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Hoke County Poet Wins First Sally Buckner Emerging Writers’ Fellowship

CARY—Zachary Lunn, a poet and Army veteran who lives in Hoke County, has won the first Sally Buckner Emerging Writers’ Fellowship.

Lunn, originally from Las Vegas, served two tours in Iraq as a medic with the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment. After the Army, he graduated from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke and then earned his MFA in Creative Writing at North Carolina State University, where he was awarded an Academy of American Poets Prize. His writing appears or is forthcoming in Oxford AmericanCarveCONSEQUENCEPedestal Magazine, and other literary journals.

“Informed by my own experience as an Army medic twice deployed to combat operations, I write poems to reveal the burnt edges of life during and after our most recent war in Iraq—and to perhaps learn something of myself and make sense of my time in combat,” Lunn said. “During my fellowship year, I will create a writing group for combat veterans who live on or near Fort Bragg . . . to help them begin to tell their stories through poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction.”

To honor and encourage the lifelong generosity displayed by its namesake, the late poet, editor, and educator Sally Buckner, the Buckner Fellowship invites each recipient, during their award year, to help at least one other writer in whatever way the recipient sees fit.

“This is a competitive fellowship, with applications submitted from numerous talented North Carolina poets,” Buckner Fellowship coordinator June Guralnick said. “Zachary’s hard-hitting poems and his commitment to inspire veterans and others to write impressed the fellowship’s judges,” Ruth MooseJohn Amen, and Malaika Albrecht.

The annual $500 fellowship will support an emerging North Carolina writer, between the ages 21-35, whose work shows promise of excellence and commitment to a literary career. Each year, the fellowship will be awarded to a writer working primarily in a designated genre (poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, or drama), with the genres rotating on a four-year cycle. Fellowship recipients will use the award to allay costs associated with the business of writing: paper, printing, writing supplies, submission fees, research expenses, travel, conference registration fees, etc. In addition to the cash award, recipients receive a complimentary one-year membership in NCWN, as well as scholarship aid to attend the Network’s annual Fall Conference.

The North Carolina Writers’ Network connects, promotes, and serves writers of this state, providing education in the craft and business of writing, opportunities for recognition and critique of literary work, resources for writers at all stages of development, support for and advocacy of the literary heritage of North Carolina, and a community for those who write.

For more information about the Sally Buckner Emerging Writers’ Fellowship and NCWN, visit, or contact Charles Fiore, NCWN Communications Director, at