funding

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After 20 years and 20 renowned authors, UNC’s Morgan Writer-in-Residence Program has lost its funding.

Beverly Taylor, chairwoman for the English and comparative literature department, said the program does not have funding past this year.

Alumni Allen and Musette Morgan began the annual literary program in 1993 and have funded it through this spring.

“They have only and always expressed real pleasure and pride in the program,” Taylor said.

The program brought established novelists, playwrights and poets — among other writers — to campus to teach workshops, meet with students and faculty, and provide a keynote lecture.

Joan Didion, Amy Hempel and this year’s Athol Fugard are among the writers to have participated in the program. Fugard will be the program’s 20th writer.

Taylor said the program has become a staple not only for the English department, but for the campus and Chapel Hill community.

Michael McFee, assistant department chairman for English and comparative literature, said the department is sorry to see the program go.

“It has become a spring tradition,” he said.

Susan Irons, a lecturer in the department, said she hopes someone will pick up the task to keep the program running.

The exact amount of annual funding was not disclosed, but McFee said it was “substantial.”

Part of the allotment was used each fall to help with the Thomas Wolfe Prize and reading, McFee said.

The prize — which was established in 1999 with an endowment to the English department — is awarded to one contemporary artist with well-regarded work each year, McFee said. It will continue, he said, but at a more conservative level than in the past.

Irons said the Morgans have been incredibly generous for the past two decades.

“They blazed a wonderful trail.”

Contact the Arts Editor at arts@dailytarheel.com.

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