The English and Comparative Literature Department congratulates this year’s winner of the 2022 Thomas Wolfe Prize, Percival Everett. This prize is awarded to contemporary writers with distinguished bodies of work in the honor of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s own Thomas Wolfe. The winner is invited to campus to deliver a lecture to the wider University community. This year’s lecture will be held on October 6 at 7:30pm in Moeser Auditorium in Hill Hall.
Everett is the author of twenty-one novels, six poetry collections, four short story collections, and a children’s book. His most recent novel, The Trees, was the winner of the 2022 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, was a finalist for the 2022 PEN/Jean Stein Book Award, was longlisted for the 2022 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, and has been shortlisted for the 2022 Booker Prize. Alongside his extensive and genre-defying writing career, Everett is accomplished in jazz music, philosophy, and abstract painting.
His invitation to campus coincides with the 75th anniversary of the Creative Writing Program in UNC-Chapel Hill’s Department of English and Comparative Literature. In response to Everett’s arrival at this special anniversary, Ross White, director of the department, noted that, “I can think of few writers whose restless and unyielding desire to experiment on the page more closely resembles the spirit of Creative Writing at Carolina, where we encourage students to probe the depths of what’s possible with language and push past the comfortable confines of their own narratives to discover something essential about the human condition.”
White added, “Percival Everett is a visionary. His writings challenge the literary orthodoxy even as they establish his preeminence within it—it’s almost as if the field of literature bends to meet him, at which point he reinvents himself again.”
More information about Everett and the history of the Thomas Wolfe Lecture can be found under the Thomas Wolfe Prize and Lecture webpage.