Author of book featuring WNCA’s history wins Thomas Wolfe Award

From the Western North Carolina Historical Association

BlueRidgeCommons300pxThe 2012 Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award will be presented to Kathryn Newfont, author of the book “Blue Ridge Commons: Environmental Activism and Forest History in Western North Carolina,” at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 3.

The presentation ceremony and program will be  in the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Site Visitor Center at 52 North Market St.

A reception will immediately follow the presentation and Dr. Newfont’s acceptance remarks. This prestigious prize for outstanding literary achievement is presented annually by the Western North Carolina Historical Association and Mrs. JoAnn Lipinsky Edwinn.

Kathy Newfont is an associate professor of history and the faculty chair for the Ramsey Center for Regional Studies at Mars Hill College. This non-fiction book, her first, was published by the University of Georgia Press in 2012.

“We were all impressed with the research that went into the creation of Dr. Newfont’s book,” said Richard Graham, Ph.D., a member of the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award Committee. “She utilized scholarly works, newspaper articles, letters, and interviews – every conceivable type of primary and secondary material in her research. Yet, the exceptional scholarship does not get in the way of her telling the complex story of the environmental activism and forest history.

“Blue Ridge Commons tells a story that is history, a mirror of our present condition, and a picture of patterns of conflict and agreement that will shape our future as a democracy.”

The Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award has been presented annually since 1955, when Wilma Dykeman’s “The French Broad” was recognized as the first recipient of the Award.

Previous award winners include Jim Wayne Miller’s Mountains Have Come Closer, Gail Godwin’s A Southern Family, Charles Frazier’s Cold Mountain, and Wayne Caldwell’s Requiem by Fire.

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