Asheville – The longtime Asheville residence of Wilma Dykeman (1920-2006), one of Appalachia’s foremost writers and conservationists, will become home to a new UNC Asheville Writers-in-Residence Program. The announcement was made in an online news conference held jointly by the University, the Wilma Dykeman Legacy (WDL), RiverLink, the Preservation Society of Asheville and Buncombe County, and the Western North Carolina Historical Association.
The Dykeman house at 189 Lynn Cove Road in Asheville is being donated to UNC Asheville for the purpose of housing the new Wilma Dykeman Writers-in-Residence Program, by local investor and philanthropist Ellen Carr, a member of the WDL board, who has worked with WDL founder and president Jim Stokely (Dykeman’s son), and his wife Anne Stokely on this project. The gifted house and property is subject to a Conservation Easement through RiverLink and Historical Preservation Easement through the Preservation Society of Asheville and Buncombe County.
“This is a program not just for writers, but for all of us who live here Asheville,” said UNC Asheville Chancellor Nancy J. Cable. “The Writers-in-Residence Program will allow writers through the spring semester, and summer, and even through the fall, to live in Wilma Dykeman’s original childhood home, located only several miles outside of the city of Asheville. We will bring writers who teach for an entire semester. We will bring writers, particularly during the summer, who may be here only for a weekend or for a week at a time, but having the privilege to live in the house.”
The new Wilma Dykeman Writers-in-Residence at UNC Asheville program will “support both the craft of writing and the interdisciplinary topics of enduring interest to Wilma Dykeman during her lifetime, including but not limited to the environment, social change, human relations, economics, biology, civil discourse, racial justice and women’s rights,” according to the memorandum of understanding between the WDL and the University. It is expected that the new Writer-in-Residence will live in and work from the house, which has been largely unchanged since Dykeman’s death, with her furniture, typewriter and other objects remaining as inspirational reminders of her life and legacy.
An advisory board with members from UNC Asheville, the WDL, and Riverlink, will create and oversee the new program. UNC Asheville’s current Writer-in-Residence is alum and bestselling novelist Wiley Cash.
Quotes From The News Conference
UNC Asheville Chancellor Nancy J. Cable
“First among equals is Wilma Dykeman, as a writer well-known, having come from Asheville, though her career took her to places far and wide. Her works of fiction and non-fiction are treasured by so many of us who love the mountains, love the environment, and work very hard to understand the interplay of our environmental responsibilities to one another.”