The 2014 Thomas Wolfe Prize and Lecture, Oct. 21, 7:30pm, Genome Sciences Bldg, UNC: Chapel Hill

Dear Wolfeans,

On October 21, Sandra Cisneros, acclaimed author of The House on Mango Street, will receive the 2014 Thomas Wolfe Prize and deliver the annual Thomas Wolfe Lecure.

If you are in the area or have flexible travel plans, I encourage you to attend this important event. TWS Vice-President Mark Canada has been asked to give remarks on behalf of the TWS. Cisneros_SandrabyAlan-Goldfarb-300x270

2014 Thomas Wolfe Prize and Lecture: Sandra Cisneros

Tuesday, October 21

7:30 p.m.

Genome Sciences Building, UNC Chapel Hill

The lecture is free and open to the public. Visitor Parking Map.

Learn more about Sandra Cisneros. Learn more about the Thomas Wolfe Prize.

If you would like to contribute to the future of the Thomas Wolfe Lecture, please contact Susan H. Irons, Director of Special Programs & Senior Lecturer in the Department of English & Comparative Literature at UNC-CH.

With all best wishes,

George Hovis, President
Thomas Wolfe Society

 

 

Calling all Wolfean Poets! Seeking poems for 2015 TWS publication

The Thomas Wolfe Society seeks poems about Thomas Wolfe for an anthology to be published in late 2015.

Poems on any aspect of Wolfe’s life or writings are appropriate.

There is no entry fee; membership in the Thomas Wolfe Society is advantageous.

Payment will be two copies of the anthology.

Deadline is January 31, 2015. 

Submit to:
David Radavich, editor
daradavich@gmail.com

OR snail mail to:
6216 Glenridge Road
Charlotte, NC 28211

Wolfe in his time, Wolfe in our time

The 36th Annual Conference of the Thomas Wolfe Society

Chapel Hill, North Carolina
May 23-25, 2014

The-Old-Well-at-UNC-Chapel-HillSchedule of Events

FRIDAY, May 23
Unless otherwise indicated, all sessions and breaks will be held in Chancellor’s East at the Carolina Inn. Saturday evening’s cash bar and banquet will take place in the Chancellor’s Ballroom.

10:30 – 12:00    Registration

12:00 – 12:45     Welcome and Prologue
Welcome ~ George Hovis, President, Thomas Wolfe Society, SUNY-Oneonta

Prologue ~ Anne Zahlan, Eastern Illinois University

Special Introduction ~ “A Wannabe Writer in the Footsteps of Wolfe,” Edwin Yoder

1:00-2:15     Session I
Moderator: Joe Flora, UNC-Chapel Hill

car-inn“Ocean Crossing with Thomas Wolfe: The True Life of Imagination,” Igina Tattoni, Sapienza: Universita de Roma

“Wolfe’s Life Selected: A Case Study of Kenneth Raisbeck and Marjorie Fairbanks,” Nami Montgomery, UNC-Pembroke

“Aspects of Wolfe’s Time in the Paris House of Illusion Described in The Web and the Rock,” Amélie Moisy, Université Paris Est-Cretéil

2:15-2:45      Break

2:45-4:00      Session II
Moderator: Steve Rogers, Mount Rainier, Maryland

“Thomas Wolfe’s Cinematic Storytelling,” Sara Flores, Azusa Pacific University

“Look Homeward, Always,” Michael Houck, UNC-Pembroke

“Twisted from the Ordinary: American Literary Naturalism and Look Homeward, Angel,” Jon Dawson, University of Georgia

Dinner on your own

Bathanti_17:30-9:30      Special Event Location: Wilson Library

Poetry Reading by Joseph Bathanti

Introduction by David Madden

~Light reception following ~

 

SATURDAY, May 24th

8:00-8:30      Refreshments

8:30-10:00     Session III
Moderator: Mark Canada, UNC-Pembroke

“Thomas Wolfe, Transnationalism, and the (Really) Deep South,”  Jedediah Evans, University of Sydney

ccm1_032466“Thomas Wolfe’s Asheville,” Laura Hope-Gill, Thomas Wolfe Center for  Narrative, Lenoir-Rhyne University

