Knowles selected as Piedmont Laureate

Mar. 04, 2014 @ 10:00 AM

Raleigh author, writing coach, arts advocate and organizer Carrie Knowles has been selected as the region's 2014 Piedmont Laureate. During 2014, Knowles will appear at workshops, reading programs and speaking engagements throughout  Durham, Orange, Alamance and Wake counties.

Knowles’ first appearance as Piedmont Laureate was to have been Friday evening during a reception at the United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County, but that event has been cancelled and will be rescheduled.

Knowles has been a freelance writer, arts advocate and organizer for 45 years. She has published dozens of short stories and three books: a memoir titled “The Last Childhood: A Family Story of Alzheimer’s” (Three Rivers Press, 2000) and two novels, “Lillian’s Garden” and “Ashoan’s Rug” (Roundfire Books, 2013).  

Her short stories have won numerous awards, including the Village Advocate Fiction Contest, the Blumenthal Writers & Readers Series, the North Carolina Writer’s Network Fiction Syndication and Glimmer Train’s Very Short Fiction Competition. She was named twice as a finalist in other Glimmer Train competitions, was a finalist in the Doris Betts Fiction Contest and received an honorable mention in the National Literary Awards.

Knowles founded the Free Range Studio in Raleigh, providing office space to a wide range of writers and other creative people as well as coaching writers and teaching classes. As an arts advocate, she has been a board member for the Symphony Orchestra Development Association, Carolina Wren Press, Raleigh Chamber Music Guild, Burning Coal Theatre Company and the American Forum. She served as a judge for the Raleigh Fine Arts Society’s Annual Fiction Contest for eight years and was the co-coordinator of the Reader’s Series at the Hardback Café in Chapel Hill with Paul Jones and Georgann Eubanks. She was founder and coordinator of the Boylan Heights ArtWalk from 1992-2007 and founder and director of the Cary Cross Currents Festival from 2008-2012.

As Piedmont Laureate, Knowles will receive an honorarium and serve until December 31. Her duties will include presenting public readings and workshops, participating at  public functions and creating at least one original activity to expand appreciation of short fiction.

A schedule of the Laureate’s 2014 activities will be posted in March on the Piedmont Laureate website at

The Piedmont Laureate program seeks to promote ways for residents to come together and celebrate the art of writing. Co-sponsored by the Alamance County Arts Council, the City of Raleigh Arts Commission, the Durham Arts Council, the Orange County Arts Commission and the United Arts Council of Raleigh & Wake County, the program’s mission is to “promote awareness and heighten appreciation for excellence in the literary arts throughout the Piedmont region.”

The program focuses on a different literary form each year – poetry in 2009, novels in 2010, creative non-fiction in 2011, drama and screenwriting in 2012, children’s literature in 2013 and short fiction in 2014. The literary form for 2015 will be speculative fiction.