UNC Asheville Announces 2018 Ramsey Library Community Author Award Recipient: Alli Marshall

Featured image: 
Alli Marshall by Vickie Burick Photography

Local writer, poet and journalist Alli Marshall has been named the 2018 UNC Asheville Ramsey Library Community Author Award (RCLAA). The award provides a writer in Western North Carolina with a yearlong residency in UNC Asheville’s Ramsey Library, with a courtesy faculty appointment that provides a library study carrel and other campus resources. The residency will run through December 2018, and will culminate in an opportunity for Marshall to showcase her work at a campus reading.

Marshall is the arts & entertainment section editor for Mountain Xpress, where she has worked since 2004. She is the author of How to Talk to Rockstars, the chapbook It All Comes Rushing Back: Essays on Love, and the zines Curb Service Gospel and Sleeping on Rooftops. Her work has been published in Fredericksburg Literary & Art Review, Shuffle, Blurt! and Our State, among many others. She has won numerous awards for her fiction, including the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the 2016 Shrewd Writer Award, as well as awards for her journalism.

Marshall hopes to use her time as the Ramsey Library Community Author to work on “taking poetry off the page.” She is currently at work on a performance for Black Mountain College’s annual (Re)Happening event, which combines her 12-poem cycle following the hero’s journey with music and dance. “I have an idea about a collaborative spoken word show that uses mythology to examine themes of contemporary politics and climate change, and I plan to delve into research for those pieces,” Marshall said.

“Using mythology — stories we all know — as a base is a great way to connect with artists of other disciplines because we can have a common vocabulary and themes running through the work,” Marshall said. “I’m not exactly sure how the collaboration process will shake out during the residency, but centering it on the residency opens a lot of possibilities for collaborators who are connected to the university.”

Marshall hopes to write and complete at least one performance piece during her residency, as well as finalize a collection of poems for submission for publication as a chapbook. She also plans to use the university’s collection of historic photos and writings to inspire other work.

"Alli Marshall has been a fixture in the Asheville literary community for years, so much so that her name seems synonymous with the term 'literary Asheville.' Her writing, whether it be poetry, fiction or essays, is expansive yet polished, and it possesses a voice that is clearly her own,” said UNC Asheville Writer-In-Residence, alumnus and bestselling author Wiley Cash. “I'm thrilled that the Ramsey Library Community Author Award will offer her the space to spread out and focus on her creative writing when she's not covering the work of other talented writers in our community through her post as arts editor at Mountain Xpress. She's long been invaluable to the Asheville literary community. I look forward to her bringing her voice and talent to the campus of UNC Asheville.”

Submissions for the Ramsey Library Community Author Award were judged by a committee, including Cash. Award-winning North Carolina poet Jaki Shelton Green, former poet laureate of North Carolina, served as the final judge for the award.

For more information about the Ramsey Library Community Author Award, visit library.unca.edu/RLCAA.

photo by Vickie Burick Photography