The John D. Voelker Foundation and the American Museum of Fly Fishing (AMFF) are pleased to announce the winner of the 2020 Robert Traver Fly-Fishing Writing Award: “Blue Lines” by Alexander Benoît. Mr. Benoît’s essay describes how he creates rough hand-drawn maps of places he has fly fished to help him remember those places and events and to tell stories. He describes a deep map of a fishing trip in Alaska to communicate the story to his ailing grandfather, who had once entertained him with stories of his own trip to Alaska years ago.
The winning entry will receive a $2,500 prize and be published in the Spring 2021 edition of the American Fly Fisher, the journal of the American Museum of Fly Fishing.
Alexander Benoît is a high school and middle school teacher at Greenfield School in Wilson, North Carolina. He lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. “It’s an honor to receive the Robert Traver FlyFishing Writing Award and I look forward to seeing my story in the American Fly Fisher,” Mr. Benoît said. “I’d like to thank my grandfather and my family for providing the inspiration to write this story.”
The Traver Award judges also bestowed Honorable Mention recognition on two other entries:
“The Best Fish I Ever Caught” by David Gray-Clough of North Yorkshire, UK
“Grace Note” by Michael Thane of Hingham, Massachusetts The 2020 competition drew a field of 60 entries. Entries were judged anonymously to narrow the pool down to seven finalists. The other four finalists were:
“Caddis Flats” by Trigg White of Allenspark, Colorado
“Homecoming” by Robert H. Miller of Louisville, Kentucky
“The Mertrout” by Jon Tobey of Duvall, Washington
“A Small Act of Reverence” by Anthony Lavers of Oxford, UK
The Traver Award is named after Robert Traver, pen name for the late John Voelker, author of Trout Madness, Trout Magic, Anatomy of a Fisherman, the 1958 bestseller Anatomy of a Murder, and the fine historical novel Laughing Whitefish.
The Traver Award was created in 1994 to encourage and recognize “distinguished original stories or essays that embody the implicit love of fly fishing, respect for the sport, and the natural world in which it takes place.” The Traver stories and essays must demonstrate high literary values in one or more of these three categories:
A. The joy of fly fishing: personal and philosophic experience
B. Ecology: knowledge and protection of the natural world
C. Humor: piscatorial friendships and fun on the water
Since 1994, twenty-one Traver awards have been given for winning entries.
To learn more about the annual contest and this year’s winners, discover them here!