The Western North Carolina Historical Association is proud to annually recognize excellence in literature and in the preservation and promotion of history in our region.

Wilma Dykeman was the first winner of the Thomas Wolfe Award for her 1955 book, The French BroadPhoto: CITIZEN-TIMES


Celebrating WNC Excellence

Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award

2020 Winner: Eastern Cherokee Stories

Originated by the Louis Lipinsky family and now also supported by the Ruth Siegel and Jacques Sartisky Foundation and the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Advisory Board, the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award has been presented annually for printed works that focus special attention on Western North Carolina since 1955 when Wilma Dykeman won the award for The French Broad. In 2020, Dr. Sandra Muse Isaacs won for her book, Eastern Cherokee Stories: A Living Oral Tradition and Its Cultural Continuance.

Outstanding Achievement Award

2020 Winner: Ann Miller Woodford

Annually the WNC Historical Association presents its Trophy for Outstanding Achievement to an individual or organization which has made significant contributions to the preservation and promotion of the history of the mountain region. In 1954, the first award went to Sadie Smathers Patton, a founder and trustee of the Cherokee Historical Association. In 2020, Ann Miller Woodford won for her work preserving and promoting the history of African American people in far western North Carolina.