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Jill McCorkle will deliver the Thomas Wolfe Lecture on October 4th. (photo by Tom Rankin)
Jill McCorkle will deliver the Thomas Wolfe Lecture on October 4th. (photo by Tom Rankin)


North Carolina native and nationally acclaimed “born story-teller” Jill McCorkle will receive the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Prize and deliver the annual lecture on Oct. 4 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The lecture is free and open to the public, and will be held at the Genome Sciences Building auditorium at 7:30 p.m.

In 1980, McCorkle graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill with honors in creative writing, and went on to win several awards for her work, including the John Dos Passos Prize for Excellence in Literature and the North Carolina Award for Literature. In addition, five of her books have been chosen as New York Times “Notables.” She received a master’s in writing from Hollins College in 1981.

McCorkle, a native of Lumberton, is famous “for writing big-hearted, character-driven books that embrace small-town Southern life with its rowdy, funny, heartbreaking happenings,” said Marianne Gingher, professor of creative writing in the department of English and comparative literature. At only 26 years old, she published two novels simultaneously in 1984 as the inaugural author of the newly launched Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill. The Cheer Leader and July 7th secured her a spot in literary history and helped put the South on the literary map.

She has produced four more celebrated novels, the most recent being Life After Life, and four dazzling short story collections (including Creatures of Habit and Going Away Shoes) filled with irresistible titles like “Your Husband Is Cheating on Us” and “It’s a Funeral! RSVP!”

Her prize-winning short stories and essays have appeared in an array of magazines and journals, including Oxford American, Comopolitan, Southern Review, Garden & Gun and The Atlantic Monthly.

The annual lecture and prize in the College of Arts and Sciences honor author Thomas Wolfe, author of Look Homeward, Angel and graduate of Carolina in 1920.

Sponsors of the lecture are John and jessica Skipper, the department of English and comparative literature in the College of Arts and Sciences and The Thomas Wolfe Society.

Read a University Gazette story about the centennial of Thomas Wolfe’s arrival on campus. 

For more information, visit

Other events related to Thomas Wolfe this week includes a reading at his memorial behind Murray Hall on Oct. 3; and a Priceless Gems literary tour on Oct. 7. Applications for the Thomas Wolfe Scholarship will be accepted until the Nov. 15 deadline.

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