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Literary elite gather in Greenville for N.C. Book Awards

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Charles Ewen of Greenville speaks during the North Carolina Book Awards at the Greenville Convention Center last week. The ECU professor was among those received the C.C. Crittenden Memorial Award for contributions to history.

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Sunday, November 4, 2018

North Carolina’s long literary tradition lives on and was celebrated with presentation of the North Carolina Book Awards at the Greenville Convention Center last week. ECU’s Charles Ewen was among those honored.

The awards, held on Oct. 26, are presented annually by the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association and honor the year’s best achievements in the categories of fiction, nonfiction, young people’s literature and poetry.

Receiving the Old North State Award for Nonfiction was Jerry Gershenhorn of Durham for “Louis Austin and the ‘Carolina Times.’” The title details Austin’s work as publisher of the “Carolina Times” weekly, and his championing the struggle for civil rights and African American equality. Gershenhorn is a history professor at N.C. Central University.

The Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Fiction recipient was Wiley Cash of Wilmington, for “The Last Ballad,” the tale of textile worker Ella Mae Wiggins, tensions around union organizing in Gastonia in 1929, and the tragic end for a single mother seeking a better life. Cash teaches at UNC-Asheville.

Heather Ross Miller of Badin received the Roanoke-Chowan Award for Poetry for “Women Disturbing the Peace,” in which she examines women who disturb the peace and seek their rightful place in the world. Miller is retired from teaching creative writing and literature at several universities.

Carole Boston Weatherford of High Point received the American Association of University Women Award for Young People’s Literature for “Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library.” The title examines Afro-Puerto Rican Arturo Schomburg’s efforts to share the history of Africa’s sons and daughters. He donated his collection to the New York Public Library, which formed the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Weatherford teaches writing at Fayetteville State University.

The Parker Memorial Award for Literary Achievement went to Jaki Shelton Green of Mebane, who was named Poet Laureate of North Carolina this summer and will be formally installed Dec. 10. Her work explores issues of race, class and gender, as she builds bridges across communities. She also leads classes as a community arts advocate and teaches poetry at the Duke Center for Documentary Studies.

The R.D.W. Connor Award for the best article in the North Carolina Historical Review goes to Jelani Favors of Morrow, Ga., for “Race Women: New Negro Politics and the Flowering of Radicalism at Bennett College, 1900-1945.” Favors is assistant professor of history at Clayton State University.

Archaeologist Charles Ewen of Greenville received the C.C. Crittenden Memorial Award for contributions to history for his commitment to extending knowledge about North Carolina through examination of what can be found underfoot. He and his students at East Carolina University have plumbed the depths at several state historic sites.

The Hardee-Rives Dramatic Arts Award went to Eddie Swimmer of Cherokee, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, for his accomplishments as a dancer, speaker and storyteller in the Cherokee tradition.

Brian Wood of Davidson College received the Hugh T. Lefler Award for best college student paper, for “‘Social Issues Do Not Take Care of Themselves’: Black Physicians and the Fight to Desegregate Medicine in North Carolina, 1945-1976.”

Student awards were presented during the afternoon program. The Student Publication Awards, High School Division, recipients were: “Portraits in Ink,” Durham School of the Arts, first place; “Prenumbra,” Carolina Day School, Asheville, second place; “Stone Soup,” Enloe High School, Raleigh, third place.

Middle School award recipients were “Illusions,” Martin Middle School, Raleigh, first place; “Yearbook Fusion,” Smithfield Middle School, second place; P@wPrintz,” Randleman Middle School, third place.

For additional information on the North Carolina Book Awards, please call (919) 814-6624. The N.C. Literary and Historical Association seeks to stimulate the production of literature and to collect and preserve historical material in North Carolina. The Office of Archives and History is within the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources and administers the program.

The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NCDNCR) is the state agency with a vision to be the leader in using the state's natural and cultural resources to build the social, cultural, educational and economic future of North Carolina. NCDNCR's mission is to improve the quality of life in our state by creating opportunities to experience excellence in the arts, history, libraries and nature in North Carolina by stimulating learning, inspiring creativity, preserving the state's history, conserving the state's natural heritage, encouraging recreation and cultural tourism, and promoting economic development.

NCDNCR includes 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, two science museums, three aquariums and Jennette's Pier, 39 state parks and recreation areas, the N.C. Zoo, the nation's first state-supported Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the State Archives, the N.C. Arts Council, State Preservation Office and the Office of State Archaeology, along with the Division of Land and Water Stewardship. For more information, please call (919) 807-7300 or visit www.ncdcr.gov .

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