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N.C. Book Awards honor familiar authors

RALEIGH — The North Carolina Book Awards will be presented during the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association meeting at the Tryon Palace History Education Center Nov. 7 at 1 p.m. Awards will be presented at the 7 p.m. program, which requires registration.

The free afternoon program will feature Diane Chamberlain of Raleigh, author of a series of New York Times bestsellers. Her title, “Necessary Lies” is set in Beaufort and her newest title, “The Silent Sister” is set in New Bern. Student publication awards also will be presented in the afternoon.

The other afternoon speakers are Walt Wolfram, William C. Friday Distinguished Professor of English, N.C. State University; and Jeffrey Reasor, associate professor of English at N.C. State, both of Raleigh. They will discuss their recent book, “Talkin’ Tar Heel.” Wolfram is author of “Hoi Toide on the Outer Banks: The Story of the Ocracoke Brogue” and an award-winning linguist well versed in the dialects of North Carolina.

The evening speaker, Philip Gerard of Wilmington, is author of three novels and five nonfiction titles, including “The Patron Saint of Dreams” and “Down the Wild Cape Fear.” He is professor of creative writing at UNC-Wilmington.

The Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Fiction will be presented to Lee Smith of Hillsborough, for “Guests on Earth,” a tale that concerns Zelda Fitzgerald and her death in Highland Hospital in Asheville in 1948. Smith also received the Sir Walter Raleigh Award in 1983 and 1989.

The high stakes drama in the movement for school integration is played out in “Greater Than Equal: African American Struggles for Schools and Citizenship in North Carolina.” The title earns the Ragan Old North State Award for Nonfiction for Sarah Thuesen of Greensboro. She teaches history at Guilford College.

The Roanoke-Chowan Award for Poetry will be presented to Joseph Bathanti of Boone, for “Concertina,” a lyrical examination of his time as a VISTA volunteer working in prisons. The former North Carolina Poet Laureate teaches creative writing at Appalachian State University, and also received the award in 2010.

“Little Red Writing” is the story of a courageous pencil given a writing assignment by her teacher, and in search of a story. The tale earns the American Association of University Women Award for Juvenile Literature for Joan Holub of Raleigh, who has written or illustrated more than 130 children’s books.

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