Story, Photo and Video by Sandra Davidson | Illustrations by Daniel Wallace
Back in 1991, Daniel Wallace was struggling to catch a break. None of the novels he'd written during the previous eight years had been published, and his support network was openly questioning the merit of him continuing to pursue writing as a career.
"A number of people asked me, 'Why would you continue doing this if you really gave it all, and it wasn't working out?'" remembers Wallace. "I don't know why...but one of the things that kept me going were these incremental successes that I had...these things that happened that made me feel like something is happening. Maybe not the big thing is happening, but I'm publishing these stories in little magazines...good magazines, and they're picking my work out of all the work to publish."
One of those successes came that year, when the North Carolina Arts Council awarded Daniel Wallace an Artist Fellowship. Wallace shares what that fellowship meant to him here:
"When you receive a grant, it's not just for the work you've done, but it's for the work you're going to do. So they see promise," says Wallace. "I think that the grant that I received was a lifeline in a way."
Wallace has authored six novels and written and illustrated a children's book since receiving the North Carolina Arts Council Artist Fellowship. All have been published. His work has been published in dozens of languages, and his illustrations have appeared in national newspapers, magazines and books.
Today, he's the the J. Ross MacDonald Distinguished Professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he directs the Creative Writing Program, and his work as an illustrator has taken on a life of its own.
Catch Daniel Wallace at the The ArtsCenter in Carrboro on Thursday October 5 at 5:30 pm. He will share a reading at the State of the Arts of Orange County and North Carolina, an event hosted by the Orange County Arts Commission and the North Carolina Arts Council.