“Decoding Wolfe’s Universe: A Modern Understanding of Space, Time, and Dimension in Look Homeward, Angel,” Kerrie Harney, Federal Bureau of Investigation

10:00-10:45      Business Meeting
TWS President George Hovis presiding

10:45-11:00     Break

11:00–12:00     Session IV
Moderator: Paula Eckard, UNC-Charlotte

“Thomas Wolfe’s Expressionism and The Party at Jack’s,”  David Radavich, Eastern Illinois University

“Out-Gatsbying Fitzgerald: Thomas Wolfe and The Party at Jack’s,”  Joseph Bentz, Azusa Pacific University

12:00-12:15      Closing
Final Words ~ George Hovis

Epilogue ~ Jan Hensley, Greensboro, North Carolina

1126_thomaswolfetnail12:15-2:15      Lunch on your own

2:15 -3:30      UNC Walking Tour, Meet in lobby of Carolina Inn, Led by Matt Karkutt, UNC: Chapel Hill

6:00-7:00     Cash Bar

7:00~9:00    Banquet

Awards Ceremony ~ George Hovis

Keynote Address ~ Bland Simpson, UNC-Chapel Hill

 

 

36th Annual TWS Conference: May 23-24, 2014

car-innOn May 23-24, 2014, Wolfe Society members will converge on UNC-Chapel Hill‘s “magical campus” at the Carolina Inn for our 36th annual conference.

This year’s conference theme is “Wolfe in His Time, Wolfe in Our Time.” Although proposals are welcome on any theme related to Thomas Wolfe and his work, we especially invite proposals for presentations that link Thomas Wolfe to the issues of his time (politics, race relations, etc.) and/or to these and other issues in our time (media, internationalism, etc.).

If you are interested in providing a paper, please send your proposals by January 10, 2014 to Mark Canada at mark.canada@uncp.edu or to Dr. Mark Canada, Dean, College of Arts and Sciences, UNC-Pembroke, Pembroke, NC 28372-1510.

NC's current poet laureate Joseph Bathanti

NC’s current poet laureate Joseph Bathanti

Mark has been hard at work planning the Chapel Hill conference. In addition to a full program of presentations and the annual Saturday evening banquet, several of this year’s special treats are a campus tour of Wolfe sites and North Carolina’s poet laureate, Joseph Bathanti, who is also an avid Wolfean.Make your plans now to attend this exciting conference on Wolfe’s “magical campus.”

Reservations to the Carolina Inn must be made before April 30, 2014, in order to receive the special group room rate of $164. Furthermore, a limited number of rooms at this conference rate are available, so please make your reservation as soon as possible. You may call the hotel at 1-800-962-8519 or visit the Carolina Inn’s website and enter 362947 in the “Group Code” field. You may also visit our Direct Billing Link.

Watch for more conference updates here and on our Facebook page.

Complete program details will be mailed to TWS members in March 2014.

We look forward to seeing you in Chapel Hill!

Thomas-Wolfe-CH-hill-507-WolfasBuckP048-48-521_307571126_thomaswolfetnail

A Letter from our 2013 TWS President, George Hovis

TWS calligraphy-400

8 October 2013

Dear Wolfe Friends,

I can hardly believe that Thomas Wolfe’s birthday month has arrived and the 2013 Thomas Wolfe Conference in beautiful Boise, Idaho is more than four months behind us. What a spectacular occasion that meeting was, thanks to Joe Flora, whose vision, planning, and tireless coordinating made it possible.

Thanks also to Denise Bittner and Tara Penry and her students who spent dozens of hours welcoming us to the West with tours, poster displays, and Tara’s fabulous keynote address. Thanks to Rick Ardinger and Shelley Crisp at the Idaho and North Carolina Humanities Councils for sponsoring Friday night’s lecture by Robert Morgan, the first Skyped event in Wolfe Conference history. Finally, thanks to all the presenters and to their attentive audience. The presentations were some of the finest I can recall.

