Degrees, Honors & Awards
- BA in Journalism, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 1959.
- MA in English, University of Iowa, 1968.
- Ph.D. in English, University of Iowa, 1971.
- Fellow, Center for Advanced Studies, University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, 1972.
- National Endowment for the Arts grant for fiction writing, 1974.
- John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship for fiction writing, 1975.
- American Specialist in Brazil for USIS, 1976.
- National Endowment for the Arts grant for libretto writing, 1977.
- National Book Award nominee for The Odd Woman, 1974.
- American Book Award nominee for Violet Clay, 1980.
- American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, Award in Literature, 1981.
- National Book Award nominee for A Mother and Two Daughters, 1982.
- Editor of The Best American Short Stories, 1985.
- Chairman of National Book Award Judges, 1986.
- Janet Heidiger Kafka Award from the University of Rochester for A Southern Family, 1987.
- Western North Carolina Historical Association's Thomas Wolfe Memorial Award for A Southern Family, 1987.
- Distinguished Alumna award from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1988.
- Inducted into the Fellowship of Southern Writers, 1997.
Honorary Doctorates from:
- The University of North Carolina at Greensboro
- The University of North Carolina at Asheville
- The State University of New York at New Paltz
- The University of the South, Sewanee
- Honorary Doctor of Divinity, General Theological Seminary, NY