UNC creative writing professor and poet Michael McFee ’76 has won the 2009 James Still Award for Writing About the Appalachian South.
The Fellowship of Southern Writers gives the prize biennially to recognize a writer with a significant body of work about Appalachia.
McFee, director of UNC’s creative writing program, was born and raised in western North Carolina and has written extensively about the mountains. His first book, Plain Air (University Presses of Florida), was published more than 25 years ago.
McFee has written nine collections of poetry, most recently The Smallest Talk (Bull City Press, 2007). His first collection of essays, The Napkin Manuscripts: Selected Essays and an Interview (University of Tennessee Press) was published in 2006.
McFee, who also earned his master’s degree from UNC in 1979, began teaching at his alma mater in 1990.
His awards include the Thomas Wolfe Literary Award from the Western North Carolina Historical Association (2006) and the Roanoke-Chowan Award for Poetry from the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association (2001).
McFee recently wrote a cover story for the Carolina Alumni Review, about the Carolina campus and its columns, titled “Pillars of Wisdom.” It appeared in the September/October 2008 issue, which is available online to GAA members.
The late James Still, a Kentucky writer often called the dean of Appalachian literature, won the first award from the fellowship for writing about the Appalachian South, in 1997. Other winners include Cold Mountain novelist Charles Frazier ’73 (1999), Western Carolina University professor and writer Ron Rash (2005) and Pamela Duncan ’83 (2007) of UNC’s Gillings School of Global Public Health.
The award will be presented April 3 at the Arts and Education Council Conference on Southern Literature in Chattanooga, Tenn.