Nick Taylor (BA English '67) Receives 2010 Arts and Sciences Alumni Award in English

Nick Taylor graduated from WCU with a BA degree in English in 1967 and has gone on to become a remarkable non-fiction writer.  He returned to WCU for the 2007 Literary Festival, just as his latest book, American Made- The Enduring Legacy of the WPA: When FDR Put the Nation to Work, was going to press.  His writings include books on competitive bass fishing, legal battles over the patents to the Laser, Germany’s neo-Nazi movement, and on Mafia members in the Witness Protection Program. He has also witten many articles in the New York Times, Esquire, the New Yorker, and the Washington Post, and he co-wrote (with John Glenn) John Glenn's autobiography. 

When Nick spoke at the 2007 Literary Festival, Sue Ellen Bridgers (who was, coincidentally, the 2009 A&S Alumni Award recipient for English) introduced him and listed his long string of accomplishments and accolades. When we talked with Nick about receiving this year’s alumni award he remembered Sue Ellen’s impressive introduction but commented that he thought it made him sound a little bit like "an alien".  "After all," he said, "I was just a guy who got a degree from WCU and went on to do a bunch of stuff." 

Taylor was born in Asheville and grew up in Waynesville, his father was a county surveyor and his mother worked at Barber Orchard.  He writes of himself,

When I graduated from high school in 1963, I applied to only one college -- Western Carolina, in Cullowhee, N.C., for the singular advantage it had for a poor kid. Western was dirt cheap. Since my father had returned to Waynesville to take up his surveying practice in the summers, I attended as a residential student. For room, board, books, student activity and laundry fees, the cost per quarter was around $300. I didn't realize until later how incredible that was. I had planned to transfer to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill after two years, but by then I had made friends, was working on the student newspaper, and so I stayed. When I graduated, in 1967, I had been the paper's editor and served in the student government, and Western Carolina College had become Western Carolina University. (

Over forty years later we here at WCU are please he stayed and proud of the kind of model he has become for our students because we want them all to go on to "do a bunch of stuff" like Nick.  Nick Taylor represents the best of a long vibrtant tradition in the English department at WCU.

Nick Taylor's books are available at bookstores across the country, in print and e-formats

They may be purchased, for example, from WCU's local independent bookseller: City Lights Bookstore 

See a complete list of Nick Taylor's works at his web site:





Bass Wars: A Story of Fishing Fame and Fortune

John Glenn: A Memoir




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