Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

Another Round of Prizes

Tennessee writers bring in a bumper crop of awards

This year has already brought Tennessee writers a raft of honors, including three NEA grants, a Frost Place Chapbook Prize, and the $10,000 Rattle award, among others, but the good news just keeps coming:

Blountville poet Jane Hicks has won the 2015 James Still Award from the Appalachian Writers Association for her collection, Driving with the Dead: Poems. According to the University Press of Kentucky, which published the book last year, place is a chief feature of Hicks’s writing: “Set in Appalachia, the poems in Driving with the Dead explore both personal and cultural history, while speaking out against the forces that threaten both. Invoking personal memories, Hicks explores how the loss of physical landscape has also devastated the region’s psychological landscape.”

Meanwhile, at the other end of the state, Bobby C. Rogers, a professor of English at Union University in Jackson, has been named a 2015 Witter Bynner Fellow at the Library of Congress. Rogers is the author of Paper Anniversary, which won the 2009 Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize from the University of Pittsburgh Press. His poems have appeared in The Southern Review, Georgia Review, and Shenandoah, among others. He was named to the Bynner fellowship by U.S. Poet Laureate Charles Wright, who wrote, “Bobby C. Rogers is a very narrative poet, and tells stories about memory and pieces of memory—how they fit together or don’t always fit, and what that means for the language’s inability to say what we want it to say.”

In other news of Appalachia, Charles Dodd White, an assistant professor at Pellissippi State Community College in Knoxville, has won the Thomas and Lillie D. Chaffin Award given by Morehead State University in Kentucky. The prize recognizes outstanding Appalachian writers, and competition is open to authors in all genres. The first award was presented in 1996 to poet and novelist James Still. White is also the author of two novels, A Shelter of Others (2014) and Lambs of Men (2010), as well as a story collection, Sinners of Sanction County (2011). He has also edited two anthologies of contemporary Appalachian short stories: Degrees of Elevation (2010) and Appalachia Now (2015).