"The Names of Things," a debut novel by UNC Asheville's John Colman Wood, is one of six finalists for the 2013 Chautauqua Prize, a national award that celebrates fiction and literary nonfiction.
In the novel, an anthropologist returns to Africa following his wife's death. He seeks to retrace steps he took with her years earlier while living with camel-herding nomads.
Wood knows this subject area well. He's an anthropologist who's done field research with Gabra nomads of northern Kenya and southern Ethiopia.
Other finalists include "Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk," by N.C. native Ben Fountain. The winning book will be announced in mid-May.
This year's Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize winner is Kevin Winchester of Waxhaw. Winchester, who directs the Writing Center at Wingate University, won for his short story, "Waiting on Something to Happen." He'll receive $1,000 and his story will be considered for publication in The Thomas Wolfe Review.
Wolfe Prize honorable mentions went to Pittsboro's Ashley Memory for her story, "Once in a Blue Moon," and Jacob Appel of New York City for "Some Helpful Background for the Incoming Tenant."