Incoming first-year student Madeline “Maddie” Norris of Columbia, S.C., has been awarded a 2013 Thomas Wolfe Scholarship, a full four-year merit scholarship in creative writing, to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Norris graduated from Heathwood Hall Episcopal School. She won a 2012 Scholastic Art and Writing Award honorable mention for “flash fiction” from The Alliance for Young Artists and Writers. The nonprofit organization identifies teenage writers with exceptional talent. Previous Scholastic winners include such celebrated writers as Truman Capote, Joyce Carol Oates and Sylvia Plath.
Norris participated in a memoir writing class at Vanderbilt Summer Academy and attended the France Language School in Nice. She enjoys writing creative nonfiction, fiction and poetry and counts J.D. Salinger, Ernest Hemingway and Vladimir Nabokov among her favorite authors.
“I don’t write because I want to. I write because I have to, because I would be driven to madness if I didn’t …” Norris wrote in her scholarship application. “… If I didn’t write, I would lose the clothing of my flesh and sanity. So I write. I write because I am hopelessly human.”
Marianne Gingher, Bowman and Gordon Gray Professor of English and co-director of the scholarship program, said she was deeply moved by Norris’ writing.
“Her clear and graceful prose struck our entire advisory board as confident, tender, wise, and radiant — much like Maddie herself, in person,” Gingher said. “She is only our second Thomas Wolfe Scholar to achieve that designation by submitting a work of nonfiction. We in creative writing are thrilled to have her join our community and believe she will thrive as a writer and student at UNC.”
The scholarship program was established in 2001 with a gift to UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences from alumnus Frank Borden Hanes Sr. of Winston-Salem. It honors Carolina graduate Thomas Wolfe, best known for his 1929 novel, “Look Homeward, Angel.”