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WNC author receives Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction

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Article Published: Jun. 20, 2013 | Modified: Jun. 20, 2013
WNC author receives Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction

The winner of the 2012 Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction has been announced as “A Short Time to Stay Here” by North Carolina novelist Terry Roberts, published by Ingalls Publishing Group.

The award is given annually for a novel set in the original states of the Confederacy that best reflects “hope for belonging, for belief in a people’s better nature, for steadfastness against all that is hollow or crass or rootless or destructive,” according to the official announcement.

The winning novel is chosen for the quality of its prose, its originality, its sense of place and period and the appeal of its characters.

The award is named after the famous journalist, editor and writer (born in Mississippi and educated at the University of Texas), a Southerner who became the youngest-ever editor of Harper’s and wrote a number of celebrated works of nonfiction, including the memoir, “North Toward Home.” The criteria are based on his assessment of what a great Southern novel should be.

The Willie Morris Award was created and has been sponsored since 2007 by Reba White Williams and David Williams and is fast becoming New York’s most prestigious homage to Southern literature. Winners are announced in major publications, including Publishers Weekly and the Oxford American. The 2012 prize will be formally awarded at a reception and banquet in New York City in October, where the winner will read from and discuss his work.

Terry Roberts, who was born in and raised near Asheville, is the first recipient of the prize from North Carolina. His direct ancestors have lived and farmed in the mountains of Western North Carolina, primarily in what is now Madison County, since the late 1700s.

“A Short Time to Stay Here” is a war story and a love story set in Western North Carolina during World War I.

As celebrated author Robert Morgan describes it, the novel is a “thrilling story of the clash of cultures, of mystery, espionage, revenge and love… a riveting story… bringing to life a particular Appalachian time and place, by one of the exciting new voices of Southern fiction.”

For more information on the Willie Morris Prize, visit For more information on Terry Roberts and “A Short Time to Stay Here,” visit

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