Media Advisory: Wake Forest University establishes Writers Hall of Fame

Fifteen alumni have been installed as the inaugural inductees into the Wake Forest University Writers’ Hall of Fame during the Words Awake! conference banquet on campus on Saturday, March 24.

“Our Hall of Fame honorees exemplify the commitment to writing that helped make a difference in the lives of their readers,” said Tom Phillips, director of the Wake Forest Scholars program and Words Awake! Committee chair. “We hope that calling attention to their careers and lives will inspire current and future writers through their example.”

The Hall of Fame inductees are:

  • A.R. “Archie” Ammons (BA 1949) Ammons is one of the premiere American poets of the twentieth century and winner of two National Book Awards, the National Book Critics Award and the Bollingen Prize. He was also poet in residence at Wake Forest University 1974-75.
  • Maya Angelou (LHD 1977) Angelou is a world-renowned poet, novelist, memoirist, actress, screenwriter, teacher and activist. She is the recipient of more than twenty honorary degrees. She is Reynolds Professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University.
  • Elizabeth Jones Brantley (BA 1944) A feature writer for North Carolina newspapers and national magazines, Brantley and her spouse, Russell, developed and ran the Wake Forest News Bureau for 35 years. She is one of the first women graduates of Wake Forest University.
  • Russell Brantley (BA 1945) Novelist, poet, reporter, editor and feature writer, Brantley also served as managing editor at the Durham Morning News. He and his spouse Elizabeth founded the Wake Forest News Bureau. He is a recipient of the Wake Forest Medallion of Merit.
  • Will Campbell (BA 1948) Theologian, pastor, university official, writer and social activist, Campbell used his position as director of the Committee of Southern Churchmen to comment on the intersections between faith and social conscience.
  • Joseph Wilbur “WJ” Cash (BA 1922) Journalist and social critic, Cash was an editor and writer at several newspapers, including his own in Shelby, the Charlotte News and The American Mercury. Winner of a Guggenheim Fellowship, Cash was also nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for reporting on World War II.
  • Edgar Estes Folk, Jr. (BA 1921) Reporter for several newspapers including the New York Herald Tribune, Folk created the journalism program at Wake Forest University and served as Professor of modern literature for more than three decades.
  • Harold Hayes (BA 1948) Editor of Esquire magazine 1963-73, Hayes nurtured what became known as New Journalism. He recruited and developed the careers of a generation of seminar writers, designers, graphic artists and photographers.
  • Albert Hunt, Jr. (BA 1965) Congressional and national reporter, Washington bureau chief and executive editor of the Wall Street Journal, Hunt also helped launch Bloomberg News Washington. He received the Allen H. Neuharth and William Allen White awards for journalism excellence.
  • Gerald Johnson (BA 1911) Author of more than 40 books, columnist and Baltimore Sun editor, Johnson later wrote extensively for The New Republic.  He also served as speechwriter to presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson and became a noted historian. Johnson taught journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
  • John Charles McNeill (BA 1898) A lawyer and statesman who owned and wrote articles and editorials for the Argus of Lumberton, N.C, McNeill was the unofficial poet laureate of his day and the first winner of the Patterson cup for literary excellence by a North Carolinian.
  • Bynum Shaw (BA 1948) Reporter, Washington and foreign affairs correspondent and editorial writer for the Baltimore Sun, Shaw was a long-time professor of journalism at Wake Forest.
  • Laurence Stallings (BA 1916) Reporter, critic, novelist, dramatist and screenwriter, Stallings was an integral part of the burgeoning Broadway and Hollywood cultures of the 1920’s through the 1950’s.
  • Edwin G. Wilson (BA 1943) Wilson served the literary and broader communities as teacher to generations of Wake Forest students, champion of campus publications and chronicler of Wake Forest people and their lives. Awarded the North Carolina Award and several honorary degrees, Wilson’s tenure includes professor of English, Dean and Provost.
  • Emily Herring Wilson (MA 1962) Earning critical acclaim as a poet, editor, biographer, literary historian and publisher, Wilson won the North Carolina Award, the Caldwell Award and was a McDowell Colony Fellow. She taught writing at Salem College and other institutions to generations of students and has been a literary influence in North Carolina.

The Hall of Fame, with a gallery of the inductees, will find a permanent home outside the Writing Center in Z. Smith Reynolds Library. Those interested in learning more about their works can find a complete bibliography online.

About Wake Forest University:
Wake Forest University combines the best traditions of a small liberal arts college with the resources of a large research university. Founded in 1834, the school is located in Winston-Salem, N.C. The University’s graduate school of arts and sciences, divinity school, and nationally ranked schools of law, medicine and business enrich our intellectual environment. Learn more about Wake Forest University at

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