2020 North Carolina Book Award recipients announced
The search for identity and recognition is a common theme among the 2020 North Carolina Book Award recipients who are being announced virtually. Video acceptance statements from recipients are available at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL0D3Ny2CaPzmpuuwyMiP8trn6iVTzB-9e.
The Ragan Old North State Award for Nonfiction goes to William “Sandy” Darity and A. Kirsten Mullen of Durham, for “From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the 21st Century.” The husband-wife team explores the economic and social impact of slavery, the mirage of equality during Reconstruction and the multiplier effect of ongoing institutional racism to imprison African Americans in poverty while building white wealth for generations. Darity is the Samuel DuBose Cook Distinguished Professor of Public Policy at Duke University. Mullen is an author, folklorist and museum consultant.
The Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Fiction goes to Katey Schultz of Celo, for “Still Come Home,” a tale of war in Afghanistan involving a young wife, her older husband and the Taliban, an American soldier, and how their lives intersect as each seeks to live their truth in circumstances often beyond their control. Schultz, author of “Flashes of War” among other titles, is an instructor of creative writing at Interlochen College of Creative Arts in Michigan.
The Roanoke-Chowan Award for Poetry goes to Dannye Romine Powell of Charlotte, for “In the Sunroom with Raymond Carver,” which has been described as “prayerful, shimmering with incandescence,” and offering “sometimes blinding moments of self-recognition.” In addition to being an award-winning poet, Powell has been a leader in North Carolina’s literary community, serving as book editor and columnist for the Charlotte Observer for decades.
The American Association of University Women Award for Young People’s Literature goes to Meg Cannistra of Charlotte, for “The Trouble with Shooting Stars,” as 12-year-old Luna explores the heavens. It also is an examination of Italian American life and the experiences of food, fireworks, acceptance and love. This is Cannistra’s debut novel.
The C.C. Crittenden Memorial Award for lifetime contributions to history goes to Elizabeth Buford of Raleigh, former director of the N.C. Museum of History, former deputy secretary of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, who has worked to preserve and protect North Carolina history for decades through historic preservation, exhibitions and special events. She is most proud of the successful transfer of National History Day from the N.C. Department of Public Instruction to the Office of Archives and History, ensuring that students would learn and protect the state’s history by “doing” history, creating exhibits, writing papers and producing performances. Buford spread her good works across the state by also being a longtime leader of the Federation of North Carolina Historical Societies.
The Hardee-Rives Dramatic Arts Award goes to Triad Stage of Greensboro, for nearly 20 years of consistently high theater service reaching thousands of theatergoers in the Triad with high quality, regionally authentic productions in Greensboro and Winston-Salem.
The Hugh T. Lefler Award for best college student paper goes to Scott Stegall of Monroe and Davidson College, for “Fiddle and Bow and Jim Crow: North Carolina Fiddlers’ Conventions, Confederate Memorialization, and the Culture of White Supremacy.” Graduating in 2020, Stegall, an old-time musician himself, used his time as a college student to explore the intersection between music and history in North Carolina.
The N.C. Literary and Historical Association and the Federation of N.C. Historical Societies continues in their commitment to stimulate the production of literature, to collect and preserve historical material in North Carolina, and to recognize excellence in both areas, even during this pandemic.
For additional information on the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association and the awards program, visit https://www.ncdcr.gov/about/history/lit-and-hist. The program is administered by the Office of Archives and History within the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.