North Carolina’s strong literary tradition is celebrated by the North Carolina Book Awards 2021, presented by the NC Literary and Historical Association. The annual awards recognize significant works by North Carolina writers.
Since its founding in September 1900, the NC Literary and Historical Association has been committed to stimulating literary production and to collecting and preserving historical material in North Carolina.
The 2021 North Carolina Book Award winners are:
Ragan Old North State Award for Nonfiction: Gregory S. Taylor for “Central Prison: A History of North Carolina’s State Penitentiary”. Taylor is Professor Emeritus of History at Chowan University in Murfreesboro, North Carolina. In addition to Central Prison, he is the author of “James Larkin Pearson: A Biography of Northest-Serving Poet Laureate”, “The Life and Lies of Paul Crouch: Communist, Opportunist, Cold War Snitch and History of the Communist Party of North Carolina. “
Sir Walter Raleigh Fiction Award: Jason Mott for “The Hell of a Book: Or the Entirely Factual and Authentic Tale of a Big Dream, of Luck, of an American Made Child “. Jason Mott has published four novels. “Hell of a Book” also received the 2021 National Fiction Book Award. Her debut novel, “The Returned,” was a New York Times bestseller and was made into a television series that ran for two seasons. He holds a BFA in Fiction and an MFA in Poetry, both from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. His poetry and fiction have been published in various literary journals.
Roanoke-Chowan Prize for Poetry: Anthony S. Abbott for “Dark Side of North”. Abbott is the author of eight books of poetry, two novels and four books of literary criticism. He taught in the English department at Davidson College from 1964-2006 and received the NC Award for Literature from the State of North Carolina in 2015. His first volume of poems, “The Girl in the Yellow Raincoat,” has was published in 1989 and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. Abbott passed away on October 3, 2020, a week before his induction into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame.
American Association of University Women of North Carolina Youth Literature Award: Halli Gomez for “List of Ten.” Before focusing on writing for children and young adults, Gomez taught martial arts and worked as an intelligence analyst for law enforcement and federal agencies. “List of Ten” is his first novel.
Hardee Rives Prize for Dramatic Arts: Jim Grimsley, playwright and novelist. Grimsley was born in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and taught English at Emory University. Grimsley has authored complete, one-act plays including “Mr. Universe”, “The Lizard of Tarsus”, “The Whites” and “The Existentialists”. In 1987, he received the George Oppenheimer / Newsday Award for Best New American Drama for “Mr. Universe”. His collection of plays, “Mr. Universe and Other Plays”, was released in 1998 and was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for theater.
Christopher Crittenden Memorial Award: Robert G. Anthony. Anthony was Curator of the North Carolina Collection at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Libraries from 1994 to June 2021. As Curator, he helped create what may be the largest library collection in the country devoted to a single state apart from the Library of Congress. Anthony has written and edited numerous publications on North Carolina.
The Office of Archives and History is part of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources and administers the North Carolina Book Awards program.