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UVa-Wise professor Amy Clark receives Emma Belle Miles prizes

Amy Clark, associate professor of English at The University of Virginia’s College at Wise, was recently honored during the Mountain Heritage Literary Festival at Lincoln Memorial University for her work.

Two of Clark’s essays--“Amazing Grace” based on the oral history of a central Appalachian woman, and “Buck,” based on her great-grandmother’s life--each received an Emma Belle Miles Prize for Essay, an award given for essays that address Appalachian life, literature, religion, folklore, culture and/or values.

This is the second consecutive year that Clark has been recognized with an Emma Belle Miles award.

In addition, “Fighting for the Voiceplace,” an article she penned on Appalachian dialects, was one of two finalists for the Jean Ritchie Fellowship, the largest award given in Appalachian literature. The article is part of a larger book that Clark is co-editing on Appalachian dialects. Ten finalists were chosen by a panel of Appalachian writers and were sent to another panel of judges in New York City. The panel wrote that they were “moved by the work…a truly important and exciting project.”

The Jean Ritchie Fellowship seeks to support, encourage and honor writers from the Southern Appalachians. The fellowship is the first of its kind for the region's writers, and is committed to Appalachian voices. Jean Ritchie of Viper, Ky, and Port Washington, N.Y., is a musician, author of prose and poetry, social activist, teacher, historian and folk music collector. The fellowship strives to support artists who, like Ritchie, create works of beauty and social relevance, while honoring traditional heritage and forging a new path. It is the largest monetary award granted in Appalachian literature.