NC Poet Laureate Joseph Bathanti to Receive Chowan University’s Hobson Prize April 15th

Mar. 27, 2013: MURFREESBORO, NC – Installed as North Carolina’s Poet Laureate last September, Joseph Bathanti will be awarded Chowan University‘s 19th annual Mary Frances Hobson Prize for Distinguished Achievement in Arts and Letters on Monday, April 15th. Hobson Day will also feature a dinner, a lecture and a book signing.

Bathanti is the author of six books of poetry:  Communion Partners (Briarpatch, 1986); Anson County (Williams and Simpson, 1989); The Feast of All Saints (Nightshade, 1994); This Metal (St. Andrews College Press, 1996) which was nominated for The National Book Award and won the 1997 Oscar Arnold Young Award from The North Carolina Poetry Council for best book of poems by a North Carolina writer; Land of Amnesia (Press 53, 2009); and Restoring Sacred Art  (Star Cloud, 2010) winner of the 2010 Roanoke Chowan Prize, awarded annually by the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association for best book of poetry in a given year.

His first novel East Liberty (Banks Channel Books, 2001) won the Carolina Novel Award in 2001, and his latest novel Coventry (Novello Festival, 2006) won the Novello Literary Award.  The High Heart (Eastern Washington University, 2007), a collection of short stories, was awarded the Spokane Prize in 2006.  Bathanti published They Changed the State:  The Legacy of North Carolina’s Visiting Artists, 1971-1995 (The North Carolina Arts Council, 2007), a work of nonfiction, in 2007.  His work has appeared in numerous anthologies and journals.  He is a playwright, editor, lyricist and has served as a North Carolina Humanities Council Road Scholar and Let’s Talk About It discussion series facilitator.

Born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA, he holds B.A. and M.A. degrees in English literature from the University of Pittsburgh, as well as an M.F.A. in creative from Warren Wilson College.  He came to North Carolina in 1976 as a VISTA Volunteer to work with prison inmates.  The recipient of numerous teaching awards, he is currently a professor of creative writing at Appalachian State University, where he is also co-director of the Visiting Writers Series, director of Writing in the Field at Appalachian State University, and Watauga Global Community Writer-In-Residence.

Bathanti is a two-time recipient of Literature Fellowships from the North Carolina Arts Council (1994 and 2009).  In 1996 he received a Fellowship from the Witter Bynner Foundation for Individual Poets.  Also among his many honors are the Samuel Talmadge Ragan Award, the Bruno Arcudi Literature Prize, the Ernest A. Lynton Faculty Award for Professional Service and Academic Outreach, the Aniello Lauri Award for Creative Writing, the Linda Flowers Literary Award, the Sherwood Anderson Award, the Barbara Mandigo Kelly Peace Poetry Prize, and the Donald Murray Prize.  The North Carolina Poetry Society recently named him 2011-2012 Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet for the Western Region.

The annual Mary Frances Hobson Lecture and Prize for Distinguished Achievement in Arts and Letters brings the university and community together each spring to celebrate the accomplishments of an author of note from the region. Initiated in 1995 by the Hobson Family Foundation of San Francisco, the award serves as a memorial to Mary Frances Hobson, a journalist and poet, who was the first woman to receive the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award in journalism from the University of North Carolina.

This year’s Hobson Lecture and Prize on Monday, April 15th features a dinner and conferral of the award (reservations required) at 6:00 pm in the Chowan Room and the Hobson Lecture and book signing to follow at 7:30 pm in Vaughan Auditorium.

For more information, please call Nancy Cox at 252-398-6211 or e-mail


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