Lee's Woolfitt Receives Plattner Award, Nemerov Scholarship

Friday, August 15, 2014
Dr.  William Woolfitt
Dr. William Woolfitt

Dr.  William Woolfitt, assistant professor of English at Lee University, has won the Appalachian Heritage Plattner Award in Fiction for his short story "Daughter with a Star on Her Brow.” 

According to Dr. Woolfitt, “Daughter” takes place in the coal mining town of Monongah, W.Va., shortly before the 1907 explosion that has been called the worst mining disaster in American history. It examines the lives of two immigrant families, one Polish and the other Italian, those whose stories are sometimes obscured by the historical record.

Kenneth and Elissa May Plattner established the Denny C. Plattner Awards in 1995 to honor their late son, Denny, and his love for writing. The awards are presented to the finest pieces of fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry that appeared in the magazine during the previous year. 

“Past winners have included outstanding Appalachian writers like Sharyn McCrumb, Ann Pancake, and Maurice Manning,” said Dr. Woolfitt, “so I am very honored to have my work chosen for a Plattner Award.” 

Dr. Woolfitt was also awarded the Howard Nemerov Scholarship in Poetry to attend the 2014 Sewanee Writers’ Conference, hosted by the University of the South last month.

“I also feel very honored and humbled to have been selected for a scholarship at Sewanee,” Dr. Woolfitt said. “The conference provides 11 days of workshops, readings, craft lectures, and editor presentations, and it truly is an enriching, emboldening experience.”

Dr. Woolfitt joined Lee’s Department of Language and Literature in fall 2012, where he teaches creative writing and American literature.

He is the author of two chapbooks: “The Salvager’s Arts” (poetry), co-winner of the Keystone Prize; and “The Boy with Fire in His Mouth” (fiction), winner of the Epiphany Editions contest. The title story of “The Boy with Fire in His Mouth” is based on Woolfitt’s travels in Uganda and will appear in the Everywhere Stories anthology, scheduled to be published on Oct. 1. 

“Beauty Strip,” Dr. Woolfitt’s first full-length book of poems, will be published on Sept. 15, while “Charles of the Desert,” Dr. Woolfitt’s second full-length book of poems, has been accepted by Paraclete Press and will be published in 2016.

Dr. Woolfitt’s poems and stories appear in such publications as Shenandoah, Michigan Quarterly Review, The Threepenny Review, Notre Dame Review, New Ohio Review, The Cincinnati Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Ninth Letter, and River Styx, among others.


In addition to teaching and writing, Dr. Woolfitt has hiked a thousand miles of the Appalachian Trail and canoed the Chibougamau lake system in central Quebec; he explores the back roads of West Virginia whenever he can.

For more information about the Everywhere Stories anthology, visit http://cliffordgarstang.com.   

To pre-order “Beauty Strip,” visit http://www.amazon.com/Beauty-Strip-William-Kelley-Woolfitt/dp/1680030108.

For a complete listing of the 2013 Plattner Awards winners, visit https://www.facebook.com/appalachianheritagemagazine/posts/10152087419001512.

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