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WCU Stories

English, literature professor honored for contributions to Eudora Welty scholarship

By Geoff Cantrell

Mae Miller Claxton, an English professor at Western Carolina University, has won the Phoenix Award for Distinguished Achievement by the Eudora Welty Society.

mae claxton

Mae Claxton

The award recognizes outstanding contributions to the field of studies of the Pulitzer Prize winning author, whose work spans the 20th century. Welty, who died in 2001, wrote five novels and numerous short stories and essays in her lifetime, and is renowned for her Depression era photography. The society fosters scholarship and academic community among Welty scholars.

Claxton teaches Southern Appalachian and Native American literature at WCU, with scholarship focused on Welty, Ron Rash, Horace Kephart and Appalachian women writers. Some of her research and studies have examined the connections between Welty’s photography and fiction.

Claxton has written, contributed to, and served as editor for several books including “Conversations with Dorothy Allison,” a collection of interviews with the contemporary author; “Conversations with Ron Rash” about her WCU colleague and best-selling author; and with George Frizzell, retired archivist of Special Collections at Hunter Library, a collection of writings by Horace Kephart, an outdoorsman, writer and advocate for establishing Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

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