John Thomas York Chosen as 2014 Linda Flowers Literary Award Recipient

John Thomas York Chosen as 2014 Linda Flowers Literary Award Recipient

The North Carolina Humanities Council, a statewide nonprofit and affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, announces John Thomas York as the recipient of its 2014 Linda Flowers Literary Award. In addition to the Literary Award, York received a cash prize and a stipend for a writer’s residency at Weymouth Center for the Arts and Humanities, which was presented by North Carolina Humanities Council Trustee and former Poet Laureate of North Carolina, Joseph Bathanti:

I am so pleased – and I imagine Linda Flowers passing benediction – to announce this year’s winner, John Thomas York, for his essay, “O Beautiful Bug,” a fire-breathing memoir about how York, as a Yadkin County farm boy, was evangelized by Henry David Thoreau and charged to devote his life to books and writing and the thousands of North Carolina students he in turn so lovingly has evangelized over the years.

This year’s Linda Flowers Award competition yielded well over 100 entries, not only from North Carolina, but from precincts all over the country – fiction, personal essays, reflections and poems. Those entries were winnowed to a distinguished 23 and submitted to Bathanti to choose the winner.

John Thomas York was born in Winston-Salem in 1953 and grew up on a farm in Yadkin County in northwestern North Carolina. He was educated at Appalachian State, Wake Forest, and Duke, and he has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. For over thirty years York has taught English in the public schools. In 2003 he was named Teacher of the Year by the North Carolina English Teachers Association. His poetry has appeared in many journals — most recently, Appalachian Journal, Kenyon Review Online, and Tar River Poetry — as well as in anthologies such as Word and Witness: 100 Years of North Carolina Poetry and The Southern Poetry Anthology, Volume III: Contemporary Appalachia. He has published three chapbooks, Picking Out, Johnny’s Cosmology, and, in 2010, Naming the Constellations. In 2011, he received the first annual James Applewhite Poetry Prize from the North Carolina Literary Review. In March 2012, Press 53 published his first full-length collection, Cold Spring Rising.

York and his wife live in Greensboro, and both teach at Penn-Griffin School for the Arts, in High Point. They have three daughters, Elizabeth, Kathryn, and Rachel.

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.”

To read previous winning entries to the Linda Flowers Literary Award, visit: www.nchumanities.org/content/award-recipients