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Fortner winner ‘doubly appreciative’

Laurinburg, N.C. – “I was just doing what I thought was right. I enjoy making things happen and seeing children, and adults, get turned on to reading. This is the one award for which I am doubly appreciative. It is all about making things happen for other people. This one is really special.”

This outpouring of appreciation from Dr. William Blackley was given as part of his acceptance of the 2011 Ethel N. Fortner Writer and Community Award at St. Andrews Feb. 17.

“Poetry changes people,” Blackley said. “I was lucky enough to fall into the North Carolina Poetry Society and that was the earth that helped me grow.”

For that growth, Blackley has been paying things forward. As a past president of the North Carolina Poetry Society, he co-founded the Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet Series and currently serves as the director. He has been a volunteer poetry teacher and involved with Great Books for Juniors. Blackley also served as a speaker on “Poetry in Medicine” at the Duke Medical School, Trent Center for Bioethics, Humanities and History of Medicine event.

In addition to sharing his love for poetry, Blackley’s own works have been published in numerous journals and twice been nominated for the Pushcart Prize.

Blackley shared a few of his poetic works before performing a song on his harmonica for the assemblage.

“This is a night to celebrate the creative process,” said Dr. Robert J. Hopkins, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the college. “Dr. Blackley is right, if students engage in reading and writing it can have a big impact on society.”

The Ethel N. Fortner Writer and Community Awards began in 1986 to honor Ethel N. Fortner, who was a friend to writers and frequent contributor to the St. Andrews Review. Fortner earned a Master of Arts degree from Columbia University in New York. After a career in teaching at the Oregon School of the Blind, she and her husband moved to Estacada, Ore. She committed herself to writing and became editor of Human Voice Quarterly. She believed that a full community embraced and encouraged the craft of writing.

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St. Andrews University
A branch of Webber International University
1700 Dogwood Mile
Laurinburg, NC 28352
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