On November 11, The Western North Carolina Historical Association and the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Advisory Board presented the 2017 Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award Trophy and a check for $1500 to Julia Franks for her novel, Over the Plain Houses. Other finalists were
Family of Earth by Wilma Dykeman - posthumously published
Hazel Creek by Daniel Pierce
The Risen by Ron Rash
This award has been given since 1955 for the outstanding book of the year by a Western North Carolina resident or depicting the region. The first winner was The French Broad by Wilma Dykeman. Previous winners include Robert Morgan, John Paris, Gail Godwin, John Ehle, Charles Frazier, Robert Brunk, Michael McFee, Lee Smith, Ron Rash, and Wayne Caldwell.
Okra Picks are “a dozen fresh titles chosen each season that the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance members want to handsell. Here are the Appalachian titles among their Winter, 2017 picks:
A Murder for the Books by Victoria Gilbert, a novel set in the Virginia mountains
Heaven's Crooked Finger by Hank Early, a novel set in the Georgia mountains
Tales of a Cosmic Possum by Sheila Ingle, a novel set in the South Carolina mountains
The Last Ballad by Wiley Cash, a novel depicting in fiction the real life of Ella May Wiggins, a union activist
2017 releases nominated by the Kirkus Reviews Prize but not finalists
Fast Falls the Night by Julia Keller, a novel set in West Virginia
A Welcome Murder by Robin Yocum, a novel set in Steubenville, Ohio, across the Ohio river from W.V.
The Animators by Kayla Rae Whitaker follows E. Ky. characters to New York and back
Monsters in Appalachia by Sheryl Monks, a short story collection by an author from W. V. and N.C.
Named by Kirkus Reviews one of the best books of 2016:
Beyond the Monongah: An Appalachian Story by Judith Hoover
Wendy Welch has been awarded the New River Gorge Winter Writer’s Residency for 2018. As Writer-in-Residence Welch will live at Lafayette Flats, a luxury vacation rental in downtown Fayetteville, from January through March, and have three months to work on her writing there.