About Linda Flowers

About Linda Flowers

In 2000 a colleague eulogized that Linda Flowers  was a “woman who loved the felicitously written word." Another colleague at her funeral remembered her “tenacious” commitment to truth-telling, “not being polite, but telling the truth."

With the annual Linda Flowers Literary award, the North Carolina Humanities Council honors a humanist, professor and writer who achieved the extraordinary despite extraordinary odds.  The award recognizes people writing now who care, as Flowers did, about writing truthfully and well.

Born of tenant farmers in Duplin County, NC, Flowers earned an undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She went on to receive post-graduate degrees from Ohio State University (M.A.) and the University of Rochester (M.A., Ph.D.). She was a fellow at the Folger Library in Washington, DC, in 1977, and arrived at North Carolina Wesleyan College in Rocky Mount in 1980, where she became professor of English, served as chairman of the English department, chairman of the faculty, and ran the Visiting Writers' Series, among much other service and leadership she gave to both college and community. She was on the executive committee of the North Carolina Humanities Council, and she was also a member of the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation.

Flowers reflected on her experience with cancer in “I Have Come Home,” published in the Humanities Council’s NC Crossroads (May 1999). Throwed Away: Failures of Progress in Eastern North Carolina was published in 1993.

Excerpt from Throwed Away

“But these are proud people. Throwed away they may be, but it won't do to count them out. Men and women who have seen how, in the 1960s, machines pushed up the demand for land, even as they made farm laborers increasingly obsolescent, who have experienced the breakup of smalltime agriculture, yet who have kept going nonetheless, kept looking ahead--they know they're up against a hard time, but they know, too, they'll make it somehow: they always have. Business is business, and if people still matter less than profits, why they've always known that.”