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09/19/2016

English Department Chair Gregg Hecimovich to Speak on N.C. Slave Narrative at Winthrop

Quick Facts

 The origins of Gregg Hecimovich’s book date back to 2001 when Henry Louis Gates Jr. of Harvard University purchased a 19th-century African-American manuscript at auction titled "The Bondwoman's Narrative."
 Hecimovich, who is chairman of Winthrop’s Department of English, identifies that first, black female novelist and tells her life story in his upcoming book, to be released next year.
 At once a detective story, a literary chase, and a cultural history, “The Life and Times of Hannah Crafts” discovers a Dickensian tale of love, friendship and betrayal against the backdrop of America’s slide into Civil War.

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Gregg Hecimovich
ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA – Winthrop University English Professor Gregg Hecimovich will speak at the Oct. 3 annual dinner meeting of the Friends of Dacus Library on his upcoming book, “The True Story of Hannah Crafts, America's First Black Female Novelist."

The 6 p.m. event is set for the Tuttle Dining Room in McBryde Hall.

The origins of Hecimovich’s book date back to 2001 when Henry Louis Gates Jr. of Harvard University purchased a 19th-century African-American manuscript at auction titled "The Bondwoman's Narrative." Gates authenticated it, and then published it in 2002 to great fanfare. The work became an instant New York Times bestseller. But while Gates identified the author’s probable master, he did not locate the author.

Hecimovich, who is chairman of Winthrop’s Department of English, took up the challenge. His book identifies that first, black female novelist and tells her life story. At once a detective story, a literary chase, and a cultural history, “The Life and Times of Hannah Crafts” discovers a Dickensian tale of love, friendship and betrayal against the backdrop of America’s slide into Civil War.

Hecimovich is the recipient of numerous teaching awards including the University of North Carolina Board of Governors Distinguished Professor for Teaching Award and the Max Ray Joyner Award for innovative teaching with technology. His research interests focus on the 19th-century novel, slave narratives, technology and the humanities, and literary theory.

The author of four previous books, Hecimovich contributed to a new edition of Hannah Crafts’ best-selling novel, “The Bondwoman’s Narrative,” by co-writing a new introduction with the work's editor, Henry Louis Gates Jr. In 2015-16, Hecimovich spent a year-in-residence as a Fellow at the National Humanities Center working on “The Life and Times of Hannah Crafts: The True Story of The Bondwoman’s Narrative,” which is slated for publication by Ecco/HarperCollins in 2018.

Hecimovich is one of the inaugural recipients of a Public Scholar Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities. In 2014-15, he served as a Shelia Biddle Ford Fellow at The Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard.

For more information about the Oct. 3 event, contact Ronnie W. Faulkner at faulknerr@winthrop.edu or by calling 803/323-2262 by Sept. 27. Tickets are $18.

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