Author Clyde Edgerton has written 10 novels, a book of advice, and a memoir. Three have been made into movies, and several have made it to the stage.
The North Carolina native has written about small-town bigotry, religious hypocrisy and greed but in a darkly comic vein with a focus on characters. Edgerton is also a musician and a professor of Creative Writing at UNC Wilmington.
Tonight, he receives the 2015 Thomas Wolfe Prize and Lecture at UNC-Chapel Hill. The award recognizes a rich career filled with memorable characters and story lines.
Edgerton joins other notable authors like Lee Smith and Ron Rash in receiving the award. Fellow North Carolina author Daniel Wallace has compared Edgerton to literary legend Mark Twain. Those may be big shoes to fill, and Edgerton said accolades such as this leave him humble and honored.
"It's rewarding when you know somebody has responded to your work, and your characters and the situations you’ve created rather than just your opinions as a human being," he said. "Because you set that up to make a difference."
Despite the prize, Edgerton is still looking ahead to projects down the road.
"This award, because it's for a body of work rather than a body, I look back at what I’ve done and hope there’s a foot missing that I can fill out in the next 8 to 10 years," he said.
Edgerton will deliver a free lecture at 7:30 p.m. in the Genome Sciences Building Auditorium on the UNC-Chapel Hill's campus.