From the North Carolina Humanities Council:
The North Carolina Humanities Council, a statewide nonprofit and affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, announces Nancy Dew Taylor as the recipient of its 2011 Linda Flowers Literary Award. Her entry “Mill Creek Suite” is a sequence of poems about a young married couple living on a farm near Old Fort, NC, in the early part of the 20th century. It was among more than 130 entries of original poetry, prose, and nonfiction submitted by writers across the country to the Humanities Council.
“Mill Creek Suite” will appear in the winter-spring 2012 issue of North Carolina Conversations, the free biannual magazine of the North Carolina Humanities Council. Taylor receives a cash prize and support toward a week-long writer’s residency at Weymouth Center for the Arts and Humanities in Southern Pines.
Of “Mill Creek Suite,” Taylor says, “The lives depicted in the poems are like those of the people I came to know during the summers my family spent east of Asheville: strong, resilient, self-reliant, loving.” The inspiration for the poetry cycle came when a friend of Taylor’s told her a story of a man’s weekly trips on foot from Old Fort to Ridgecrest to check on his widowed mother. She says, “The trip seemed epic to me.” She later learned that the story was inaccurate, but by that time, the two central characters had “taken on lives of their own. I did what Faulkner said lucky writers get to do: follow the characters around and take notes.”
Born in Lake City, SC, Taylor is a graduate of Furman University, with an M.A. from UNC at Chapel Hill and a Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina. She has taught English in the public schools of North and South Carolina and at Randolph-Macon Woman’s College, the University of Puerto Rico, the University of South Carolina, and Lander University and for almost fourteen years taught the medical humanities to residents and faculty at the Greenville (SC) Hospital System, where she was a medical editor.
Taylor’s chapbook of poems, Stepping on Air, was published by Emrys Press in 2008. Her short stories have been published in The South Carolina Review and Sargasso, a Caribbean journal. Her poems have appeared in Appalachian Journal, Kalliope, Scribble, The South Carolina Review, Timber Creek Review, Chebacco: The Magazine of the Mount Desert Island Historical Society, Tar River Poetry, and New England Watershed and in several anthologies, including Pinesong, Mountain Time, A Millennial Sampler of South Carolina Poetry, and Contemporary Appalachia, volume 3 of The Southern Poetry Anthology. She was a finalist in the 2006 Rita Dove Poetry Competition in Salem College’s Center for Women Writers’ International National Literary Awards and in 2008 was named honorable mention in the same competition. She lives in Greenville, SC.
This year’s distinguished Linda Flowers Literary Award selection committee included: David Ford, WFDD producer and host of Triad Arts Up Close; Scott Owens, poet and Instructor and Visiting Writer at Catawba Valley Community College; Steve Sumerford, assistant director at Greensboro Public Library; and independent historian, author, and attorney L. McKay Whatley.
Established in 2001, the Linda Flowers Literary Award celebrates outstanding writing that shows a deep connection to the people of North Carolina and illuminates in a vital way their distinctive stories and voices. The award is named for the author of Throwed Away: Failures of Progress in Eastern North Carolina. With the Linda Flowers Literary Award, the Council honors a humanist, professor, and former Council member who achieved the extraordinary despite extraordinary odds. The award recognizes those who care, as Flowers did, about writing truthfully and well and who believe, as she wrote, that the humanities are “equipment for living.”