Chowan University Presents a Virtual Ceremony of The Twenty-Seventh Annual Mary Frances Hobson Lecture & Prize Conferral

The  27th Annual  Mary Frances Hobson Lecture and Prize will be given Monday, April 12, 2021 at 7:30 p.m.  in a virtual ceremony.  The 2021 Hobson Prize will be conferred on Michel Stone, award winning author, who will then deliver the Lecture followed by discussion.  

For more information about the Hobson Conferral and Lecture, contact Nancy Cox in the Office of the Provost at 1-252-398-6211 or coxn@chowan.edu

You may read Ms. Stone’s biography below:

Michel Stone, a native South Carolinian who now lives in Spartanburg, grew up on Johns Island where she first considered the life of migrant workers.  The families who worked on nearby farms three seasons a year seemed exotic to her.   As an adult, she became friends with a Mexican couple who had smuggled their baby into the United States.  Considering what makes someone willing to risk not only his or her life but that of a child led to her first book, The Iguana Tree.  Fiction is a way to consider large life questions.  In Stone’s words, “Fiction expands one’s lens and helps us empathize with others whose worldview has been shaped by different circumstances and conventions than our own. The struggles of our fictional characters compel us to turn the page to see how protagonists deal with the blows they’re dealt. Why do we care? Why do their struggles and the way they handle them matter to us? We care because the great themes of humanity when illuminated through story connect us and comfort us. They tell us we are all in this life together, and that each of us because of and in spite of the storms we weather, are undeniably human.”

Her first novel, The Iguana Tree (2012), received much critical acclaim and was selected in a number of cities and colleges as a community read.  In 2017, her second novel, Border Child, was released and also garnered high praise. Stone’s writing has been compared favorably to John Steinbeck’s.  She is at work on a third novel, this one set in Honduras.

A graduate of Clemson University, Stone also has a Master’s degree from Converse College and is an alumna of Sewanee Writers Conference.  Among the honors and prizes she’s received are the 2018 Patricia Winn Award for Southern Literature and the South Carolina Fiction Award. She has served as the board chair of the Hub City Writers Project.   In addition to her writing, she is an active member of her community, serving on a number of foundations and boards.  Stone has been honored with residencies at The Ucross Foundation, the Wildacres Residency Program and the Rowland Writers Retreat. She is also a  Ucross Fellow, Spartanburg Regional Fellow, Liberty Fellow, and a Fellow of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.

We see the world through our own unique lenses. Fiction expands one’s lens and helps us empathize with others whose worldview has been shaped by different circumstances and conventions than our own. The struggles of our fictional characters compel us to turn the page to see how protagonists deal with the blows they’re dealt. Why do we care? Why do their struggles and the way they handle them matter to us? We care because the great themes of humanity when illuminated through story connect us and comfort us. They tell us we are all in this life together, and that each of us because of and in spite of the storms we weather, are undeniably human.

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