Robert MorganWILSON, N.C. – Author and poet Robert Morgan, Kappa Alpha Professor of English at Cornell University, will be the featured speaker at the Barton College Friends of Hackney Library fall dinner scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 5. The evening’s festivities, to be held in Hardy Alumni Hall, will begin with a book signing and wine reception at 6 p.m., followed by dinner and the program at 7 p.m.

Tickets for the dinner event are $35 per person, with reservations accepted through Sept. 28.  Members of the Barton College Friends of Hackney Library may reserve tickets for $30 per person.  Table reservations must be for a total of eight persons. Please contact Cynthia Collins at 399-6503 or fohl@barton.edu for reservations or additional information.

A native of Hendersonville, Morgan received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and an Honorary Doctor of Letters degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Morgan began teaching at Cornell University in 1971, and he has served as the Kappa Alpha Professor of English since 1992. He has held a variety of visiting writer and professorship appointments throughout his professional career, including appointments at Appalachian State University, East Carolina University, Duke University, Furman University, and Davidson College.

Although his earliest publications were short stories, Morgan’s work covers a variety of genres. He published his first poetry collection, “Zirconia Poems,” in 1969. Three more books of poetry followed over the next decade, including “Land Diving,” “Trunk & Thicket,” and “Groundwork.” In 1980, Morgan returned to fiction and published his first book of short stories, “The Blue Valleys,” which was nominated for the First Fiction Award by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Morgan’s novel “The Truest Pleasure” garnered several honors including a “New York Times” Notable Book, listing by “Publishers Weekly” as one of the outstanding books of the year, and first runner-up for The Southern Book Critics Circle Award. Morgan’s novel “Gap Creek,” earned additional recognition, including the 2000 Southern Book Critics Circle Award, “New York Times” Notable Book, “New York Times” best seller, January 2000 Oprah’s Book Club selection, and 2000 Book of the Year by the Association of Appalachian Writers. His 2007 “Boone: A Biography” was named a finalist for the Los Angeles Book Award.

Among Morgan’s story and poetry collections is “The Balm of Gilead Tree and Other Stories.”  The title story from this collection was included in the 1997 O. Henry Awards anthology and the 2004 “The Strange Attractor: New and Selected Poems.” His latest collection of poetry, “October Crossing,” was published in September 2009, and hailed by Michael Chitwood of the “News & Observer” as displaying “the rich, grounded work that he does so well…There’s music aplenty in Morgan’s work, and his portraits not only capture the daily lives of the people of the North Carolina mountains but always manage to get at an even larger canvas, to find the common human story that we all share, no matter our particular location.”

Morgan’s numerous honors and awards include NEA grants in 1974, 1981, and 1987. He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship in 1988. Honored again in 1991, he received the James G. Hanes Poetry Prize by the Fellowship of Southern Writers and the North Carolina Literature Award.

Morgan and his wife make their home in Ithaca, N.Y.

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Questions?  Contact Kathy Daughety, director of public relations, at 252-399-6529 or email: kdaughety@barton.edu.

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