The Boise conference concluded Anne Zahlan‘s eleven-year tenure as Editor of The Thomas Wolfe Review. During this time, she worked tirelessly to cultivate a new generation of Wolfe scholars and to bring the TWR into the digital age. For her tremendous service, Anne was recognized with the Wolfe Society’s Citation of Merit. Paula Eckard concluded her two-year term as our president. Paula’s exemplary energy, collegiality, and commitment led the Society to make significant achievements during these past two years. We are all very fortunate that Paula has agreed to assume the editorship at The Thomas Wolfe Review.

Other changes to the Society Board and its officers also occurred at Boise. Mark Canada, professor of English at UNC-Pembroke and an accomplished Wolfe scholar, was elected vice president. Bob Powell and Bill Beltz continue to serve as treasurer and secretary. New board members elected include Rebecca Godwin, Carl Thistle, Anne Zahlan, and Robert Brinkmeyer.

Prize winners during 2013 include Joseph Bentz, who received the Zelda & Paul Gitlin Literary Prize for the best scholarly article on Thomas Wolfe during 2012; Jedidiah Evans, an Australian scholar, who received the William B. Wisdom Grant; and Dylan Nealis, who received the first Thomas Wolfe Student Travel Grant in Honor of Richard S. Kennedy.

As you may recall, this past year the Kennedy Student Essay Prize was reconfigured with the aim of attracting more young scholars to participate in our conference. If you know promising graduate or undergraduate students who may have an interest in Wolfe (or in whom you might be able to instill such an interest), please direct them to our website, where they will find contest details.

I am pleased to share with you news of a gift by Denise Bittner in honor of her late husband, Dr. John Robert Bittner, Professor of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Many in the Wolfe Society fondly remember Dr. Bittner’s friendship and his contributions to Wolfe scholarship, including his Gitlin Prize-winning essay, “Thomas Wolfe and Jonathan Worth Daniels: The Carolina Roots of a Literary Rivalry,” published in the TWR, 27 (2003). Mrs. Bittner’s gift, in the form of an endowment, will fund the John Robert Bittner Student Literary Prize, in support of student travel to present their research at the annual Wolfe Conference.

RonRashPhoto

Ron Rash, 2013 Thomas Wolfe Prize Recipient

Many of you may have attended the annual Thomas Wolfe Lecture on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a major event held annually since its inception in 2000. This year’s Thomas Wolfe Prize Recipient was Ron Rash, who delivered a lecture to a nearly capacity crowd (almost 400) in the Genome Science Center on October 2nd.

The Thomas Wolfe Society was instrumental in developing a secure endowment to fund the annual prize money. Presently, the Department of English and Comparative Literature at UNC-CH is seeking to build an endowment to fund the other expenses associated with the Lecture:  travel, lodging, reception, advertising, etc. If anyone desires not to be solicited by mail on behalf of this effort, please inform me you wish to “opt out.”

If you are a TWS life member or a 2013 member of the Society, you will be receiving this year’s publications. The Proceedings of our 2013 Meeting in Boise, the special publication, and The Thomas Wolfe Review are all in various stages of production. So, if necessary, please update your membership.

On May 23-24, 2014, Wolfe Society members will converge on UNC-Chapel Hill‘s “magical campus” at the Carolina Inn for our 36th annual conference. Reservations must be made before April 30, 2014, in order to receive the special room rate of $164. Furthermore, a limited number of rooms at this conference rate are available, so please make your reservation as soon as possible. You may call the hotel at 1-800-962-8519 or visit the Carolina Inn’s website and enter 362947 in the “Group Code” field. You may also visit our Direct Billing Link.

