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by Carly Schnitzler, Graduate Communications Editor

Bland Simpson, Kenan Distinguished Professor of English & Creative Writing, is this year’s recipient of the Edward Kidder Graham Faculty Service Award. Established in 2010 to recognize outstanding service by a UNC faculty member, the award nods to the University’s mission to “extend knowledge‐based service world‐wide.

A celebrated writer and musician, Simpson has taught in the Creative Writing Program at UNC-Chapel Hill since 1982. His nine books include Into the Sound Country, The Coasts of Carolina, Two Captains from Carolina, and Little Rivers & Waterway Tales, all primarily creative non-fiction about Eastern North Carolina.

Simpson is a member of the Tony Award-winning string band The Red Clay Ramblers and has toured extensively across the globe. His band has collaborated on many musicals, including King Mackerel & The Blues Are Running, Diamond Studs, Life on the Mississippi, and three-time Broadway hit Fool Moon.

Dr. Mary Floyd-Wilson, Bowman and Gordon Gray Distinguished Term Professor and Chair of the English and Comparative Literature Department, holds Simpson in the highest regard, saying, “An award winning writer, teacher, and musician, Bland Simpson exemplifies Edward Kidder Graham’s goal to extend the University’s service to the State and beyond. His books shed light on North Carolina’s culture and environment and his music connects people everywhere. To my mind, Bland is a true world citizen, which also makes him UNC’s most inspirational faculty ambassador.”

In addition to the Edward Kidder Graham Faculty Service Award, Simpson is the recipient of two Chapman Awards (1998, 2006) and one Tanner Award (2004) for Excellence in Teaching at UNC-Chapel Hill. He has also received the UNC General Alumni Association’s Faculty Service Award (2015), North Caroliniana Society Award (2010), John Tyler Caldwell Award for the Humanities from the NC Humanities Council (2017), and North Carolina Award for Fine Arts (2005), the state’s highest civilian honor.

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