Dr. Peter Grimes joined the faculty at UNC Pembroke in August of 2017 as Assistant Professor of English and the editor of Pembroke Magazine. Dr. Grimes completed his B.A. in Philosophy and Psychology at UNC-Chapel Hill, his M.F.A. in Creative Writing (fiction) at the University of Florida, and his Ph.D. in English and Comparative Literature at the University of Cincinnati. He grew up in Asheville, North Carolina taking walks in the country and exploring the woods, and he continues to enjoy finding solitude in nature. Many of his family members still live in Asheville, so he spends as much time with them as he can. Dr. Grimes also enjoys taking in other art forms—going to films, plays, art museums, musical performances, and he enjoys traveling to new cities, especially those not necessarily known to be tourist destinations.
“I majored in philosophy as an undergraduate because I loved identifying, questioning, and discussing the basic assumptions of human knowledge and belief. I added a double major in psychology because the development of human mind and character fascinates me. Indeed, a large part of what drives my fiction and nonfiction writing is a desire to understand both myself and others,” noted Grimes.
As an undergraduate, Dr. Grimes says that he was most inspired by his philosophy classes. “Being taken seriously for discussing the nature of reality with other teenagers engaged me on a deep level. My first philosophy professor, Dr. Geoffrey Sayre-McCord, had an energy and intellectual curiosity that rubbed off on many of his students in the lecture hall. His leather jacket, motorcycle, and abundant beard struck just the right chord,” stated Grimes.
Dr. Grimes describes his favorite thing about studying English and Creative Writing by explaining that “the study of English—and creative writing in particular—is the study of articulation. In English classes, we answer the question, How do we write what we believe or feel or think? Is the act of writing the creation of belief? I tend to think it is. That makes it central to my way of life.”
In his previous position at Dickinson State University in Dickinson, North Dakota, Dr. Grimes directed the Creative Writing Program. He taught “all genres, all students, and all levels” since Dickinson is a smaller institution of about 1,400 students. He also oversaw the creation and editing of the student literary magazine, Impressions.
At Dickinson, he was able to develop meaningful relationships with students, and he feels confident that he will continue this practice at UNC Pembroke. “So far, my classes have been great,” stated Dr. Grimes. He also added, “I want to share with students that the writing process—especially in creative writing—takes a while to learn and trust, but once you do so, writing becomes infinitely more rewarding. You top yourself, better yourself, over and over.”
He really prefers the size of UNC Pembroke, and he is excited about the opportunities here. He is grateful to all of the faculty and staff who have welcomed him and answered his “abundant questions” with patience.
“I’ve already begun a few friendships that have enriched my time here and started to make it feel like this is home,” said Grimes.
In his early days at UNC Pembroke, Dr. Grimes has been getting a handle on the operations and procedures needed to run Pembroke Magazine. He hopes to expand fundraising efforts and develop a student internship. He is scheduled to interview Shelby Stephenson, Poet Laureate of North Carolina and Professor Emeritus at UNC Pembroke, for the 50th Issue of the magazine.
Dr. Grimes lives in Fayetteville with his wife Nancy, his two dogs, Herman and Moshi, and Bailey, their cat.