Meet Me at the Carolina Table: A Celebration of the Life of Randall Kenan, Southern Food, and Carolina Culture

Sun, May 19, 2024
Van Dyke Performance Space
Greensboro Cultural Center

The passing of beloved author Randall Kenan in September 2022 left a tear in the fabric of North Carolina’s literary community. “He had the most capacious mind and heart of anybody I’ve ever known,” said close friend and fellow author Daniel Wallace in a New York Times obituary.

The author of several works of fiction, including the short story collection If I Had Wings, which was long-listed for the National Book Award just three weeks after his death, Kenan became known for his blending of magic, mysticism, myth, and realism in his writing.

In addition to his own writing, Kenan also edited The Carolina Table: North Carolina Writers on Food, a collection of essays exploring our heritage through food-related stories. The Carolina Table was selected as this year’s One City, One Book read by the Greensboro Public Library.

For our closing festival event, in partnership with the Greensboro Public Library, we have invited The Carolina Table contributors, poet GABRIELLE CALVOCORESSI (Rocket Fantastic, Apocalyptic Swing), North Carolina Poet Laureate JAKI SHELTON GREEN (I Want to Undie You, Feeding the Light, singing a tree into dance), and DANIEL WALLACE (Big Fish, This Isn’t Going to End Well) along with MARIANNE GINGHER (Jabberbox Puppet Theater) to join in a celebration of the life and work of Randall Kenan, food, and Carolina culture.


GABRIELLE CALVOCORESSI is the author of The Last Time I Saw Amelia Earhart, Apocalyptic Swing and Rocket Fantastic. They are a highly acclaimed author and poet, with several awards and fellowships to her name. Calvocoressi's work has been published in various prestigious magazines and journals, showcasing their talent and unique perspective. Calvocoressi teaches at UNC Chapel Hill and lives in Old East Durham, NC, where joy, compassion, and social justice are at the center of their personal and poetic practice. Calvocoressi is the Beatrice Shepherd Blane Fellow at the Harvard-Radcliffe Institute for 2022 - 2023. LEARN MORE

JAKI SHELTON GREEN is the third woman and first African American to be appointed as the North Carolina Poet Laureate. She is a 2019 Academy of American Poet Laureate Fellow, 2014 NC Literary Hall of Fame Inductee, 2009 NC Piedmont Laureate appointment, 2003 recipient of the North Carolina Award for Literature. She serves as the poetry editor for WALTER Magazine and an appointment as the Poet Laureate in Residence at the North Carolina Museum of Art. She teaches Documentary Poetry at Duke University Center for Documentary Studies and is the 2021 Frank B. Hanes Writer in Residence at UNC Chapel Hill. She also runs SistaWRITE an organization that provides writing retreats for women writers around the country. LEARN MORE

DANIEL WALLACE is author of six novels, including Big Fish and Extraordinary Adventures, as well as a memoir, This Isn't Going to End Well. Big Fish was adapted and released as feature film in 2003. His novels have been translated into over three-dozen languages. In 2019 he won the Harper Lee Award. The award is given to a living, nationally recognized Alabama writer who has made a significant lifelong contribution to Alabama letters. He is currently the the J. Ross MacDonald Distinguished Professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, his alma mater. LEARN MORE

MARIANNE GINGHER is Professor Emerita from UNC Chapel Hill where she taught creative writing and literature for forty years. She is the author or editor of seven books , both fiction and nonfiction, and a puppeteer. LEARN MORE