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United Arts Council

Piedmont Laureate

Piedmont Laureate Kelly Starling Lyons with her Children's Books

United Arts, the City of Raleigh Arts Commission, Durham Arts Council, and Orange County Arts Commission are pleased to announce the opening of the application process for the position of Piedmont Laureate for 2022. Each year the program is open to writers creating work in a particular selected genre (poetry, novels, plays, etc.), and for the 2022 cycle, applications will be accepted from writers of fiction. The selected candidate will focus on elevating fiction in Wake, Durham and Orange counties.

2022 Piedmont Laureate Application
Deadline: August 25, 2021 by midnight

Meet the 2021 Piedmont Laureate: Kelly Starling Lyons

Kelly Starling Lyons, a Raleigh-based children’s literature writer, has been selected as the region’s 2021 Piedmont Laureate. During 2021, Starling Lyons will appear at virtual programming, including workshops, reading programs and speaking engagements throughout Wake, Durham and Orange counties.

Kelly Starling Lyons has been a published children’s book author since 2004. Her 17 titles for children span easy readers, picture books, chapter books, fiction, nonfiction, and series. She has been creating inspiring books that center Black heroes, celebrate family, friendship and heritage and show all children the storyteller they hold inside. She is a founding member of The Brown Bookshelf, a collective of writers who promote awareness of the myriad Black voices writing for young readers. She has led numerous workshops at venues including Central Carolina Community College and Duke Continuing Education program, has participated in national, regional and local conference programs including ones for the American Association of School Librarians, North Carolina Library Association and National Council of Teachers of English and regularly does author visits to schools in Wake, Orange and Durham counties and around the country.

For more information about Kelly Starling Lyons and her new role as Piedmont Laureate, go to https://piedmontlaureate.org/2021-piedmont-laureate-kelly-starling-lyons/

Description of Piedmont Laureate Program

The Piedmont Laureate program is dedicated to building a literary bridge for residents to come together and celebrate the art of writing, enriching the lives of all our citizens. It is co-sponsored by the United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County, the City of Raleigh Arts Commission, the Durham Arts Council and the Orange County Arts Commission. The program’s primary goal is to “promote awareness and heighten appreciation for excellence in the literary arts in the Piedmont region.”

The Piedmont Laureate, appointed for one year and from a different literary genre each year, offers the following activities in Durham, Orange and Wake counties:

  • Readings at designated public sites (libraries, arts centers, schools, universities, and other community gathering places).
  • Encourages creative writing for all age groups by offering workshops or other types of outreach.
  • Promotes literature at select public events.
  • Brings attention to literature in less traditional settings.


PO Box 26388
Raleigh, NC 27611

Phone: (919) 839-1498
[email protected]