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NEA BIG READ: About Our Lecturers

Biographical information about the lecturers for the CARSON at 100: THE McCULLERS CENTENNIAL is below. A complete list of events can be found at the NEA BIG READ Event Website.


Nick Norwood

Poet NICK NORWOOD is a professor of creative writing at Columbus State University and the director of the Carson McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians in Columbus, Georgia, and Nyack, New York. His poems have appeared widely in a number of national and international literary journals, online sites, and public broadcasts—The Paris Review, Southwest Review, Western Humanities Review, Southwestern American Literature, The Wallace Stevens Journal, Shenandoah, Southern Poetry Review, Pleiades, Ekphrasis, Poetry Daily, The New Ohio Review, Five Points, The Oxford American, The Greensboro Review, The South Carolina Review, New South, storySouth, Atlanta Review, This Land, the PBS NewsHour site Art Beat, U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser’s syndicated column American Life in Poetry, on NPR’s Writer’s Almanacwith Garrison Keillor, and many others.

Nick has earned wide recognition for his work, having been awarded an International Merit Award in Poetry from Atlanta Review, both a Tennessee Williams Scholarship and a Walter E. Dakin Fellowship from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, twice been a finalist for the Vassar Miller Prize, once each a semifinalist for the Verse Prize and the “Discovery”/The Nation Prize, and a finalist in both the Morton Marr Poetry Contest and the Texas Institute of Letters Helen C. Smith Memorial Award for Poetry. His first book, The Soft Blare, selected by Andrew Hudgins for the River City Poetry Series, was issued in 2003. His second book, A Palace for the Heart, winner of second prize in the Mellen Press Poetry Contest 2002, was published by that press in 2004. In 2007, he published a limited edition, fine press book, Wrestle, in collaboration with the artist and master printer Erika Adams. In 2016, he and Erika Adams produced a second book, Text. His third full volume of poems, Gravel and Hawk, won the Hollis Summers Prize in Poetry and was published by Ohio University Press in 2012.

Nick Norwood has also published a number of essays, reviews, book chapters, and critical studies of poetry, and in March 2016 his article on “Tone and the International Style” in the work of the Northern Irish poet and Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney appeared in the international Irish studies journal Estudios Irlandeses, published at the University of Barcelona. Nick has been the sole poet representing the United States at the Euroscience Open Forum’s session “Science Meets Poetry” on four separate occasions—in Munich in 2006, Turin in 2010, Copenhagen in 2014, and Manchester, UK, in 2016. An award-winning teacher, Nick served as the co-director of the EC-Ireland study abroad program from 2013-2015, as site director of CSU’s Spencer House in Oxford, England–where he was also a visiting fellow at Greyfriar’s Hall–in spring of 2008, and has taught in or directed study abroad and study away programs in Oxford, Swäbisch Gmünd, Germany, and New York City.


Virginia Causey

VIRGINIA CAUSEY received her Ph.D. in U.S. History from Emory University in 1983, specializing in the American South. Her main areas of research and publication are school segregation and desegregation and effective history teaching. Recent publications include “The Long and Winding Road: School Desegregation in Columbus, Georgia, 1963-1997” in the Georgia Historical Quarterly (Fall 2001), “The Constitution: Voting Rights” in Culturally Responsive Teaching (McGraw Hill: 2001), and “Strategies for Increasing Achievement in History” in More Strategies for Educating Everybody’s Children (Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development: 2001).

After 12 years-of-service to the institution as a full-time faculty member Dr. Causey, Professor of History, retired May 2012. With a brief hiatus, she returned fall semester as a part-time faculty, teaching 100% online US history survey courses via the Internet


Courtney George

COURTNEY GEORGE is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English at Columbus State University, where she teaches courses in American literature, Southern studies, and First Year Composition. Dr. George also served as director of the Carson McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians from 2011-2015. She obtained her Ph.D. from Louisiana State University, and she has published in the Southern Literary Journal, Television and New Media, the European Journal of American Culture, and Studies in American Culture. Dr. George’s early published work focuses on Southern women writers, while her most recent research focuses on portrayals of Hurricane Katrina in literature, film, television, and music.


Casey Kayser

CASEY KAYSER is a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Arkansas, where she teaches courses in literature and medical humanities. Her research specialties include narrative medicine; modern and contemporary American literature and drama; southern literature, drama, and culture; folklore; and gender studies. Her work has been published in Midwestern Folklore and she has essays forthcoming in Mississippi Quarterly and the Journal of Medical Humanities. She is the co-editor of Carson McCullers in the Twenty-First Century (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), and is currently working on a book on gender, race, and regional identity in the work of southern women playwrights. She is the outgoing President of the Carson McCullers Society, and will continue to serve on the Executive Committee.


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