This year’s conference theme is “Wolfe in His Time, Wolfe in Our Time.” Although proposals are welcome on any theme related to Thomas Wolfe and his work, we especially invite proposals for presentations that link Thomas Wolfe to the issues of his time (politics, race relations, etc.) and/or to these and other issues in our time (media, internationalism, etc.).

Please send your proposals by January 10, 2014, to Mark Canada at mark.canada@uncp.edu or to Dr. Mark Canada, Dean, College of Arts and Sciences, UNC-Pembroke, Pembroke, NC 28372-1510.

Mark has been hard at work planning the Chapel Hill conference. In addition to a full program of presentations and the annual banquet, several of this year’s special treats are a campus tour of Wolfe sites and North Carolina’s poet Laureate, Joseph Bathanti, who is also an avid Wolfean. Make your plans now to attend this exciting conference on Wolfe’s “magical campus.”

Look for conference updates on our website and Facebook page, and while you are there, take a moment to admire the recent improvements made by our webmaster, Deborah Borland.

Complete program details will be mailed in March 2014. In closing, I would like to thank you for giving me this opportunity to serve the Thomas Wolfe Society. Thank you for your unstinting support of the Society and for sharing your enthusiasm for the work of Thomas Wolfe. I look forward to seeing you in Chapel Hill!

Warmest regards,
George Hovis President
Thomas Wolfe Society
george.hovis@oneonta.edu

Contact Information: George Hovis Associate Professor, Dept. of English SUNY Oneonta, Oneonta, NY  13820

 

“Wolfe’s Women” A Fundraising Event for the Friends of Thomas Wolfe, Oct. 3, 2013

2013-WolfeBirthdayFundraiser‘Wolfe’s Women’ is a fundraising event for the Friends of Thomas Wolfe and will help support the programming, outreach and maintenance of the Thomas Wolfe Memorial.

Held on Wolfe’s Birthday, this event will focus on his need to connect with women of wisdom and strength.

Hosted by the Renaissance Hotel’s ‘A Writer’s Bistro’ a four-course meal will be served.

A historic drama will be presented about the four important and inspiring women in Wolfe’s life: Julia Wolfe, Margaret Roberts, Aline Bernstein and Elizabeth Nowell.

Following dinner and drama, guests are invited to an open house of the Old Kentucky Home.  Guests can walk the halls of this house that inspired one of America’s great literary authors and gather in the parlor for an Victorian sing-a-long, much like the boarders would have done when Thomas Wolfe was growing up in the house.

October 3 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

$75.00 per person $140 per couple

For tickets or more information, please contact the Thomas Wolfe Memorial (828) 253-8304 or email christian.edwards@ncdcr.gov no later than October 1, 2013.

75 Years Ago in September Commemorated at Wolfe Memorial

Tom, A Beloved American Author

Tom, A Beloved American Author

Beloved Author Thomas Clayton Wolfe Claimed by Death 75 Years ago on Sept. 14, 1938

Second Saturday Program at the Thomas Wolfe Memorial

In memoriam of the 75th anniversary of the passing of Thomas Wolfe, a reception will be held Saturday, September 14, 2013, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Thomas Wolfe Memorial State Historic Site followed by a viewing of his childhood home.

Thomas Clayton Wolfe, age 37, resident of New York City died 5:30 a.m. September 15, 1938 at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland from an acute cerebral infection.

He had suffered a protracted illness related to complications from a severe case of pneumonia contracted at Seattle, Washington in July.

Thomas Wolfe was born October 3, 1900 in Asheville, North Carolina to William Oliver Wolfe and Julia Elizabeth Westall Wolfe. He attended the Orange Street School and the North State Fitting School in Asheville in preparation for college. Then completed four years at the University of North Carolina and subsequently earned a Masters Degree from Harvard University. He taught English for several years at New York University and committed himself to his dream of a career as a professional writer.

He received instant recognition with the publication of his first novel Look Homeward, Angel in October 1929. As an author of several well-known books and short stories he is recognized today as a giant in American literature.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Advisory Committee, 52 N. Market Street, Asheville, NC28801.

