The Daily Tar Heel

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Wednesday October 20th

N.C. Literary Festival Coming to UNC

The second North Carolina Literary Festival, sponsored by UNC and Duke and N.C. State universities, will bring together more than 100 writers and performers.

On Friday, April 5 at 7 p.m. in Memorial Hall, award-winning novelist Julia Alvarez will kickoff the festival events with her discussion of "I, Too, Sing America." Alvarez is an American writer who spent the first 10 years of her life in the Dominican Republic.

"That's the event I most wouldn't miss," said Caroline Martens, festival coordinator.

"She'll talk about what it's like not to be like everyone else but to still be an American writer. And I think, especially now as the community grows and changes and we have more and more Spanish speakers and people from Latin America, it's really great to have someone like Julia here talking about the transition."

Martens said that like Alvarez, not all of the writers at the festival are from North Carolina; however, she added that many do have a North Carolina connection. And of course, many of North Carolina's literary torchbearers also will be in attendance.

Among the writers participating are Gail Godwin, Allan Gurganus, Lucille Clifton, Orson Scott Card, Fred Chappell, Robert Morgan, Elizabeth Spencer, Lee Smith and Randall Kenan, just to name a few.

With so many writers featured, this event aims to reach North Carolina residents outside the Triangle -- and Martens is confident this will happen.

"We know we're going to have people from all across the state," she said.

Martens said that the event has been publicized throughout public libraries and other venues for months throughout North Carolina. Students from other universities like Appalachian State University and UNC-Asheville are definitely coming.

Overall, the level of enthusiasm for this event bodes well for its success . "We have over 200 volunteers, and many of them are students," Martens said.

It seems the only real problem will be deciding which events to go to among the various offerings -- whether it's the family tent, science fiction, nature writing or even the spoken word performance by Kalamu ya Salaam.

"I think there' s something for everyone, and it's just a fun thing to do," Martens said.

"A lot of what' s considered literary is just really good writing."

The Arts & Entertainment Editor can be reached at

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