Hobson Lecture & Prize

Welcome to the Hobson Lecture and Prize

The Mary Frances Hobson Lecture and Prize for Distinguished Achievement in Arts and Letters is awarded annually by Chowan University to recognize the distinguished achievement of a person in the field of arts and letters.  Preference is given to Southern writers and poets or those authors whose work relates to the South.  The recipient, who receives a medallion and monetary gift, presents a lecture entitled “The Mary Frances Hobson Lecture,” which is open to all area residents, Chowan University students and personnel, and all enthusiasts of the arts and letters in the region.  

The Mary Frances Hobson Prize, which is endowed by the Hobson Family Foundation, was initiated in 1995 as a memorial to Mary Frances Hobson, a journalist and poet.  Mrs. Hobson was the first woman to receive the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award in journalism from the University of North Carolina.  A native of North Carolina (1912-1993), Mrs. Hobson always treasured her relationship to Chowan University through her aunt, Lois Vann Wynn, who was a graduate of Chowan in the Class of 1905 and a member of the faculty from 1908-1915. 

The Hobson Prize has grown in stature to become a highly coveted honor.  Recipients include well-known and established authors as well as rising literary stars.  Chowan University is honored to be the home of the Hobson Prize where it holds a significant place in the academic program.  

2019 Hobson Prize

Chowan University is pleased to announce that Wiley Cash is the recipient of the 2019 Mary Frances Hobson Prize for Distinguished Achievement in Arts and Letters. He is the 25th honoree and will be on campus on April 29, 2019. 

Dr. Cash was born and raised in Gastonia, North Carolina. He is a fiction writer known for portraying “rural southern life and the power that secrets long kept have to disrupt” communities, families, and individuals. Cash attended the University of North Carolina at Asheville (B.A.), the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (M.A.), and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (Ph.D.). He serves as the writer-in-residence at the University of North Carolina at Asheville and is the founder of the Open Canon Book Club and co-founder of The Land More Kind Appalachian Artists Residency.

Hobson Prize Information

Previously Honored Recipients

Jim Grimsley (2018)

Kevin Wilson (2017)

Edward P. Jones (2016)

Dorothy Allison (2015)

Sharyn McCrumb (2014)

Joseph Bathanti (2013)

Silas House (2012)

Robert Morgan (2011)

Lee Smith (2010)

Darnell Arnoult (2009)

Judy Goldman (2008)

Josephine Humphreys (2007)

Michael Parker (2006)

Shelia P. Moses (2005)

Chuck Sullivan (2004)

Sheri Reynolds (2003)

Padgett Powell (2002)

Allan Gurganus (2001)

Amy Hempel (2000)

G.D. Gearino (1999)

Randall Kenan (1998)

Jill McCorkle (1997)

Mark Richard (1996)

Kaye Gibbons (1995)