WILSON, N.C. – Award-winning poet, writer and psychologist Judson Mitcham will be the featured speaker at the Barton College Friends of Hackney Library spring dinner scheduled for Tuesday, April 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 at 7 p.m. Mitcham’s lecture is titled “A Strange Thing.”

Tickets for the dinner event are $35 per person, with reservations accepted through March 30. 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 Georgia native, Mitcham was not formally trained as a writer but rather as a psychologist, earning his undergraduate and doctoral degrees in psychology from the University of Georgia. He taught psychology at the Fort Valley State University in Georgia from 1974 until his retirement as an associate professor in 2004. Yet his poignant, powerful award-winning poetry and novels have led to adjunct professor positions in creative writing at the University of Georgia as well as at Emory University, where he has directed the Summer Writers’ Institute.

He has held fellowships from the national Endowment for the Arts, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and the Georgia Council for the Arts. He currently teaches creative writing at Mercer University and in the Master of Fine Arts program at Georgia College and State University.

Mitcham’s poetry has been published in a variety of literary journals, including “Harper’s,” “Georgia Review,” “Chattahoochee Review,” “Gettysburg Review,” “Poetry,” “Southern Poetry Review,” and “Southern Review.” For his first poetry collection, “Somewhere in Ecclesiastes” (1991), Mitcham received the Devins Award and was named Georgia Author of the Year. Noted in “Library Journal” in December 1991, Barbara Hoffer said of the collection, “Mitcham writes ruminative poems that gather power slowly like an oncoming storm, then stab you through the heart with a particularly telling image…. There are no histrionics here, no effort to shock or amuse or seduce; just beautifully realized poetry that uses language as it should be used.”

Following his poetry collection, he then turned to fiction with his debut novel “The Sweet Everlasting,” which was awarded the Townsend Prize for Fiction (Georgia’s oldest and most prestigious literary award) and also garnered Mitcham his second Georgia Author of the Year award. “The Sweet Everlasting” has been compared to the work of William Kennedy and Cormac McCarthy. Mitcham then returned to poetry with his published collection, “This April Day,” published in 2003.

His second novel, “Sabbath Creek,” (2004) also won the Townsend Prize and earned Mitcham the distinction of being the only writer thus far to twice receive the award. Patrick Sullivan in the March 2004 issue of “Library Journal” described the work as “Mitcham’s masterfully drawn, emotionally rich gem of a second novel…. [It is] a powerfully realized, deeply satisfying novel.”

In 2007, Mitcham published his latest poetry collection, “A Little Salvation: Poems Old and New,” which is composed of 40 new works as well as previously published poems.

Mitcham resides with his wife, Jean, in Macon, Ga.

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