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News and Notes

Clyde Edgerton Inducted into N.C. Literary Hall of Fame

Tuesday, January 31, 2017


Written by Kaity Bryant ’17

Clyde Edgerton, a distinguished professor of creative writing at UNCW, was inducted into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame on October 16, along with award-winning mystery novel writer Margaret Maron and three-time Pulitzer Prize winner Carl Sandburg. Working closely with libraries and schools, the Hall of Fame works closely with libraries and schools throughout the state to honor North Carolina writers with ongoing programs, services, and opportunities for children and adults. Being inducted into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame is an accomplishment that requires a national or international reputation with significant ties to the state of North Carolina. Notable past inductees include Maya Angelou, Thomas Wolfe, and Betty Adcock.

“It’s one of those honors which means a lot because of the other people who have been honored. If you recognize those names and if you’ve read those people, it feels good to be a part of it. A lot of credit should go to the North Carolina Writers Network and the Weymouth Center for the work they put in to recognizing and appreciating literature because the humanities and literature and art tend to get overlooked in a culture which is stressed out on buying and selling,” said Edgerton. “Our culture tells us not only what we need but what we should want and we bite the bait.”

“Clearly the arts help us understand who we are and where we are and allow us to speak freely about values,” said Edgerton. This concept is monumental for young minds, it’s the reason we pursue secondary education. It’s the reason we read and the reason we write. We want to be understood and, in that process, we understand our own selves and where we are and who we would like to be. Edgerton puts it best when he says, “I guess one reason I wanted to teach is similar to why one wants to write – you want to get the word out for what seems to be important to you.” As a professor, he feels like there are some shortcuts that he can help students with and save them some time. “Some people can show you tools and help you with some craft work that will get you there quicker. That seems to be all I can do but it is worthwhile to me,” he says.  

Edgerton teaches that embracing uncertainty, though it may be difficult, is often a better answer than quick and easy answers given to us by popular people. “Your values, what you think is important, your experiences that are different from anybody else’s – that’s the one thing you have that nobody else can ever own,” said Edgerton. He says, “It is your own experience and when your perspective uses that experience and when you trust your knowledge about yourself, what’s happened to you, how you feel about it and you in essence love that about yourself, you’re able to love and communicate with other people in a way that you couldn’t if you saw yourself as obliged to do something for someone else.” When you become important to yourself and have your own vision, you’re able to gain confidence and the business of being a writer becomes more interesting and exciting.