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NC Literary Hall of Fame



Thomas Wolf (that's Wolf with no e) of Chapel Hill is the winner of the Doris Betts Fiction Prize for his story "Distance." North Carolina Literary Review editor Margaret Bauer remembers that when she saw the story come in, she thought, "With a name like that and living in North Carolina, I guess you have to be a writer." Wolf will receive a prize of $200 from the North Carolina Writers Network. Second place, $100, is awarded to Gregg Cusick for "Five is Red."

Read more: Doris Betts Prize Winner Chosen

2006 Inductees to the NC Literary Hall of Fame Announced 

The North Carolina Writers’ Network (NCWN) announces three Inductees for 2006 to The North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame, a biennial program begun in 1996. Past inductions have been held at the historic Weymouth Center for the Arts & Humanities, in Southern Pines, N.C., but this year the ceremony, free and open to the public, will be at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel in Durham on Friday, November 10, at 7:30 p.m.  Please join us for an evening’s entertainment all North Carolinians can enjoy! 

To be honored are poet Gerald Barrax, poet and prose writer Fred Chappell, and journalist and mystery writer Elizabeth Daniels Squire. The Induction opens NCWN’s annual Fall Conference that 400-plus writers from beginners to published professionals are expected to attend.  Acclaimed writers Kathryn Stripling Byer, North Carolina’s Poet Laureate; James Applewhite; Shelby Stephenson; Betty Adcock; Lenard Moore; and Margaret Maron will present. UNC-TV’s “Bookwatch” host, D.G. Martin, will emcee.

Poet, teacher, and literary editor Gerald William Barrax (1933-    ) earned his B.A. from Duquesne and M.A. from the U. of Pittsburgh. He was Professor of English and Writer-in-Residence at NCSU from 1970 until his retirement in 1997; editor of Obsidian II: Black Literature in Review; and poetry editor for Callaloo, the premier African Diaspora literary journal. A major influence on young writers, Barrax has been anthologized in more than three dozen works. His noted book Leaning Against the Sun: Poems (1992) was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. Among his other awards are the Raleigh Medal of Arts (1993) and the Sam Ragan Award for Contribution to the Fine Arts. 

Fred Davis Chappell (1936-    ), born in Canton, N.C., earned a B.A. in fiction writing and later an M.A. from Duke.  Upon graduation in 1964, he went to teach English at UNC-Greensboro, retiring in 2004 after a long and distinguished career.  Chappell is author of over forty books of poetry, fiction, and essays. He was Poet Laureate of North Carolina 1997-2002, and reviewed poetry for the Raleigh News & Observer, publishing his last column on June 25, 2006. One reviewer called him “truly a national treasure.”  Both humorist and visionary, with a gifted eye for details of character, Fred writes poetry and fiction that has earned the following accolades:  The North Carolina Award for Literature; Yale University Library’s Bollingen Prize in Poetry; France’s prestigious Prix de Meilleur des Livres Etrangers; and the T.S. Eliot Prize.  “Anybody who knows anything about Southern writing,” Lee Smith said in 2005, “knows that Fred Chappell is our resident genius, our shining light.” 

Elizabeth Daniels Squire (1926-2001), reporter, philanthropist, nationally syndicated columnist, and mystery writer, was born in Raleigh, N.C., to Jonathan Daniels and Elizabeth Bridgers Daniels. She graduated from Vassar College, then became a reporter for the New York Times. Squire published fiction and non-fiction on palmistry, mail-order shopping, journalism heroes, and crime detection. Liz told a reporter, “My life has been interesting every minute, which is why I constantly steal bits of it to weave in with my fiction—like a flood or an encounter with a rattlesnake.”  In 1994 she created the character of Peaches Dann, an absent-minded detective.  An Agatha Award winner, Liz was working on her ninth mystery at the time of her death.

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Final judge Sharyn McCrumb selected Billie Harper Buie of Asheville, NC as the winner of the 2007 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize of the N.C. Writers Network, for her short story, "Shining Rock Wilderness." McCrumb praised Buie's story highly, saying, "This was a moving story, well told, and without a pat happy ending. . . . This story read as if one were hearing a real housecleaner talk about her day, and it is the convincing voice of this character, coupled with the poignant vignette of an abused child, that made 'Shining Rock Wilderness' such a memorable work." Buie will receive a $1,000 prize from the Network, and her story will be considered for publication by The Thomas Wolfe Review.   In addition to Buie, McCrumb gave honorable mentions to Jason Mott of Bolton, NC, for his story, "The Dream that was Arcadia," and to Leslie McCray of Cartersville, GA, for her story, "Climbing the Sphinx." 

McCrumb, the highly acclaimed author of two NASCAR novels, Once Around the Track and St. Dale, is perhaps best known for her Appalachian "Ballad" novels set in the North Carolina/Tennessee mountains. Her novels include New York Times Best Sellers She Walks These Hills and The Rosewood Casket, which deal with the issue of the vanishing wilderness. Other novels include The Ballad of Frankie Silver and Ghost Riders, an account of the Civil War in the Appalachians. St. Dale won a 2006 Library of Virginia Literary Award as well as the AWA Book of the Year Award. Once Around the Track will be published this June. 

Billie Harper Buie, who lives in Asheville with her husband and three children, is a member of the Great Smokies Writing program at UNC-Asheville where she has been a member of its advanced prose workshop for six years. Buie has recently had a story published in CALYX journal. She is a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill and has an MA in landscape architecture from N.C. State. Jason Mott received his BFA from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, where his is also pursuing his MFA. McCrumb said of his story, "This story was like a day trip into a disordered mind. Creating a believable OCD character who is neither absurd nor extreme is a difficult task, and this writer managed it well." Of Leslie McCray, McCrumb wrote, ". . .this is the writer I voted 'Most Likely to Be Able To Quit Her Day Job Someday.' She writes likeable characters, and she tells a good story with a clear point to it."   McCray and her husband operate a community theatre in Cartersville, GA, where she is involved in local arts organizations. She has finished a collection of short stories, started another, and is polishing her first novel. 

The North Carolina Writers' Network serves writers at every stage of development through programs that offer ample opportunities for professional growth in skills and insight. The Network builds audiences for literature, advocates for the literary arts and for literacy, and provides information and support services. For further information or if you are interested in becoming a member please call (919) 967-9540.

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