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NC Literary Hall of Fame

 

 

 

Raleigh―Shelby Stephenson, of Benson, has been named North Carolina’s eighth Poet Laureate.

Stephenson was inducted into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame in October. He was an English professor at UNC Pembroke and editor of Pembroke Magazine until his retirement in 2010. Winner of numerous awards, including the 2001 North Carolina Award in Literature, he has published many collections of poems. Family Matters: Homage to July, the Slave Girl, won the 2008 Bellday Poetry Prize; his newest poetry chapbook is Steal Away (Jacar Press).

"This is great news for North Carolina,” said Ed Southern, Executive Director of the North Carolina Writers’ Network. “Even if I had never been to Johnston County, or anywhere east of Burlington, I would have a clear picture of it in my mind, just from having read Shelby's poetry. Shelby himself is warm and generous, almost to a fault. Our state and its writers could ask for no better ambassador."

The poet laureate is appointed by the governor of North Carolina and typically serves a two-year term, renewable at the governor’s discretion. Each state poet laureate usually shapes the position based on his or her own strengths through a long-term project or program of special interest.

Stephenson plans to implement three programs during his time as poet laureate: leading writing workshops in assisted living and retirement homes; raising awareness of using archives; and promoting writing about farming.

The North Carolina poet laureate acts as an ambassador of NC literature, using the office as a platform from which to promote NC writers and the potentially transformative qualities of poetry and the written word. Stephenson was chosen after a panel of literary experts, and state Department of Cultural Resources Secretary Susan Kluttz, reviewed nominations.

He will be installed at a ceremony in February.

“I think the choice is brilliant, and I am rejoicing in the news,” former state poet laureate Kathryn Stripling Byer said. “Shelby is a longtime friend, a powerful voice in North Carolina literature. A singer, an old-time raconteur, a poet attuned to the rhythms of our state and its people. I offer my joyful congratulations to one of our state's literary treasures. This is a splendid Christmas gift to North Carolinians, all of us. And for those who keep saying they don't like poetry, just wait till you hear Shelby. You will change your mind in a flash.”

To watch a video of Stephenson entertaining the 2014 Squire Summer Writing Residency with songs on his guitar, click here.

To watch Stephenson read from his collection, Family Matters: Homage to July, the Slave Girl, click here.

To watch Barbara Braveboy-Locklear read his poem, “Their Praise,” click here.

Learn more about Stephenson on his website, www.shelbystephenson.com.

 

ASHEVILLE—The Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize, which awards the winner $1,000 and possible publication in The Thomas Wolfe Review, is now open for submissions. The deadline is January 30.

The Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize honors internationally celebrated North Carolina novelist and North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame inductee Thomas Wolfe. The prize is administered by Tommy Hays and the Great Smokies Writing Program at the University of North Carolina at Asheville.

The competition is open to all writers regardless of geographical location or prior publication. Contestants should submit two copies of an unpublished fiction manuscript not to exceed 12 double-spaced, single-sided pages (1" margins, 12-pt. font).

Lee Smith will be the final judge. Smith, a 2008 inductee of the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame, is a New York Times bestselling author and longtime professor of creative writing at North Carolina State University. Her novels include Fair and Tender Ladies, The Last Girls, and most recently, Guests on Earth. She is the recipient of two O. Henry Awards for her short stories, two Sir Walter Raleigh Awards, the North Carolina Award for Literature, the Robert Penn Warren Prize for Fiction, and the Southern Book Critics Circle Award, among many others. She is a member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers.

“Place is extraordinarily important to most Southern writers, much more so than to writers in other parts of the country,” Smith, who was born in the Appalachian Mountains, has said. “Personally, I’m so tied to place that I cannot even imagine a story without drawing a map of it first. I have to create the physical world before I can populate it with my characters. I have to make a whole world for them to walk around in.”

