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Paul Reali on the Importance of Creativity

Given that May and June are the months when most graduation ceremonies take place, it seems to me that now is a good time to offer a bit of advice to young people who are about to leave school and launch their careers.  Such advice is often included in commencement addresses.  I’ve heard many such addresses over the years, but I have never heard a commencement speaker focus on the importance of creativity.  Since I think that young people should be encouraged to exercise their...

Celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month with Kathleen Burkinshaw

Since May is Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, now is an especially good time to celebrate Charlotte writer Kathleen Burkinshaw and her debut novel, The Last Cherry Blossom. I met Kathleen in October 2016 when she was one of the featured authors at the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Foundation’s EpicFest, a children’s literature festival that I helped organize.  At the time, The Last Cherry Blossom had just come out.  I had a chance to talk with...

Dina Massachi, L. Frank Baum, and The American Experience

I first met Dina Massachi in 2014 when she took a graduate course that I was teaching on children’s literature.  In my conversations with her, she mentioned her interest in conducting a research project related to L. Frank Baum’s Oz books, and I agreed to help her with this project.  Since then, Dina has established herself as a recognized authority on Baum and the Oz stories that he created.  

Dina’s scholarship on Baum recently came to the attention of the producers...

Bookmark the Town

National Library Week runs from April 4 through April 10, 2021, and the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library has timed the launching of its Bookmark the Town campaign to coincide with this special week for all lovers of libraries.  Like political campaigns, the Bookmark the Town campaign involves the planting of yard signs, but these specially designed signs provide space for everyone to recommend a favorite book.  These signs can be obtained by making a $15 gift to the Charlotte...

Delilah: The Story of Charlotte’s OWN Television Series

In my Storied Charlotte blog, I celebrate stories that have Charlotte connections.  I generally write about stories that are published in books, but this week’s blog post is about Delilah, the new television series that premiered last week on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network.  Filmed in Charlotte during the fall of 2020, Delilah makes extensive use of Charlotte locations.  Delilah is not the first television series to be filmed in Charlotte.  Several seasons of both...

New Fantasy Releases from Falstaff Books

Falstaff Books opened for business in 2016.  In the five years since then, it has become one of Charlotte’s most prolific publishers, releasing about forty new titles per year.  Falstaff publishes a wide variety of genre fiction, but it is especially well known as a publisher of fantasy stories.  For more information about Falstaff Books, please click on the following link:  http://falstaffbooks.com/about-us/

In the past month, Falstaff has released three new fantasy...

The Charlotte Film Society and The INDEPENDENT Picture House

The recent 93rd Academy Awards Ceremony underscored for me the importance of movies as a medium to tell stories, but it also caused me to reflect on the precarious position of the film industry at the present time.  Like so many other residents of Charlotte, I have not seen a film in a theater for over a year because of the current pandemic.  As a result, I had not seen any of the films nominated for “Best Picture.”  Because of plummeting ticket sales, the entire film industry...

Tanure Ojaide’s Narrow Escapes

Tanure Ojaide is a well-known Nigerian poet, but he is also the Frank Porter Graham Distinguished Professor of Africana Studies at UNC Charlotte.  I met Tanure shortly after he came to UNC Charlotte in 1990, but it was not until last year that our mutual interest in poetry intersected.  Shortly after the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, the editor of Exchange (a publication of UNC Charlotte’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences) decided to run an article about the...

Telling the Story of Bonnie Cone and Her Role in Founding UNC Charlotte

On the campus of UNC Charlotte, Bonnie E. Cone is a legendary figure because of her role as the founder of the university.  Her legendary status is reflected in the fact that several professorships are named after her, including the Bonnie E. Cone Professor in Civic Engagement.  I currently hold this position, and I consider it a great honor to have my name associated with hers.

The story of how Bonnie Cone came to establish the university is the focus of a newly published book...

Celebrating Women’s History Month with Mary Kratt

Given that March is Women’s History Month, now is a perfect time to celebrate Mary Kratt and her many publications that deal with the history of women from the Charlotte area.

Mary was born in West Virginia, but she moved to Mecklenburg County at the age of eleven when her journalist father took a position with The Charlotte Observer.  She grew up in a rural part of the county, but she took many trips to Charlotte, and the city intrigued her.  When she moved to Charlotte as a young...