“To lose the earth you know, for greater knowing; to lose the life you have, for greater life; to leave the friends you loved, for greater loving; to find a land more kind than home…”
Thomas Wolfe, You Can’t Go Home Again.
A Beloved American Author

Contact: Christian Edwards
828-253-8304

In Memorium: Margie South Idol (March 25, 1933 – June 27, 2013)

Margie South Idol (March 25, 1933 - June 27, 2013)

Margie South Idol (March 25, 1933 – June 27, 2013)

Dear TWS Friends–There will be a memorial service for Margie South Idol,  the wife of Dr. John L. Idol, on July 13, at the Boone Unitarian Fellowship Hall–381 E. King Street (the main street)–at 3 p.m. with lifelong family friend Sterling Eisiminger officiating.

Margie, 80, of Brookwood Avenue, Burlington, a native and former resident of Watauga County, passed away June 27, 2013, after a 40 year battle with dermatomyositis.

She leaves behind her husband, John L. Idol, Jr. of the home; one brother, Stanley South  of Columbia, S.C.; two nephews, and three nieces.

She married John, her high school classmate, on Thanksgiving Day in 1955, when she was a freshman at Appalachian State and saw him through his Ph.D at the University of Arkansas as primary breadwinner.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Idol Family Cemetery Fund, in care of Joe Idol, 7045 Old Highway 421 South, Deep Gap, North Carolina, 28618.

Online condolences may be sent to the Idol family and additional information can be viewed at:
http://www.hamptonfuneralnc.com/fh/obituaries/obituary.cfm?o_id=2134133&fh_id=10201 

 

Robert Morgan to Discuss Thomas Wolfe’s West

Wolfe on the West Overhang of the Grand Canyon, Photo Courtesy of Pack Library

On Friday, May 24, 2013, The Idaho Humanities Council will co-host a lecture by acclaimed author Robert Morgan.  The lecture, entitled “From the Blue Ridge to the Rocky Mountains: Thomas Wolfe and the American West,” will begin at 7:00 p.m. in the Idaho State Capitol Building and is part of the Thomas Wolfe Society’s 35th annual Conference, to be held at the Grove Hotel in Boise.  In addition to the Wolfe Society, other co-sponsors include the North Carolina Humanities Council and the Hemingway Western Studies Center.

Thomas Wolfe was one of America’s most renowned writers of the early twentieth century.  Among Wolfe’s most celebrated novels are Look Homeward, Angel (1929) and the posthumous You Can’t Go Home Again (1940).  His untimely death in 1938 was brought on in part by an exhausting two-week car trip across the American West, beginning in Oregon and crossing eleven national parks and 4,500 miles of highway. From this whirlwind tour Wolfe would produce his last piece of writing, A Western Journal

Robert Morgan’s lecture will discuss the geography of Wolfe’s life and interests, his early ambition to escape the confines of Asheville and the Blue Ridge Mountains, his subsequent sojourns in Chapel Hill, Harvard, New York, London, Paris, and Germany. Each of these places figures significantly in Wolfe’s fiction.  But near the end of his life Wolfe became a passionate traveler and student of the American West, as though he had found a subject he had been searching for: vast, majestic, challenging.

Robert Morgan-Gap Creek

Robert Morgan, born just south of Thomas Wolfe’s Asheville, in Hendersonville, North Carolina, has published fourteen books of poetry, most recently Terroir (Penguin Poets 2011), eight books of fiction, and two books of nonfiction devoted to America’s westward expansion.  Like his fellow North Carolina native, Robert Morgan’s gaze has been drawn toward the West.

He wrote his first story in the sixth grade, on a day when the rest of his class visited the Biltmore House near Asheville. Morgan reports, “I did not have the three dollars for the trip, and rather than let me sit idle all day my teacher, Dean Ward, suggested I write a story describing how a man lost in the Canadian Rockies, without gun or knife, makes his way back to civilization.  All day I sat in the classroom by myself working at the details of my character’s escape from the wilderness. I was so absorbed in my story I was surprised to find the other students had returned that afternoon.”

