Last weekend, local writer Randy Johnson’s new book Grandfather Mountain: The History and Guide to an Appalachian Icon was honored in an Asheville ceremony bestowing the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award from the Western North Carolina Historical Association.
Wolfe prize winner Terry Roberts, Ph.D. received the award for his novel That Bright Land, and Johnson and four other writers received awards as finalists, among them New York Times-bestselling author of Gap Creek Robert Morgan for a volume of poetry Dark Energy, and novelist Ron Rash for Above the Waterfall. Other finalists and winners since 1955 have included Charles Frazier, Wilma Dykeman, John Ehle, Lee Smith, and John Parris. Nearly thirty new books competed.
Thomas Muir, manager of the Thomas Wolfe Memorial State Historic Site in Asheville said attending the ceremony was like “sitting on the 50-yard line at the Super Bowl of North Carolina literature.”
Saturday, February 11 Johnson signs books at Cheap Joe’s Art Stuff in Boone from 1 to 4 pm during a Grandfather Mountain-themed art show from the Charlotte Art League. He’ll speak to the High Country Writers at Watauga County Public Library March 9th at 10 am.
Also last week Johnson was cited in the annual travel writing contest of the North American Travel Journalist Association (NATJA). He was a finalist in the “National Park Centennial” category for his Sierra magazine article “He Sung the Glory of Nature: John Muir’s Ascent of Grandfather Mountain.”
Hundreds of other articles and interviews about the book also appeared in 2016 across the region in newspapers and magazines and on radio and television, with Johnson encouraging people to visit Grandfather Mountain and the High Country.
In NATJA’s “Historical Travel” category, Johnson was also a finalist for the article “Make History on Your Next Southern Ski Trip” that appeared last winter on SkiSoutheast.com, a popular ski magazine website produced by Appnet New Media Studio in Foscoe. The piece urged skiers to “hang their helmets” at historic High Country hotels, the Green Park Inn and Mast Farm Inn.
The local writer has won numerous NATJA awards over the years for his writing and as editor-in-chief of United Airlines’ magazine Hemispheres from 1992-2009.
For more information about Johnson and his writings, check out the following links:
The SkiSoutheast.com article can be found here.
The Amazon.com book page for the Grandfather Mountain can be found here.