Valerie Boyd, the Charlayne Hunter-Gault Distinguished Writer in Residence and an associate professor of journalism, received a Governor’s Award for the Arts and Humanities from Governor Nathan Deal and First Lady Sandra Deal.
“The First Lady and I are longtime supporters of the arts, humanities and expressions of creativity,” Deal said. “These awards recognize outstanding individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to Georgia’s economic, civic and cultural vitality. Our state’s creative industries provide some 200,000 jobs for Georgians and generate $62.5 billion in economic impact. I congratulate the individuals and institutions being honored today and am grateful for their contributions to communities throughout Georgia.”
Boyd’s nomination biography said that “her passion for story inspired emerging writers to find their voice and develop their craft,” and “she animates the writing life, rousing her students’ creativity and zeal for truth by her own example.”
Boyd was introduced at the ceremony by friend and former student Monica Pearson (MA ’14). Pearson spoke of Boyd as a “history maker in the state and around the world” through writing books including “Wrapped in Rainbows: The Life of Zora Neale Hurton,” and her upcoming book, “”Gathering Blossoms Under Fire,” a curation of the journals of Alice Walker.
When “Wrapped in Rainbows” was released, the Georgia Center for the Book included it in a list of “25 books that all Georgians should read.”
In addition to her writing, Boyd was celebrated for her contributions to educating future writers, including her role as co-director of the Master of Fine Arts Program in Narrative Media Writing.
Pearson said, “Valerie at her core is a…storyteller, who teaches how to fine-tune a phrase to make it memorable, mold a concept to make it understandable and prod a writer to the deeper research and interviews to see things through the eyes of those who are written about and those affected by what will be written.”
Pearson also cited a nomination letter written by Alice Walker to Governor Deal.
“Talking with her is akin to standing before a mirror,” Walker said in her nomination letter, “but, one that shows not only yourself, but all the surrounding possibilities as she dives straight for the heart of the image and view.”
Prior to teaching, Boyd spent nearly 20 years writing for the Atlanta Journal Constitution, including time as the arts editor.
In addition to Boyd, the following individuals and organizations were recognized with Arts and Humanities Awards: Karen Berman, William Eiland (director of the Georgia Museum of Art), Gilmer Arts and Heritage Association, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport Art Program, Virginia Hepner, Kenny Leon, The Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts, Pearl McHaney, National Infantry Museum Foundation, Janisse Ray and Lois Reitzes.
Detailed information about the recipients is available at www.gaarts.org.
Pictures of the event can be viewed on Grady College’s Flickr album.
A video of the presentation can be viewed here: