Gardner-Webb Professor Emerita Publishes Book of Poetry

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Former English Instructor Pens “Bequest,” a Collection of Childhood Stories

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. — Gardner-Webb Professor Emerita of English Dr. Joyce Brown has published a book of poetry to be released later this year. The former professor’s poems, part of a collection entitled “Bequest,” recall the childhood stories of her family.

Brown received several prior honors for her writing, including the 2003 Second Place Danny Plattner Award for non-fiction; the 1999 James Still Poetry Award in the Appalachian Writers Association poetry contest; and 2002 Honorable Mention in the Appalachian Writers’ Association James Still poetry contest.

Brown refers to the University as “home” and the place where she and her husband, Dr. Les Brown, grew in community together. “Gardner-Webb is much more than just papers and committees. It is friendships with faculty and staff and students of all sorts—all making each day different.  Gardner-Webb felt more like a way of life than a job,” Brown said.

Brown taught English at Gardner-Webb for 39 years before retiring in 2005. She now writes a column for The Star (Shelby, N.C.) in the “Boomers and Beyond” monthly section with her husband. Mr. Brown is a Gardner-Webb Professor Emeritus who taught biology for 40 years.

During her time as a professor, Brown taught student Ron Rash, now a best-selling American poet, short story writer and novelist. Rash provides his opinion of “Bequest” on its back cover. “‘I listen to voices long gone,’ Joyce Brown tells us in this stellar collection of poems.  She has heard those voices and her talent and empathy allow us to hear them as well. ‘Bequest’ is great-hearted and, at times, heartbreaking,” he writes.

The book is in pre-order from Finishing Line Press until June 19. Preorder copies of “Bequest” will be shipped on Aug. 14, 2015. For more information, or to preorder a copy, visit

Located in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb University provides exceptional educational opportunities within a Christian environment, preparing students to think critically, to succeed professionally, and to serve faithfully as members of their local and global communities.