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February 2021 News from the Appalachian Literary Scene

February 2021 News from the Appalachian Literary Scene

Carter Sickels has won the 2021 Southern Book Prize in fiction presented by the Southern Independent Bookseller’s Alliance for his 2020 novel, The Prettiest Star. Sickels is an assistant professor of English at Eastern Kentucky University. He was the recipient of the 2013 Lambda Literary Emerging Writer Award, and his first novel The Evening Hour, was a Lambda Literary Award Finalist and adapted into a feature film premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.

Barbara Kingsolver has been awarded the 2021 Thomas Robinson Prize for Southern Literature - formerly the Sidney Lanier Prize, but this year re-named in honor of the late son of a donor.  Last year's winner was Ron Rash, and the previous year it went to Fred Chappell. Lee Smith won this honor in its second year, 2013.

The City of Asheville’s Greenway Committee is considering naming the section of their greenway that adjoins the French Broad River for Wilma Dykeman (1925-2006) whose 1955 book, The French Broad, both celebrated the river and called attention to the need to deal with its pollution problems. The first official greenway master plan, released in 2009, suggested naming the city’s greenways after natural features, but Lucy Crown, the city’s greenway planner is reconsidering given the strong impact that Dykeman had on transforming the river.

The 2021 Wilma Dykeman Stokely Memorial Lecture will happen on Tuesday March 9th at 6:30 P. M. virtually and feature Frank X Walker and Wiley Cash in conversation. Free and open to the public. Access via

Latria Graham was chosen as one of the first to receive the Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s Steve Kemp Writer’s Residency. A year after her residence, she published “Out There, Nobody Can Hear You Scream” in Outside magazine. She recently learned that it has been named a finalist for the 2021 Phillip D. Reed Environmental Writing Award and will be a featured story in “Best American Travel Writing 2021” and “Best American Science and Nature Writing 2021.” Find the full article - no wonder it has been so well received - at: