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NC Literary Hall of Fame




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David McGuirtDavid McGuirt of Charlotte is the winner of the 2009 Doris Betts Fiction Prize for his story “Blind Faith.” McGuirt will receive a prize of $250 from the North Carolina Writers’ Network.

Noted for honorable mention are Marjorie Hudson’s “The High Life,” Melanie Raskin’s “Waiting for Azrael,” and Kuruvilla Verghese’s “A Life in the Shadow.” Of these three and the winning story, final judge Kat Meads said, “I thought the characterizations were solid, the descriptions economical but resonant, and the image linkage – whether symbolic or no – very well done.”

Meads says of McGuirt’s winning story, “‘Blind Faith’ is fiction that mercilessly observes and indicts by the means by which all good fiction indicts: plot, pacing, powerful imagery, and characters who stay with the reader long after the reading is finished.” She describes Verghese’s “A Life in the Shadow” as “an economical, dexterous tale of the plight of a Brahmin widow, age twenty-two, whose life is at the mercy and whim of others until she takes back control by the only means at her disposal: suicide.” Meads’ description for “The High Life” praises Hudson’s “hardscrabble story of a wise-beyond-his-years ‘thrown-away’ teen who manages to construct for himself something like a second family with the members of a traveling carnival … Dip’s angst, longing, and discoveries are effectively delivered in the staccato rhythms of lessons learned quickly – and painfully.” Of “Waiting for Azrael,” Meads “appreciates and applauds the humor of Raskin’s story and its characterizations, particularly brother Adrian.” Meads also noted Steve Mitchell’s “Platform,” “with its ‘I am the terrorist’ twist,” and Gregg Cusick’s “ambitious” “A Sensitive Dependence on Initial Conditions.”

Meads, an eastern North Carolina native now living in California, is the author of the short story collections Not Waving and Little Pockets of Alarm and the novels Sleep and The Invented Life of Kitty Duncan Benedict Roberts. She chose the winning stories from finalists selected by the North Carolina Literary Review from the original 106 submissions, up from 62 in 2008. Meads noted that she “was impressed by the quality of many of the finalists.”

The winning story will be published in the 2010 issue of the North Carolina Literary Review. Some of the finalists will also be invited by the NCLR editors to revise and resubmit for publication consideration. The 2008 Betts first- and second-place stories, as well as a play by and an interview with Kat Meads, will be in the 2009 issue of NCLR, due out this summer. For information on subscribing to NCLR, go to

Sharyn McCrumbGreensboro, NC – New York Times bestselling author Sharyn McCrumb will discuss “Keepers of the Legends: Writing about North Carolina” at  the 2009 North Carolina Writers’ Network Spring Conference, which takes place Saturday, April 25, from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. in the Elliott University Center at the University of North Carolina–Greensboro.

The annual event draws more than 100 writers for intensive workshops in fiction, creative nonfiction, playwriting, poetry, publishing, and public speaking, led by distinguished writing faculty from across the nation. This year’s conference will also feature a Publishing Panel with book and journal editors, a Faculty Reading, an Open Mike Reading for conference attendees, and “Lunch with an Author,” in which attendees share lunch and personal conversation with one of the authors on the faculty.

McCrumb is an award-winning Southern writer, best known for her Appalachian “Ballad” novels, set in the North Carolina/Tennessee mountains, including the New York Times Best Sellers She Walks These Hills and The Rosewood Casket. Her novels have won the Wilma Dykeman Award for Literature, the AWA Book of the Year Award, and the AWA Best Appalachian Novel.  A North Carolina native and a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, McCrumb has been named a “Virginia Woman of History” for literary achievement and has won the AWA Outstanding Contribution to Appalachian Literature Award.  A film of her novel The Rosewood Casket is currently in production.

Conference participants may select from a variety of half- and full-day workshops, including “Nowhere to Hide,” a creative nonfiction workshop with Sir Walter Raleigh Award-winning writer Lee Zacharias; “Local Atmospheres,” a poetry workshop with renowned poet David Roderick; “Writing Life Stories” with author Marianne Gingher, the former director of the Creative Writing Program at UNC-Chapel Hill; and “Playwriting Improv” with playwright Alan Cook. 

Other instructors include Quinn Dalton, Jack Riggs, and Valerie Nieman on fiction; Carolyn Beard Whitlow on poetry; Carol Roan on reading and speaking for an audience; and NCWN executive director Ed Southern on nonfiction.

