Celebrated memoirist and poet Mary Karr will visit UNC as the 2013 Distinguished Writer-in-Residence this spring.
The English department announced the decision Wednesday that Karr would be the first author in the newly established program.
The Morgan Writer-in-Residence program, a similar enterprise, ended last year.
Karr’s most well-known book, “The Liars’ Club,” published in 1995, stayed on the New York Times best-seller list for more than a year.
Karr will be on campus from Feb. 24 to March 1, said Susan Irons, a senior lecturer and the director of special programs for the English department.
During that week, Karr will meet with creative writing classes and students, in addition to holding a public reading.
Daniel Wallace, the director of the department’s creative writing program, said Karr was the ideal choice for the position because of the range of her talent.
“She’s a triple threat,” Wallace said.
“She basically redefined the memoir genre when she published ‘The Liars’ Club.’ She’s an award-winning poet and she’s a great teacher.”
Wallace said it is rare for students to have the opportunity to study with a writer of Karr’s caliber.
“She’ll bring a new vision to their work and will be able to talk about her own work in a way that will be illuminating to all the writers in our program, the University and in town.”
Marianne Gingher, a creative writing professor, said she hopes students will be inspired by Karr and her writing.
“She can take the most ordinary subject and make it fascinating and riveting,” Gingher said.
Karr was selected and invited by faculty in the creative writing program, Irons said.
Irons said the department is funding this year’s Distinguished Writer-in-Residence initiative to bring Karr to UNC — but it does not yet have funding for future years.
Irons said the department hopes to continue inviting exceptional writers to campus in the future and is seeking support to keep the program going beyond this spring.
“Bringing writers like Karr to campus enriches Carolina’s literary community,” Irons said.
“It’s a tradition I hope will continue.”
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