The Visiting Writers’ Series has been an integral part of the cultural and intellectual life of North Carolina Wesleyan College since the 1960s. Each year, the College invites writers to read from their work and to meet with students.
Past visiting writers have included Nobel Prize winner Derek Walcott, North Carolina Poets Laureate Joseph Bathanti and Shelby Stephenson, as well as the recipients of the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction and the PEN/Hemingway Award, Reynolds Price and Justin Cronin, respectively. Other visitors to the program have had their work anthologized in Best American Short Stories and Essays, O. Henry Prize Stories, New Stories from the South, and The Pushcart Prize: The Best of the Small Presses, including Allan Gurganus, Karen Bender, Steve Almond, Wendy Brenner, Stuart Dybek and Charles Baxter.
The Visiting Writers’ Series often features writers from North Carolina and from the Black Mountain School and is supported by the Eleanor Hoyt Smith Memorial Reading Fund.
The family and friends of Eleanor Hoyt Smith wish to honor her memory by staging a memorial reading every other year as part of North Carolina Wesleyan’s Visiting Writers’ Series. Smith, the mother of Professor Emeritus Leverett T. Smith, Jr., the director of the Series between 1976 and 1992, spent the last seven years of her life as an informal member of the College community, interesting herself primarily in the College’s Pearsall Library and in the Visiting Writers’ Series.