Nominations Now Open for 2022 Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award

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The Western North Carolina Historical Association (WNCHA) is now accepting nominations for the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award. Originated by the Louis Lipinsky family, the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award has been presented by WNCHA since 1955. The award comes with a $2,500 cash prize.

The deadline for submission of nominated works is July 31, 2022. Anyone with knowledge of an author who meets the qualification criteria may nominate the author for the award. To be considered, an entry must be a published work of fiction, nonfiction, drama or poetry and meet the following criteria:

  • It must be a first edition work; revised editions of published works will not be considered.
  • The publication date must be between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022.
  • The author must be a native of western North Carolina or a resident of western NC for at least 12 months prior to the closing date for the Award.
  • An author may also qualify if the work submitted has a focus on or setting in western NC.

Western North Carolina includes the Qualla Boundary and the following 23 counties: Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Buncombe, Burke, Caldwell, Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Swain, Transylvania, Watauga, Wilkes, and Yancey.


The Award Panel this year consists of: Catherine Frank, Chair, Director, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UNC Asheville; Daniel Clare, English Department, A.C. Reynolds High School; Dee James, retired Director of the First-Year Writing Program at UNC Asheville; Tom Muir, Historic Site Manager, Thomas Wolfe Memorial; Terry Roberts, PhD, Director, National Paideia Center; Jim Stokely, President, Wilma Dykeman Legacy.

Nomination letters must specify the following eligibility criteria:

  • date of publication
  • birthplace or residence of author
  • setting of work

Nominators should submit a cover letter along with three copies of the work by July 31, 2022 to:

WNC Historical Association
Wolfe Award Committee
283 Victoria Road
Asheville, NC  28801

An awards ceremony and reception, in honor of the finalists and 2022 Award recipient, will be held in early December 2022.

The Association presented the first Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award to Wilma Dykeman in 1955 for The French Broad. Other recipients of this prestigious Award include Robert Morgan, Gail Godwin, John Ehle, Robert Brunk, Michael McFee, Lee Smith, Ron Rash, Wayne Caldwell, and Charles Frazier. Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle was the recipient of the 2021 Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award for her novel: Even As We Breathe.

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