An awards ceremony and reception to announce the 2018 recipient of the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award will be held Saturday, November 17, from 4–6 p.m. in the Renaissance Asheville Hotel. The prestigious award, honoring North Carolina writers of fiction, nonfiction and poetry focusing on Western North Carolina, was originated by the Louis Lipinsky family and is supported by the Western North Carolina Historical Association.
This year’s six finalists, chosen out of 18 nominations, are Heather Bell Adams (Maranatha Road), Andrew Denson (Monuments to Absence: Cherokee Removal and the Contest Over Southern Memory), Alexandra Duncan (Blight), Charles Frazier (Varina), Denise Kiernan (The Last Castle) and Phillip Lewis (The Barrowfields).
“As a former winner, I can tell you that winning this award is a distinct honor because of who it’s named for,” says Terry Roberts, the 2016 winner for his novel That Bright Land and a member of this year’s award panel. “Thomas Wolfe is our region’s greatest writer. He has influenced us all in one way or another. Furthermore, all you have to do is read the list of winners—starting with Wilma Dykeman and John Ehle—to realize that this is exalted company.” Nominations each year include a wide range of books that are read by teams of judges who narrow the list down to groups of semi-finalists and then finalists. “At that point, the selection process becomes quite hard, simply because of the quality of work that is produced here every year,” Roberts says. “To be a finalist is an honor and to win, a true distinction.”
Reservations and prepayment are required to attend the ceremony. Tickets are $10 for active WNCHA members and $20 for nonmembers. All proceeds benefit WNCHA and help maintain the award. To register, call 828.253.9231 from Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., or email a phone number where you may be reached to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Renaissance Asheville Hotel is located at 31 Woodfi n Street in downtown Asheville.