Writers' Nook

Speakers: Fred Chappell

Fred Chappell

Fred Chappell
(April 23, 2002)

Richard J. Calhoun Reader

Fred Chappell was born in 1936 in Canton, North Carolina, a small town about twenty miles from Asheville. After graduating from high school, Chappell studied at Duke University, where he earned his bachelor's and master's degrees. He then embarked on a forty-year-long, award-winning teaching career at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, retiring in 2004. The author of more than two dozen books (including novels, poetry collections, and short-story anthologies), Chappell also served as North Carolina's Poet Laureate from 1997 to 2002.

Chappell's writing has earned him many awards during his long career, including the T. S. Eliot Prize, the Bollingen Prize in Poetry, the Sir Walter Raleigh Prize, and the Prix de Meilleur des Livres Etrangers of the Academie Francaise. He has also received grants from the Rockefeller Foundation and the National Institute of Arts and Letters. In 2005, he became the first native North Carolinian to receive the Thomas Wolfe Prize.

Some of Chappell's published works include his novels The Inkling, The Gaudy Place, Brighten the Corner Where You Are, I Am One of You Forever, and Look Back All the Green Valley; his short story collections Moments of Light, More Shapes than One, and Farewell, I'm Bound to Leave You; and his books of poetry Wind Mountain, The World between the Eyes, Family Gathering, and Backsass.

Fred Chappell was Clemson University's Richard J. Calhoun Reader in American Literature during spring semester 2002. Two of the poems he read on that occasion, on April 23rd—"Are the Scientists Keeping Close Tabs" and "Bringing in the Oaks"—subsequently appeared in The South Carolina Review 35.1 (Fall 2002).

The Inkling cover image

More Shapes Than One cover image