Established by the General Assembly in 1961, the North Carolina Award is the highest civilian honor given by the state. Presented annually since 1964, the award recognizes significant contributions to the state and nation in the fields of fine art, literature, public service and science.
Literature: Philip Gerard Award-winning author Philip Gerard is perhaps best known for his work Cape Fear Rising, a novel about the Wilmington Coup of 1898. He is the author of 13 books of fiction and nonfiction, most recently The Last Battleground: The Civil War Comes to North Carolina. He has also written 11 documentary television scripts, numerous radio essays, several magazine series, and an award-winning radio drama. Gerard played a significant role in developing the Creative Writing program at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington shortly after joining the university’s English Department in 1989 and has seen the program grow to become a thriving department. An avid musician, Gerard plays guitar, dobro, pedal steel guitar and banjo, and often incorporates bluegrass, folk and original music into his readings. His work, both fiction and nonfiction, shines a light on North Carolina’s history, environment and culture.