Despite this early start in the far American West, in most of his books of fiction and poetry, Morgan has focused on the western frontier of the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, not too distant from the Green River Valley farm where he grew up.  Perhaps Morgan’s best known novel, Gap Creek (Algonquin 1999), follows the struggles of a newly wed couple to begin a life together on an abandoned frontier farm in the early twentieth century. Gap Creek won the Southern Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction (2000), was chosen as a Notable Book by the New York Times, and was selected for the Oprah Book Club and the Appalachian Writers Association’s Book of the Year for 2000.

In 2007, Morgan published a bestselling biography of Daniel Boone, which Michael Kammen, former president of the Organization of American Historians, has called “a riveting account of the real Boone. . . . The brilliant final chapter, unique among Boone biographies, reveals the impact of the frontiersman’s legend on the American literary canon. . . . This is the best of all possible Boones.”

Robert Morgan-Lions of the West

Morgan followed this biography with Lions of the West:  Heroes and Villains of America’s Westward Expansion.  One of the book’s charms is that Morgan allows the reader in most cases to determine which are the heroes and which the villains. This composite biography includes well known figures, such as Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Johnny Appleseed, Sam Houston, Davy Crocket, and Kit Carson, as well as the less well remembered—for example, Nicholas Trist, the nervous diplomat critical to effecting the peace with Mexico. By turns political biography and military history, Morgan weaves the tale of the U.S. westward expansion in a gripping narrative and questions the nation’s assumptions about Manifest Destiny.  Lions of the West won the SIBA Award in Nonfiction for 2011. Several of his other awards include the James G. Hanes Poetry Award from the Fellowship of Southern Writers,  an O. Henry Award, the Thomas Wolfe Award, the Academy Award in Literature, and grants and fellowships from the NEA, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation. Robert Morgan teaches at Cornell University, where he is presently Kappa Alpha Professor of English.

Robert Morgan’s lecture at the Capitol is free and open to the public.  For more information about Robert Morgan, please visit http://www.robert-morgan.com/

In Memorium: Frances Angas Weaver (1928-2013)

Members of the Thomas Wolfe Society (TWS), especially those from the society’s formation and early years, will remember Frances A. Weaver from Chapel Hill, who attended many of the early annual meetings and was instrumental in making local arrangements for meetings in Chapel Hill.

She was an archivist in the UNC-CH library who arranged and described the North Carolina Collection’s Thomas Wolfe Collection and prepared a finding aid for it, thus making accessible to researchers a rich and previously unarranged treasure.

Mrs. Weaver (known as “Fran” to family and friends) was soft-spoken and preferred working behind the scenes, but she was willing and eager to speak about Thomas Wolfe. She first did so in 1978 at the Wolfe Fest at St. Mary’s College, speaking about the Wolfe materials at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She teamed up with Jerry Cotten on several occasions to present a popular program on Wolfe, drawing from printed and visual materials at UNC-CH.

At the second annual meeting of the Thomas Wolfe Society, in Chapel Hill, 10-11 April 1981, she delivered an excellent paper, titled simply “The Thomas Wolfe Collection.” In this paper, Mrs. Weaver introduced and described the collection of Wolfe materials at Chapel Hill to a rapt audience–scholars anxious to get at this rich trove and others just delighted to hear about it. (See H.G. Jones, ed., Thomas Wolfe of North Carolina, 1982, which includes Frances Weaver’s paper.)

On her retirement in 1989 Mrs. Weaver received the C. Knox Massey Award for Distinguished Service to the University. Her community involvement was also extensive, and in 2001 she received the UNC General Alumni Association’s Distinguished Service Medal in recognition of her contributions to the community and the University.

Her obituary in The Chapel Hill News includes the statement that she was “admired by all for her grace, wit, and generous spirit.” All who knew her agree.

Frances Weaver died on January 27, 2013.