Piedmont Laureate: Scott Huler Chosen
Writer Scott Huler has been selected as the region’s 2011 Piedmont Laureate.
The Piedmont Laureate program is dedicated to building a literary bridge for residents to come together and celebrate the art of writing.
Co-sponsored by the Durham Arts Council, Alamance County Arts Council, City of Raleigh Arts Commission, Johnston County Arts Council, Orange County Arts Commission and United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County, the program’s mission is to “promote awareness and heighten appreciation for excellence in the literary arts throughout the Piedmont region.”
Piedmont Laureate appearances in Durham County are co-sponsored by the Durham County Library. The program focuses on a different literary form each year (poetry in 2009, the novel in 2010, and creative nonfiction for 2011).
“We were thrilled with the strength of the applications for the Piedmont Laureate position this year,” remarked Sherry DeVries, executive director of the Durham Arts Council. “The breadth of Scott’s work, both in subject matter and media, has already inspired us to consider new venues and occasions for his appearances in Durham.”
In author Bland Simpson’s letter of support for Huler’s laureate application, he wrote, “Scott Huler is well-known and respected in the journalistic and nonfiction writing profession and he is certainly well thought of and appreciated in our part of the world. I believe he is an excellent choice for the position of Piedmont Laureate.”
For being named the Piedmont Laureate, Huler will receive an honorarium of $7,000 and serve for one year. His duties will include presenting public readings and workshops, participating at select public functions and creating at least one original activity to expand appreciation of literature. A schedule of the 2011 activities will be posted in January on the sponsoring agency websites and on the Piedmont Laureate website www.piedmontlaureate.com.
Huler was born in 1959 in Cleveland and graduated from Washington University in 1981. He was made a member of Phi Beta Kappa because of the breadth of his studies, and that breadth has been a signature of his writing work. He has written on everything from the death penalty to bikini waxing and from NASCAR racing to the stealth bomber for such newspapers as The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Philadelphia Inquirer and the Los Angeles Times, and such magazines as Backpacker, Fortune and Child.
Huler’s award-winning radio work has been heard on “All Things Considered” and “Day to Day” on National Public Radio and on “Marketplace” and “Splendid Table” on American Public Media. He has been a staff writer for the Philadelphia Daily News and The News & Observer, and a staff reporter and producer for Nashville Public Radio. He was the founding and managing editor of the Nashville City Paper. He has taught at Berry College and UNC-Chapel Hill and has served as guest host on “The State of Things” on WUNC-FM.
Huler’s sixth book, “On the Grid: A Plot of Land, an Average Neighborhood, and the Systems that Make Our World Work,” came out in 2010, and his work has also been included in “Appalachian Adventure,” “The Appalachian Trail Reader, Speed: Stories of Survival from Behind the Wheel” and “Literary Trails of the Carolina Piedmont.”
Huler’s work has been translated into five languages. He lives in Raleigh with his wife, June Spence, also a writer, and their two sons.
“We live in what we call the Information Age, though nobody seems to know exactly what information is supposed to be,” Huler says. “Since telling stories is how we make sense of our world, I’m thrilled that through the Laureate program I’ll be spending 2011 sharing stories with Piedmont citizens. Maybe we can take a couple of steps toward making a little sense of our world and turning the Information Age into the Age of Meaning. How cool would that be?”
Applications for the Piedmont Laureate position were received from a five-county area. A selection committee made up of Amy Rogers, Novello Festival Press founder and publisher; Mark Simpson-Vos, senior editor, UNC Press; and John Valentine, co-owner, Regulator Book Shop, along with sponsoring agency representatives, reviewed all the applications and made recommendations. Banu Valladares, program director of literature and outreach at the North Carolina Arts Council, also participated as a panel observer.
For more information about the Piedmont Laureate program, visit the website www.piedmontlaureate.com; contact Margaret DeMott, director of artist services with the Durham Arts Council, at (919) 560-2720, email@example.com; or call any of other sponsor agencies of the program.
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