Bring me your happy thoughts,
Bring me the fun times.
So that I may wrap them in cool feelings
and be in peace from the world. -PT Sugar Loaf Elementary School
Today is the last day that my friend Debbie McGill will serve as Literary Director on the NC Art Council's staff. I need all the happy thoughts I can muster. I will miss her, and the state will, too. Our literary community owes a great deal to her hard work and belief in the power of literature. Here is Council Director Mary Regan's "Recollection". (http://www.ncarts.org/email/NovDec08/)
For the past 20 years Debbie has been a leader and friend to writers and writing in North Carolina during her impressive tenure. When a wonderful staff person leaves for a new job I feel both happiness for her new opportunity and real sadness at losing an employee who contributed so much to her field and cared so much for her constituents.
Debbie was widely recognized as one of the leading literature directors at any state arts agency in the country. She extended the reach of the Arts Council's grant programs for individual artists to include not only writers of fiction, poetry, and plays but also writers of literary nonfiction, literary translation, original work in languages other than English, and work intended for children, as well as spoken-word artists and screenwriters. With the appointments first of Fred Chappell and later Kathryn Stripling Byer to the post of North Carolina Poet Laureate, she developed programs that have enhanced the capacity of the poet laureate to serve the people of the state directly and actively. Both as an ally and a grantmaker she encouraged organizers in their efforts to be ambitious and creative in the ways they use literature to improve quality of life in their communities.
Debbie will become the Senior Editor at Family Health International (FHI), based in Research Triangle Park. FHI is a nonprofit organization active in public health projects in 70 countries. Debbie will manage the editing and production of FHI's publications.
Debbie's last day at the Arts Council is November 21. We will miss her enthusiasm, energy, intelligence, and wit, which have created so much good will for the Arts Council in the writing community. We wish her all the best in her new job.
----Mary Regan, NC Arts Council
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