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WNC Historical Association selects Brent Martin as winner of literary award

WNC Historical Association selects Brent Martin as winner of literary award

The Western North Carolina Historical has selected author Brent Martin’s “George Masa’s Wild Vision: A Japanese Immigrant Imagines Western North Carolina” for the 2022 Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award.

Originated by the Louis Lipinsky family, the Award has been presented annually by the Western North Carolina Historical Association since 1955 for printed works that focus special attention on Western North Carolina. In order to more broadly support the writers of Western North Carolina, a Dec. 13 award ceremony will celebrate all five finalists.

Of the work, literary award committee chair Catherine Frank said, “In ‘George Masa’s Wild Vision: A Japanese Immigrant Imagines Western North Carolina’ Brent Martin brings together Masa’s arresting images and his own reflections on walking in Masa’s footsteps to tell one of our region’s important stories in an innovative way. Masa played a pivotal role in the creation of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and the Appalachian Trail through photographs that allowed viewers to experience places they would never visit. Martin creates a portrait of a man and a region we now know a little better.”

A prize of $2,500 accompanies the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award and will be presented to Brent Martin at 5 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 13 during an in-person event at UNC-Asheville’s Reuter Center that will include readings by the finalists. The event will also be live streamed via Zoom for those who cannot attend in person. Registration is available for this free event at wnchistory.org . Light refreshments will be served. 

The WNC Historical Association presented the first Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award to Wilma Dykeman in 1955 for “The French Broad.” Last year’s winner was Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle for her novel, “Even As We Breathe.” Other authors who have received the award include Charles Frazier, Robert Morgan, John Parris, Gail Godwin, John Ehle, Robert Brunk, Michael McFee, Lee Smith, Ron Rash, Wiley Cash, Wayne Caldwell, Fiona Ritchie, and Doug Orr.  

The Award Panel this year consists of: Catherine Frank, Chair, Director, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UNC Asheville; James Bradley, Secretary of Education for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians; Wayne Caldwell, author and former Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award winner; Dee James, professor emeritus, UNC-Asheville; Leslee Johnson, English department, UNC-Asheville; Jasmin Morrell, writer and co-editor of The Porch magazine; Tom Muir, Historic Site Manager, Thomas Wolfe Memorial;  Terry Roberts, Director, National Paideia Center and former Thomas Wolfe Literary Award winner; Jim Stokely, President, Wilma Dykeman Legacy. 

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