Susan Levi Wallach of Columbia, South Carolina, and Jude Whelchel of Asheville were co-winners of the 2014 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize for their stories “A Still Life” and “Mother in a Boneyard World,” respectively. Gary V. Powell of Lake Norman received an honorable mention for “Rusty Luvs Suzie."

The Great Smokies Writing Program is a joint effort between the UNC-Asheville departments of Literature and Language, Creative Writing and the Office of Professional Education. The program offers opportunities for writers of all levels to join a supportive learning community in which their skills and talents can be explored, practiced, and forged under the careful eye of professional writers. The program is committed to providing the community with affordable university-level classes led by published writers and experienced teachers. Each course carries academic credit awarded through UNC-Asheville.

Here are the guidelines for the 2015 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Competition:

  • The competition is open to all writers regardless of geographical location or prior publication.
  • Submit two copies of an unpublished fiction manuscript not to exceed 12 double-spaced, single-sided pages (1" margins, 12-pt. font).
  • Author's name should not appear on manuscripts. Instead, include a separate cover sheet with name, address, phone number, e-mail address, word count, and manuscript title. (If submitting online, do not include a cover sheet with your document; Submittable will collect and record your name and contact information.)
  • An entry fee must accompany the manuscript: $15 for NCWN members, $25 for nonmembers.
  • You may pay the member entry fee if you join the NCWN with your submission. Checks should be made payable to the North Carolina Writers’ Network.
  • Entries will not be returned.
  • The winner is announced each April.
  • To submit online, go to https://ncwriters.submittable.com/submit. Submittable will collect your entry fee via credit card ($15 NCWN members / $25 non-members).
  • To submit by regular mail:

Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize
Great Smokies Writing Program
Attn: Nancy Williams
CPO #1860
UNC Asheville, NC 28805

The nonprofit North Carolina Writers’ Network is the state’s oldest and largest literary arts services organization devoted to writers at all stages of development. For additional information, visit www.ncwriters.org.

 

WINSTON-SALEM―November 15 officially marked the start of Contest Season for the North Carolina Writers’ Network. Between now and March 1, four annual contests will accept submissions. Winners and finalists will be awarded more than $3,000 in cash prizes. Submission dates and guidelines vary.

North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame inductee Thomas Wolfe is one of the Tar Heel State’s most widely recognized authors. His life and work are celebrated by the The Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize, which is now open for submissions and runs through January 30. The Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize is facilitated by Tommy Hays and the Great Smokies Writing Program

Lee Smith, a 2008 inductee of the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame, is the final judge. The winner of the Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize receives $1,000 and possible publication in The Thomas Wolfe Review.

The Rose Post Creative Nonfiction Competition encourages the creation of lasting nonfiction that is outside the realm of conventional journalism and has relevance to North Carolinians. Subjects may include traditional categories such as reviews, travel articles, profiles or interviews, place/history pieces, or culture criticism. The first-, second-, and third-place winners will receive $1,000, $300, and $200 respectively. The winning entry will be considered for publication by Southern Cultures magazine.

Submissions for the Rose Post Creative Nonfiction Competition are open now through January 17. The final judge is Wilmington travel, culinary, and culture writer, Jason Frye.

Author and beloved professor of creative writing Doris Betts, a 2004 inductee of the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame, is honored each year by the Doris Betts Fiction Prize. This competition opens for submissions on January 1 and closes February 15. The first-place finisher receives $250; up to ten finalists will be considered for publication in the North Carolina Literary Review, which also facilitates this contest.

Contest Season concludes with the Randall Jarrell Poetry Competition, accepting submissions between January 15 and March 1. The Randall Jarrell Poetry Competition, which honors North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame poet Randall Jarrell, awards the winner publication in storySouth and $200. This prize is facilitated by the MFA in Creative Writing Program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Guidelines and past winners for each contest can be found on the individual contest pages. Click here for general information on Contest Season and links to the four annual contests.

The nonprofit North Carolina Writers’ Network is the state’s oldest and largest literary arts services organization devoted to writers at all stages of development. For additional information, visit www.ncwriters.org.

 

 
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