The Depression forced Daphne Athas and her family to move from her birthplace in Massachusetts to Chapel Hill. After receiving her B.A. from the University of North Carolina, Ms. Athas completed graduate work at the Harvard School of Education. In 1947 she published her first novel, Weather of the Heart. Ms. Athas' teaching of the blind later prompted her to write The Fourth World, about them. During the same time, while living in England, she completed Sit on the Earth, which won Second Prize in the London Observer Playwriting Contest. Since 1968, Ms. Athas has lectured in creative writing and literature at UNC in Chapel Hill but spent 1973-1974 in Teheran as Fulbright Professor of American Literature. Having traveled extensively in Europe and Asia, she will again live abroad this year on a $10,000 award from the National Endowment of the Arts.