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News Briefs

For immediate use

May 8, 2006 -- No. 252

Photo note: To download
images, see end of release.


Wilson Library to offer
Treasure Tour on Friday

Student letters and diaries from the 19th century and a photograph of John F. Kennedy's visit to UNC in 1961 will be among the treasures showcased in a free public tour of Wilson Library Friday (May 12). The tour will begin in the library lobby at 3 p.m.

The 90-minute guided tour celebrates the history of the university, its alumni and its donors from the university's founding through the present. Items on the tour will include the photo album of Kemp Plummer Battle, UNC President from 1876-1891.

Visitors will be able to view an exhibition, up through June 30, about UNC founder William Richardson Davie in the library's North Carolina Collection Gallery. Also on display, through August, is the exhibition "Incunabula: The World of the Fifteenth Century." Items displayed include a leaf from the Gutenberg Bible.

For more information about the tour, call (919) 962-1143. For information about Wilson Library, visit


Professor wins international book award
for work on Islamic settlements in Palestine

Dr. Jodi Magness, a UNC religious studies professor, has won an international book award for her research on an early Islamic settlement in Palestine.

Magness, the Kenan Distinguished Professor for Teaching Excellence in Early Judaism in the College of Arts and Sciences, won a 2006 Irene Levi-Sala Book Prize in nonfiction for "The Archaeology of the Early Islamic Settlement in Palestine" (Eisenbrauns, 2003).

The prize, named for archaeologist Irene Levi-Sala, aims to encourage and reward high-quality publications on the archaeology of Israel. It will be presented Thursday (May 11) at Ben-Gurion University in Beer Shava, Israel.

Magness' previous book, "The Archaeology of Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls," (Eerdmans, 2002) was named an Outstanding Academic Book for 2003 by Choice Magazine and won the 2003 Biblical Archaeology Society's Award for Best Popular Book in Archaeology. She is a leading expert on the archaeology of ancient Palestine, including the site where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered.

Her research also focuses on Palestine in the Roman, Byzantine and early Islamic periods, including ancient pottery and synagogues and the Roman Army in the East. She has participated in 20 excavations in Israel and Greece. Since 2003, she has co-directed excavations in the Roman fort at Yotvata, Israel.

Magness is vice president of the board of trustees of the W.F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem and a member of the managing committee of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens.


Chitwood's new essays, fiction
include hairless tattooed dog

Topics of fiction in Michael Chitwood's new book range from a hairless tattooed dog to an ailing Pulitzer Prize-winning professor who is visited in the hospital by Jesus.

Essays in "Finishing Touches," issued May 1 by Tryon Publishing Co., range in topic from Chitwood's brother-in-law's pumpkin business to the death of bluegrass legend Bill Monroe.

Chitwood, of the UNC English department's creative writing faculty, previously wrote four volumes of poetry, three chapbooks (small books of writing) and a collection of essays. His poems have been featured on Garrison Keillor's "Writer's Almanac." His fiction and essays have appeared in many publications and been featured on local NPR station WUNC-FM.

Chitwood won one of the state's highest literary honors, the 2003 Roanoke-Chowan Award for Poetry, for "Gospel Road Going." He also is a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee and founder of the North Carolina Writers' Network's Randall Jarrell Poetry Prize. He has received the Zoe Kincaid Brockman Award, The Robert Ruark Foundation Award for Short Fiction, the North Carolina Writers' Network's Creative Nonfiction Award and a North Carolina Arts Council Writers Fellowship.


Shapiro's late friend is subject
of his award-winning writing

An essay and a poem by UNC's Alan Shapiro, William R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of English in UNC's College of Arts and Sciences, have been selected for the 2006 editions of two Best American anthologies.

His essay, "Why Write?" will appear in "Best American Essays 2006," and his poem, "Misjudged Flyball," in "Best American Poetry 2006." The anthologies, published by Houghton Mifflin, are due out this fall.

Both pieces appeared in the spring 2005 issue of The Cincinnati Review and will be included in upcoming books by Shapiro. The poem and the essay are about Shapiro's poet friend, Tim Dekin, who died in 2001 of a rare lung disorder.

Shapiro won the Roanoke-Chowan Award for Poetry, one of North Carolina's most prestigious book awards, in 2005 for "Tantalus in Love" and in 2002 for "Song and Dance."

He has written eight books of poetry, works of criticism and translation and two memoirs, of which "The Last Happy Occasion" was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. He has won a Kingsley-Tufts Award, a Los Angeles Times Book Prize and an Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature. Shapiro is working on a new poetry book to be published by Houghton Mifflin in 2008.

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Note: To download photos of items on the Treasure Tour Friday in Wilson Library, visit:
Leaf from Gutenberg Bible:

The Old Well in about 1892, from the photo album of Kemp Plummer Battle, UNC President from 1876-1891.

To download photos of faculty members, visit:


UNC Library contact: Judith Panitch, (919) 962-1301,
College of Arts and Sciences contact: Kim Weaver Spurr, (919) 962-4093,
News Services contact: L.J. Toler, (919) 962-8589