North Carolina Book Awards Will Honor Works on War, Race and the Sixties
RALEIGH – The conflicts resulting from actual combat, emotional growth, and spiritual turmoil are at the center of the books being recognized at the annual joint meeting of the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association and the Federation of Historical Societies on Friday, Nov. 18, in Raleigh. Keynote speaker Michael Parker, UNC-Greensboro, will discuss the making of his latest novel that is based on the life of Aaron Burr’s daughter, Theodosia.
Each year the awards salute the best adult and student North Carolina writers, and one recognizes achievement in dramatic arts. North Carolina native and Tony award-winning Broadway costume designer William Ivey Long is the 2011 recipient of the Hardee-Rives Award for Dramatic Arts. Other awards recognize contributions of community historical organizations.
A compelling tale of a Marine who serves as a community activist in Africa, “It Happened on the Way to War: A Marine’s Path to Peace,” receives the Ragan Old North State Award for Nonfiction. In it author Rye Barcott, of Chapel Hill, recounts how a summer as a college student in a slum in Nairobi, Kenya, led him to question the unimaginable poverty there. Joining a hardscrabble community organizer and a widowed nurse, he formed a non-governmental organization that helped improve the slum and foster the development of new leaders for Africa. Barcott continued leadership in the group after joining the Marines and serving as an intelligence officer in Iraq, Bosnia and the Horne of Africa, and found that the tools learned in Kenya made him more effective as a counterinsurgent and peacekeeper.
Anna Jean Mayhew, of Hillsborough, receives the Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Fiction for “The Dry Grass of August,” the tale of 13-year-old Jubie Watts, who leaves her Charlotte home for a family vacation in Florida in 1954. As mom, dad, four youngsters and the black maid Mary Luther travel further south, Jubie notices the anti-integration signs and increasing racial tensions. Memories of the maid’s cooking, cleaning and unconditional love collide with a family tragedy that forces Jubie to recognize the harsh realities of racism and the realization of the importance of standing up for one’s beliefs.
The Roanoke-Chowan Award for Poetry will be presented to Dorianne Laux of Raleigh for her collection, “The Book of Men.” In it the poet, who teaches at N.C. State University, reviews the 1960s as one who survived it and evaluates what did and did not change. The Vietnam War, Bob Dylan, the Beatles, Mick Jagger, Cher, Superman and other icons of the period are there, in something of a baby boomer’s guide to the time when they sought to change the world.
The American Association of University Women Award for Juvenile Literature goes to Gloria Houston of Boone for “Miss Dorothy and Her Bookmobile,” the tale of a librarian who dreamed of a fine brick building but had to start a bookmobile instead in her new rural North Carolina home.
Wake Forest University Professor Paul Escott receives the Christopher Crittenden Memorial Award for contributions to North Carolina history. UNC-Greensboro Professor Michael Parker is recipient of the R. Hunt Parker Memorial Award for literary achievement.
The Hugh Lefler Award for best undergraduate history paper will be presented to Walker Elliot, formerly of UNC-Chapel Hill, now at the University of Michigan. The R.D.W. Connor Award goes to Charles W. McKinney, Rhodes College in Memphis, Tenn., for an article in the January 2011 “North Carolina Historical Review.”
The N.C. Museum of History is recipient of two awards from the American Association of State and Local History (AASLH) for its exhibit “Behind the Veneer: Thomas Day, Master Cabinetmaker.” The exhibit provides an intricate look at social history, craftsmanship and industrialization and is recipient of the Award of Merit. Additionally, the “Behind the Veneer” exhibit is the recipient of AASLH’s WOW Award, one of only three recipients in the nation this year; the award is for projects that are highly inspirational, demonstrate exceptional scholarship, or are exceptionally entrepreneurial or unusual in project design or inclusiveness.
The Albert Ray Newsome Awards recognize outstanding achievements in preserving local history. The Preservation Society of Chapel Hill is recipient of this award for helping to preserve the historically significant1869 Strayhorn House in Carrboro. The Mount Airy Museum of Regional History is recipient of the award for its assistance to the Jesse Franklin Chapter of the Tar Heel Junior Historians in researching a producing a documentary, “Stone to Story,” about Mount Airy’s early citizens.
Student Publications Awards in the High School Division will be presented to Pegasus, Myers Park High School, Charlotte, first place; Roars and Whispers, Providence Senior High School, Charlotte, second place; and Spectrum, Arendell Parrot Academy, Kinston, third place.
The Middle School Division winner is Illusions, first place, Martin Middle School, Raleigh.
Registration is $55 for the entire conference, which includes a Friday reception at 5 p.m. and dinner at 6 p.m. Registration by mail is due by Nov. 9. Call (919) 807-7280 for information.
The Office of Archives and History within the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources administers the program.
About the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources
The N.C. Department of Cultural Resources annually serves more than 19 million people through its 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, the nation’s first state-supported Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the N.C. Arts Council, and the State Archives. Cultural Resources champions North Carolina’s creative industry, which employs nearly 300,000 North Carolinians and contributes more than $41 billion to the state’s economy. To learn more, visit www.ncculture.com.