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Prestigious NC Book Awards Announces New Partnership

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Former NC Poet Laureate Kathryn Stripling Byer at a NC Literary and Historical Association Awards banquet



The North Carolina Literary Review is now the administrative partner for the prestigious North Carolina Book Awards: the Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Fiction, the Roanoke-Chowan Award for Poetry, the Ragan Old North State Award for Nonfiction, and the American Association of University Women of North Carolina Young People’s Literature Award. These annual awards of the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association and partners recognize significant books by North Carolina writers published within the prior twelve-month period.

Since 1905, book awards have honored hundreds of North Carolina authors, many of whom have also garnered national acclaim in their genres. Several of our state poets laureate – Joseph Bathanti, Kathryn Stripling Byer, Fred Chappell, and Shelby Stephenson among them – have earned the Roanoke-Chowan Award. Doris Betts, Charles Frazier, Allan Gurganus, Ron Rash, and Lee Smith – all listed in the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame – are but a handful of the recipients of the Raleigh Award. Clyde Edgerton has won for both fiction and nonfiction. The Award for Young People’s Literature, presented by the North Carolina chapter of the AAUW, has been given to Literary Hall of Fame inductee Carole Boston Weatherford, among over fifty other recipients.

Since its founding in September 1900, the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association has pledged to stimulate the production of literature and to collect and preserve historical material in North Carolina. The book awards directly align with the Association’s objectives to foster interest in the state’s literature and history, encourage productive literary activity within the state, assist in bringing to public attention meritorious works by North Carolina writers, and promote broad and varied activity in the field of state and local history.

Dr. Jerry Gershenhorn, current North Carolina Literary and Historical Association President (and himself the 2018 recipient of the Ragan Award for his book, Louis Austin and the Carolina Times: A Life in the Long Black Freedom Struggle), remarked, “The North Carolina Literary and Historical Association, which awarded its first book prize in 1905, is pleased to partner with the North Carolina Literary Review to present the North Carolina book awards starting this year. The book awards honor outstanding work by North Carolina writers.”

As the state’s literary journal of record, NCLR has long been involved with the book awards, editors serving on the selection committee, presenting awards at the association’s annual meeting, and publicizing the winners. Past Association President and longtime NCLR Editor Margaret Bauer explained, “NCLR was co-founded by the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association, which has contributed to our budget since the beginning, and this is an opportunity for us to give back with this service. And, as we want to make certain we get all nominated books out to reviewers, it makes sense for NCLR to manage the book awards.” To review past winners and learn how to nominate eligible books, please visit the North Carolina Book Awards page on the NCLR website.

Produced since 1992 at East Carolina University and published by UNC Press, the award-winning North Carolina Literary Review has a mission to preserve and promote North Carolina’s rich literary culture. NCLR introduces new and emerging writers; reintroduces forgotten authors; showcases work in literary criticism, interviews, book reviews, fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry; and reports on literary news stories (like who wins these book awards). The writing is complemented by the work of North Carolina artists and photographers and NCLR‘s unique graphic design.