News & Events
September 5, 2013
Wilma Dykeman is the subject of a new lecture series beginning September 15 at The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UNC Asheville. Area scholars will examine Dykeman’s life and work as a historian, journalist, environmentalist, teacher and traveler. This free series takes place in UNC Asheville’s Reuter Center Sunday afternoons at 3 p.m.
A native of Asheville, Dykeman was one of Appalachia’s best-known and loved writers, working in nonfiction and fiction. The author of 18 books, including The French Broad, which won the first Thomas Wolfe Award,and The Tall Woman, she also wrote radio scripts, short stories and articles for Harper’s, The New York Times Magazine and Reader’s Digest. The Appalachian Writer’s Guild Award for Essay is named in her honor.
Dykeman was a strong advocate for linked economic development and environmental protection along the French Broad River, a vision that is reflected in the Wilma Dykeman RiverWay Plan developed by RiverLink and adopted by Asheville City Council.
The Wilma Dykeman Lecture Series includes these presentations:
- September 15: “Wilma Dykeman as Historian,” with Dan Pierce, UNC Asheville chair and professor of history. Dykeman was Tennessee’s official State Historian for more than 20 years and was the author of Tennessee: A Bicentennial History, as well as a historical fiction and biography.
- September 29: “Wilma Dykeman as Journalist,” with Darin Waters, UNC Asheville visiting assistant professor of history. Dykeman’s Neither Black Nor White (co-authored by her husband, James Stokely) won the 1957 Sidney Hillman award as best book of the year on world peace, race relations or civil liberties. She wrote more than 20 feature articles for leading national magazines during the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s.
- October 6: “Wilma Dykeman as Environmentalist,” with Viki Rouse, Walters State Community College associate professor of English. This talk will examine Dykeman’s public speaking and writing on environmental themes and her fight against river pollution.
- October 20: “Wilma Dykeman as Teacher,” with Martha Gill, a retired English teacher and former attendee of the Stokely Institute. Dykeman was a professor of Appalachian literature and creative writing at the University of Tennessee for 21 years, and founder of the James R. Stokely Institute for Liberal Arts Education at UT—an institute for high school teachers.
- November 3: “Wilma Dykeman as Novelist,” with Jim Cole Overholt, a retired teacher and former director of the Regional Appalachian Center at the Children’s Museum of Oak Ridge, where Dykeman served as consultant. This talk will focus on Dykeman’s novels, The Tall Woman, its sequel, The Far Family, and her last published novel, Return the Innocent Earth.
- November 10: “Wilma Dykeman as Traveler,” with writer Jim Stokely. One of Dykeman’s sons, Stokely will talk about where she traveled and why she visited those places, and share from her travel journals.
The series is sponsored by OLLI and the Wilma Dykeman Legacy. For more information, visit OLLI's website or call 828.251.6140.