Patrick E. Horn receives first John Ehle Prize
ECU News Services
Sunday, April 14, 2019
The North Carolina Literary Review editorial staff has awarded the first John Ehle Prize to Patrick E. Horn for his essay on 19th-century writers George Moses Horton and Caroline Lee Hentz. The essay will be published in the NCLR 2019 issue.
Award-winning novelist Terry Roberts explained his choice of Horn’s essay for the prize: “Not only does this essay shed light on two writers associated with North Carolina who deserve more attention … it also illuminates how Hentz championed Horton as a human being and supported his poetry. John Ehle was famous for helping others achieve their dreams, and so it’s all the more appropriate that the author has given us the story of how one writer aided and abetted another in this prize-winning essay named for Ehle.”
Roberts, an Ehle scholar, picked this essay under blind review of all qualifying content in this issue. For his essay, “The Literary Friendship of George Moses Horton and Caroline Lee Hentz,” Horn will receive $250 from Press 53 of Winston-Salem, which has published new editions of several of Ehle’s books.
The John Ehle Prize is an award created by NCLR Editor Margaret Bauer, Press 53 Editor and owner Kevin Watson, and Roberts in consultation with Ehle’s widow, Rosemary Harris, to honor Ehle’s contributions to North Carolina’s rich literary history.
The prize will be given in recognition of scholarship or interviews with forgotten or neglected North Carolina writers submitted to NCLR and accepted for publication. In years in which more than one essay is accepted for publication, an appropriate judge will be selected to consider all qualifying content under blind review.
Bauer explained the motivation for the award. “I had not heard of John Ehle before editing NCLR. Kevin Watson sent me a review copy of ‘The Land Breakers,’ one of Press 53’s new editions of Ehle’s books, and I found out what I was missing,” Bauer said. “I then determined that we would bring attention to Ehle’s work in NCLR’s pages, and Terry Roberts helped us do that with an essay on Ehle in our 2010 issue and another in 2012.” Since then, Bauer says, one of the missions of NCLR has been to reintroduce neglected writers.
George Moses Horton was an African American poet from Northampton County. Horton first made a name for himself by composing love poems for students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In 1829, Horton’s book, “The Hope of Liberty,” was published while he was still enslaved, making him the first African American to publish a book in the antebellum South.
Caroline Lee Hentz was born in Massachusetts but moved to Chapel Hill in 1826 after marrying French immigrant Nicholas Hentz. Hentz is best known for her novel “The Planter’s Northern Bride,” a pro-slavery rebuttal to Harriet Beecher Stowe’s abolitionist novel “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” Horton and Hentz met in Chapel Hill, and the two had a complicated relationship, according to Horn, given Hentz’s pro-slavery sentiments. Horn notes that “their literary stars would rise at different speeds, but his would eventually outshine hers.”
Horn is associate director of UNC’s Center for the Study of the American South. His scholarship has appeared in Studies in the Novel, Southern Cultures, the Journal of Southern History, and a/b: Auto/Biography Studies. Before receiving his doctorate in English and comparative literature from UNC, he served as an Air Force intelligence officer, completing tours in Iraq, Afghanistan, Turkey, Kuwait and East Africa.
To read Horn’s essay and other works to be published in NCLR 2019, subscribe to the North Carolina Literary Review (http://www.nclr.ecu.edu/subscriptions/). For more information on the John Ehle Prize and other submission guidelines visit http://www.nclr.ecu.edu/submissions/.