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Well-known Triangle writer Lee Smith, whose Guests on Earth was published last year, will be the featured speaker November 7 at the inaugural No Limits Gala, presented by the UNC Center for Excellence in Community Mental Health. Frank Stasio from North Carolina Public Radio will serve as emcee.

The gala is set for 6:30 – 9:00 p.m. at the George Watts Hill Alumni Center on the UNC Campus.

The evening begins with a reception, followed by dinner and Smith discussing her book Guests on Earth and the personal experiences that led her to write the book.

Additionally, four community mental health advocates, Gerry and Ann Akland of Knightdale and Barbara and Gove Elder of Durham, will be recognized for their contributions to mental health.

Proceeds from the gala will help support Center programs that serve individuals with severe mental illness.

“The Center is experiencing growth in many areas, including our core missions of providing community-based treatment and recovery services. The resources provided by our supporters allows us to continue to be innovative and provide a level of care to our patients that is difficult in these tight financial times for the University and for the Mental Health system in general,” says John H. Gilmore MD, director of the Center, Thad and Alice Eure professor, and vice chair of scientific affairs in the UNC Department of Psychiatry.

Smith is author of 16 books and a collection of short stories. She is a recipient of the Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the North Carolina Award for Literature, and a Southern Book Critics Circle Award.

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