Out of a field of 27 nominees, Rogers was one of four winners. (Irene Honeycutt, CPCC professor, poet and 2000 recipient of the fellowship, nominated Rogers). The fellowships are awarded without the expectation of completing a specific project.
"I was completely surprised to get it"(the fellowship), said Rogers. "This is just momentous. Five thousand dollars may not be a lot of money to a banker, but it's a hell of a lot for a writer; to me it's like winning the lottery. I feel an obligation to do something worthwhile with it."
Rogers said that worthwhile endeavor entails putting together a book about food; the book will consist of essays, recipes and stories from all across the Carolinas. Plans are to publish the book under the Novello Festival Press imprint which, by the way, Rogers co-founded with another Charlotte writer and CL contributor, Frye Gaillard.
In addition to freeing up some of her time to pursue the book project, Rogers says the fellowship also represents some long overdue respect and recognition for what she calls the "literary arts."
"I think it's important for people to start recognizing that there are literary arts just like there are performing arts and visual arts," Rogers said. "Writing is a solitary pursuit, but there are so many ways in which it touches and enhances a community. And within literary arts, non-fiction writing is the least understood and appreciated, so this is just doubly affirming for me. People often assume we just churn out factoids that fall out of the sky. I've always made the case that, in a lot of ways, non-fiction is the most creative of the literary forms because you can't make anything up. You've got to work with what you have."