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Georgia's Townsend Prize For Fiction

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Date and time
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
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Jill McCorkle shares what she thinks is distinctive about the South, including humor, nostalgia, iced tea, and the fine art of storytelling. This is the keynote address of Georgia's 2006 Townsend Prize for Fiction. The Townsend Prize for Fiction is awarded biennially to the Georgia writer judged to have published the best work of fiction in the previous two years. The prize was founded in 1980 in honor of founding editor of Atlanta Magazine, Jim Townsend. Past recipients include respected Georgia authors Celestine Sibley, Alice Walker, Terry Kay, Ha Jin, and others. Books are brought to the attention of the judges through communication from publishers, agents, and in some cases authors themselves. The final nominees are then selected by The Chattahoochee Review.

Jill McCorkle is a native of Lumberton, NC. She graduated from Lumberton High School in 1976, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1980, and from the Hollins College Masters Program in Writing in 1981. She has written five novels: *The Cheer Leader*, *July 7th*, *Tending to Virginia*, *Ferris Beach*, and *Carolina Moon*. Her two collections of short stories are titled *Crash Diet* and *Final Vinyl Days*. McCorkle acquired a remarkably full literary resume at a very young age; she was 26 years old when she made publishing history in 1984, having her first two novels published simultaneously. While a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, she was the recipient of the Jesse Rehder Prize, the University's most prestigious writing award, and she received her B.A. with highest honors in Creative Writing. As a graduate student at Hollins, she won the Andrew James Purdy Prize for fiction. After earning her MFA, she taught writing at Duke University, Tufts University, and the University of North Carolina. She currently teaches writing at Harvard University and Bennington College. Jill McCorkle's fiction has been four times selected by *The New York Times* *Book Review* for its Notable Books of the Year list. McCorkle received the New England Booksellers' Association (NEBA) award in 1993 for her body of work in fiction, and in 1996 she was included in Granta magazine's celebration of Best of Young American Novelists. McCorkle is a frequent reviewer for *The New York Times Book Review* and has also reviewed for *The Washington Post*, *The Atlanta Journal-Constitution*, *New York Woman*, and many North Carolina newspapers. Her short stories have been widely published in literary journals, commercial magazines and anthologies, including *The Atlantic Monthly*, *Cosmopolitan*, and *Ladies' Home Journal*. Jill McCorkle is married and the mother of two children. She lives near Boston, MA.

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