Registration for the conference—made possible with support from the Center for Creative Writing in the Arts, UNC-Greensboro, and the North Carolina Arts Council—is $100 for Network members, $150 for non-members.

For more information and to see a full schedule click here

To register online via our secure server click here, or call (919) 251-9140 for more information.


"Writing the New South is a brilliant, exciting, and NECESSARY project---sign me up, count me in! The 'New South' is a cauldron of change, a fertile field of art, a proving ground  for new possibilities.  I can't wait to see what everyone has to say, and in what genres. This is a real opportunity for us all to deepen our understanding of where we live, who we are, and what we believe in."

--Lee Smith


Like it or not, North Carolinians are living in momentous times.

The state is home to two of the world’s largest military bases, as wars continue in Iraq and Afghanistan. The state was home to two of the nation’s largest banks, until one was sold to keep it from collapsing. The state once known as a bulwark for Republican presidential candidates voted Democratic in a record-setting election.

A state long known for explosive growth is in danger of losing jobs and population. A state long Red turned Blue, and elected its first female governor.

While no one can predict what will happen, every North Carolinian can and should record what has happened, and how it felt as it happened – especially North Carolina’s writers. It has been said that one cannot spit in North Carolina without hitting a writer. Here is an opportunity for all those writers to do something for the people of this state, something that can provide understanding and perhaps even comfort during these tumultuous times.

With the coming of the New Year, the North Carolina Writers’ Network will launch a program called “Writing the New South,” offering its members a platform to record and share their experiences and interpretations of living in North Carolina as North Carolina changes dramatically.

“Whether they do so through essays, short stories, poetry, or even letters or journals, we want our members to grapple with what’s going on in the state and in the world,” Ed Southern, executive director of the North Carolina Writers’ Network, said. “We are North Carolina writers living in a historic moment for North Carolina. We need to be writing about what’s happening around us, to us, to our families and friends and neighbors.”

The Network has created a special section on its website – - for submissions to Writing the New South. Network members can upload their poems, stories, essays, or other submissions. Each submission will be reviewed by qualified editors, and the best of the submissions will be displayed online. The Network is also in discussions to have the submissions compiled and published in book form.

“We’re looking for submissions, in whatever genre, that will approach the world around us with imagination, depth, and responsibility,” Southern said.

The first Writing the New South work, by award-winning novelist (and Network member) Lee Smith, is a “postcard” from Hillsborough, where Smith lives.

“Writing the New South is a brilliant, exciting, and necessary project … The ‘New South’ is a  cauldron of change, a fertile field of art, a proving ground  for new possibilities,” Smith said. “I can’t wait to see what everyone has to say, and in what genres. This is a real opportunity for us all to deepen our understanding of where we live, who we are, and what we believe in.”

Southern said, “In the tradition of the New Deal-era WPA Writers’ Project, the goal of Writing the New South is to show the essential and public value of our writers, while creating a record of, and a frame for understanding, our times.”


 “Writing the New South” Submission Guidelines


-       Authors must be current members of the North Carolina Writers’ Network.

-       Submissions must be no longer than 5,000 words.

-       Submissions may be in any genre: fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, drama, journalism, etc.

-       Submissions must deal with one (or both) of two themes:

1.       Current or recent events of historical significance (for example: gas shortage of fall 2008, 2008 election, 2008 financial crisis, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, etc.) as they relate to life in present-day North Carolina;

2.      Snapshots of life in a particular city or region of North Carolina, in 500 words or less.

-       Submissions do not have to be objective; however, submissions may not proselytize or attempt to convert readers to any particular viewpoint, political affiliation, or religion.

-       Submissions must be original and unpublished.

-       The Network reserves the right to reject any submission.

-       Accepted submissions will be considered for publication in a possible anthology.  By submitting their work to Writing the New South, authors agree to execute whatever steps are necessary in the event that their work is selected for such an anthology.




About the North Carolina Writers’ Network


Founded in 1985, the nonprofit North Carolina Writers’ Network is one of the largest statewide literary arts organization in the country. The mission of the North Carolina Writers’ Network is to connect, promote, and lead emerging writers and established writers through workshops, conferences, and other programs and services. The Network builds audiences for literature, advocates for the literary arts and for literacy, and provides information and support services for writers of all kinds and at all levels.

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