Nick Hornby to speak at UNCSA in conversation with alumnus Peter Hedges, Oct. 4

The Thomas S. Kenan Institute for the Arts and School of Filmmaking at UNCSA welcome acclaimed author and screenwriter for free public event

The Thomas S. Kenan Institute for the Arts, in partnership with the School of Filmmaking at UNCSA, presents an evening of conversation with award-winning author and screenwriter Nick Hornby (“High Fidelity”) on Wednesday, Oct. 4. The free event will be moderated by UNCSA Drama alumnus and celebrated novelist, screenwriter and director Peter Hedges (“What’s Eating Gilbert Grape”), who co-wrote the Academy Award-nominated screenplay for the film adaptation of Hornby’s novel, “About a Boy.” The conversation will focus on Hornby’s newest title, “Dickens and Prince: A Particular Kind of Genius.” The first 150 attendees will receive a complimentary copy of the book, and local independent seller Bookmarks will host a book signing with Hornby directly following the event.

Nick Hornby / Photo: Parisa Taghizadeh

Nick Hornby / Photo: Parisa Taghizadeh

The event will be at 7 p.m. in Agnes de Mille Theatre on the UNCSA campus, 1533 S. Main St. Tickets are free with registration online or by calling the Box Office at 336-721-1945. 

While on campus, Hornby will meet with a group of students representing each of the five UNCSA conservatories ­­— Filmmaking, Music, Design & Production, Dance and Drama — to discuss the art of adaptation across disciplines and his extensive career as a novelist, screenwriter and lyricist.

“We are very grateful to the Kenan Institute for the Arts and their commitment to bring exciting, dynamic, influential artists to our UNCSA campus,” said Deborah LaVine, dean of the School of Filmmaking. “Nick Hornby's work frequently examines music, sport and the passion known as ‘fandom’ in both profane and poetic ways. He's a fantastic guest to speak to the many artistic intersections at UNCSA. We appreciate what is sure to be an insightful dialogue with Peter Hedges.”

Drama alumnus Peter Hedges

Peter Hedges

Hornby’s latest nonfiction novel focuses on the creative similarities between Victorian novelist Charles Dickens and singer-songwriter Prince.

Vogue magazine called the book “an ardent fan letter from Hornby that makes you want to reread ‘Great Expectations’ while listening to ‘Sign o’ the Times.’”

About Nick Hornby

Nick Hornby is an award-winning author and Oscar®-nominated screenwriter whose stories explore human connection with a catchy blend of snappily observed humor and unsentimental emotion. His books, which have sold over 5 million copies, include the bestselling novels “High Fidelity,” “About a Boy,” “How to Be Good,” “Juliet Naked” and “2020’s “Just Like You.” Hornby’s bestselling novels have also served as inspiration for filmmakers in movies known for their keenly observed, emotional honesty. Cult-classic “High Fidelity” was first adapted into a 2000 film directed by Stephen Frears, starring John Cusack and Jack Black, and in 2020 was re-imagined as a Hulu streaming series starring Zoe Kravitz. “About a Boy” was directed by the Weitz brothers, starring Hugh Grant, Rachel Weisz and Toni Collette. In 2010, Hornby co-founded the children’s writing charity The Ministry of Stories, originally located in East London and now expanding to other UK cities. Hornby was awarded the E.M. Forster Award by the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1999. He lives in London.

About Peter Hedges

Peter Hedges is a novelist, screenwriter and film director. His novel “What's Eating Gilbert Grape” was adapted into a critically acclaimed movie of the same title. In 2002, Hedges received an Academy Award nomination for best adapted screenplay for “About a Boy,” written by Hornby. Hedges wrote and directed “Pieces of April,” starring Katie Holmes, which he dedicated to his mother. In 2007, he co-wrote and directed “Dan in Real Life.” He wrote and directed “The Odd Life of Timothy Green,” with Jennifer Garner, a film released by Walt Disney Pictures. Hedges’ 2018 film “Ben is Back,” starring Lucas Hedges and Julia Roberts, had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.

About Thomas S. Kenan Institute for the Arts

The Thomas S. Kenan Institute for the Arts was established in 1993 to strengthen the arts by initiating and incubating new ideas within the various constituencies and settings of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA).  By leveraging the extraordinary talents and creative energies of students, faculty, staff, and alumni to bring distinction to UNCSA, the Kenan Institute acts as a springboard to the broader creative community. For more information visit

About Bookmarks

Bookmarks is a literary arts nonprofit, a bookstore and an annual festival combined in one organization. Their mission is to cultivate community by bringing people of all ages together with books and authors who educate, inspire, challenge and entertain. Their mission includes supporting community partners, increasing access to books and promoting literary arts in the community. To learn more about events and ways to get involved with the nonprofit, please visit


The University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) is a top-ranked arts conservatory and America’s first state-supported arts school. The nation’s only public university of five arts disciplines on one campus, UNCSA prepares emerging artists for careers in dance, design and production, drama, filmmaking, and music at the undergraduate through post-graduate levels, as well as through a specialized high school with free tuition for in-state residents. UNCSA provides industry-leading instruction in a safe and inclusive environment where students are encouraged to leverage the arts as a mechanism for change. Interdisciplinary opportunities arising from the unique arts ecosystem on campus at UNCSA prepare artists to enter an evolving global arts and entertainment industry. Established by the N.C. General Assembly in 1963, the School of the Arts opened in Winston-Salem (“The City of Arts and Innovation”) in 1965 and became part of the University of North Carolina System when it was formed in 1972. For more information, visit

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September 21, 2023