Alumni News

John Claude Bemis (A.B.Ed. '95, M.Ed. '03) named Piedmont Laureate

Photo of John Claude Bemis

John Claude Bemis

John Claude Bemis, a children’s book author who lives in Hillsborough, has been named Piedmont Laureate, a position sponsored by Research Triangle area arts groups. He is the fifth Piedmont Laureate and the first children’s book author to be chosen for the honor.

Bemis, who taught elementary school for 13 years, is the author of the Clockwork Dark series for middle school readers. The first book in the triology, “The Nine Pound Hammer,” was nominated for the N.C. Children’s Book Award and was also recommended by the New York Public Library as “Best Children’s Book for Reading and Sharing.” His most recent book is “The Prince Who Fell From the Sky.”

As Piedmont Laureate, Bemis will receive an honorarium and appear during the year at workshops, readings and other public events.

Bemis was selected by The News & Observer of Raleigh as a “Tar Heel of the Week” in March 2012.

Bemis told the N&O: “Teaching elementary school kids made me think about how powerful books are for people that age. When you read a book at that age, it can feel life-changing. That made me excited to write for them.”

Bemis was a Teaching Fellow at Carolina. He taught for 13 years in schools in Chatham, Durham and Orange counties.

The Piedmont Laureate program is co-sponsored by the Alamance County Arts Council, City of Raleigh Arts Commission, Durham Arts Council, Orange County Arts Commission, and United Arts Council of Raleigh & Wake County.

More information:
Piedmont Laureate website:
John Claude Bemis’s website:
Daily Tar Heel story: