Archived Reading Room

Zoro's Field wins state non-fiction prize

Author Thomas Rain Crowe has been selected to receive the 2005 Ragan Old North State Award for his naturalist-based work ZoroÕs Field.

The prize, presented annually since 1953, recognizes the yearÕs best volume of non-fiction by a North Carolina resident. Thirty books were nominated this year.

CroweÕs ZoroÕs Field: My Life in the Appalachian Woods tells the story of the four years of his life when, as a younger man, he lived in a cabin near Saluda without electricity, plumbing, or a regular income. His neighbor, Zoro Guice, an old man who had lived in the mountains all his life, acted as a teacher and guide to Crowe, giving him advice on everything from bee-keeping to plowing.

The best way to learn about life, nature, and these mountains is just to go out into the woods and set down in one spot and let the nature and the teachings come to you, Guice told Crowe. For four years, Crowe followed that advice, with the end result being ZoroÕs Field.

ZoroÕs Field was serialized in The Smoky Mountain News prior to its book-form publication by the University of Georgia Press. Crowe will accept his award at the joint annual meeting of the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association and the Federation of North Carolina Historical Societies on Nov. 18.

For more information about the award and its predecessor, the Mayflower Cup, visit

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