Grimsley named winner of NCLR’s John Ehle Prize for interview with Moira Crone

The North Carolina Literary Review (NCLR) has awarded the second John Ehle Prize to Jim Grimsley for his interview with Goldsboro native Moira Crone, “The Cartography of Moira Crone: Mapping Visionary Fiction and Fantastic Futures.”

Grimsley will receive $250, and the interview will be featured in the 2020 print issue, due out this summer.

Grimsley’s subject, Moira Crone, was born and raised in Goldsboro but now lives in New Orleans with her husband, the poet Rodger Kamenetz. After almost 30 years teaching at LSU, Crone is retired but still actively writing, and her eastern North Carolina roots continue to inspire her writing.

Jim Grimsley

Jim Grimsley
(Contributed Photo)

Grimsley is a native of North Carolina who recently retired from Emory University and returned to his home state to settle in Goldsboro. During his years in Atlanta, he was also a playwright in residence at 7 Stages Theatre. Like his interview subject, he publishes in several genres, including drama, literary fiction, science fiction and memoir. His debut novel, “Winter Birds,” won the 1995 Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and a PEN/Hemingway Award citation. His collection of plays, “Mr. Universe and Other Plays,” was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award in drama. His most recent book is his memoir, “How I Shed My Skin: Unlearning the Racist Lessons of a Southern Childhood.” An interview with Grimsley and an essay about his play “Mr. Universe” were published in NCLR 2009. A short story by Grimsley was also published in NCLR 2016 and an essay in NCLR 2012.

Award-winning writer Elaine Neil Orr was this year’s judge. She explained her choice of Grimsley’s interview for the prize: “The interviewer offers nuanced, probing questions that betray a tender affection for and deep knowledge of the craft of fiction. … Moira Crone’s responses to these questions stun and delight. Her commentary on the search for ‘the tiny content,’ the ‘glimpse’ of content that is the miraculous yield of full immersion in writing had me clapping with joy. The interviewer’s and Ms. Crone’s discussion of the ‘lyric quality’ of prose, the way the writer is ‘delicately brushing against moments, revealing their essence’ took my breath away. I read the interview twice and hope to read it at least once a year to remember why, after all, I keep writing.”

Orr is a literary scholar, creative writer and professor of English at North Carolina State University. She also serves on the faculty of the creative writing program at Spalding University. She is the author of two novels, “Swimming Between Worlds” and “A Different Sun,” and the memoir, “Gods of Noonday,” as well as the scholarly books “Subject to Negotiation: Reading Feminist Criticism and American Women’s Fictions” and “Tillie Olsen and a Feminist Spiritual Vision.”

The John Ehle Prize was created by NCLR Editor Margaret Bauer, Press 53 Editor and owner Kevin Watson, and Ehle scholar and friend Terry Roberts in consultation with Ehle’s widow, Rosemary Harris, to honor the late writer’s contributions to North Carolina’s rich literary history. The prize is given in recognition of scholarship on or interviews with forgotten or neglected North Carolina writers that have been accepted for publication in NCLR. Under blind review, Orr selected the interview from several qualifying works. This year’s prize funding was provided by Roberts, a novelist and literary scholar.

To read Grimsley’s interview and other works to be published in this year’s issue, subscribe to the North Carolina Literary Review. For more information on the John Ehle Prize and other submission guidelines, visit


-Contact: Margaret Bauer, NCLR editor,, 252-328-1537