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WINSTON-SALEM—This November, the North Carolina Writers’ Network will launch a new annual contest to honor the best in short prose by African-American writers in North Carolina.

The Jacobs/Jones African-American Literary Prize, named for two pioneering African-American writers from North Carolina, will be open to short works of fiction and creative nonfiction. The winner will receive $1,000 and possible publication of their winning entry in The Carolina Quarterly.

This award was initiated by Cedric Brown, a Winston-Salem native and graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Though Brown has lived in California the last three decades, he has “deep roots, an abiding love, and a cute little house in the Tar Heel State,” he said.

“The literary award was borne out of my frustration with being unable to readily find much fiction or creative nonfiction that conveys the rich and varied existence of Black North Carolinians,” Brown said. “I wanted to incentivize the development of written works while also encouraging Black writers to capture our lives through storytelling.”

The contest, sponsored by the NCWN and administered by the Creative Writing Program at UNC-Chapel Hill, is open to any African-American writer whose primary residence is in North Carolina. Entries may be fiction or creative nonfiction, but must not have been published before (including on any website, blog, or social media), and must be no more than 3,000 words.

The full competition guidelines are listed below and can be found at www.ncwriters.org.

The final judge of the inaugural Jacobs/Jones contest will be the acclaimed author Rion Amilcar Scott. Scott’s short-story collection, Insurrections, was awarded the 2017 PEN/Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction and the 2017 Hillsdale Award from the Fellowship of Southern Writers. His work has been published in journals such as The Kenyon Review, Crab Orchard Review, and The Rumpus, among others. The World Doesn't Require You, his sophomore story collection, is forthcoming from Liveright.

The Jacobs/Jones African-American Literary Prize honors the nineteenth-century writers Harriet Jacobs and Thomas H. Jones. Jacobs was born in 1813 near Edenton, escaping to Philadelphia in 1842, after hiding for seven years in a crawl space above her grandmother’s ceiling. She published her autobiography, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, under a pseudonym in 1861. Jacobs died in 1897 and was inducted into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame in 1997.

Jones was born into slavery near Wilmington in 1806. Able to purchase the freedom of his wife and all but one of his children, he followed them north in 1849 by stowing away on a brig to New York. In the northeast and in Canada, he spoke as a preacher and abolitionist, writing his memoir, The Experience of Thomas Jones, in 1854, as a way to raise funds to buy his eldest child’s freedom.

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

 

JACOBS/JONES AFRICAN-AMERICAN LITERARY PRIZE

Postmark Deadline: January 2 (annual)
Submissions Accepted: November 1 – January 2

The Jacobs/Jones African-American Literary Prize honors Harriet Jacobs and Thomas Jones, two pioneering African-American writers from North Carolina, and seeks to convey the rich and varied existence of Black North Carolinians. The contest is administered by the Creative Writing Program at UNC-Chapel Hill. The winner receives $1,000 and possible publication of the winning entry in The Carolina Quarterly.

Eligibility and Guidelines

  • The competition is open to any African-American writer whose primary residence is in North Carolina.
  • Entries may be fiction or creative nonfiction, but must be unpublished, no more than 3,000 words, and concerned with the lives and experiences of North Carolina African-Americans. Entries may be excerpts from longer works, but must be self-contained. Entries will be judged on literary merit.
  • An entry fee must accompany each submission: $10 for NCWN members, $20 for nonmembers. You may submit multiple entries, but the correct fee must accompany each one.
  • You may pay the members’ entry fee if you join the NCWN when you submit.
  • Simultaneous submissions are accepted, but please notify us immediately if your work is accepted elsewhere.
  • If submitting by mail, submit two copies of an unpublished manuscript, not to exceed 3,000 words, on single-sided pages, double-spaced, in black 12-point Times New Roman font, with 1-inch margins.
  • The author’s name should not appear on the manuscript. Instead, include a separate cover sheet with name, address, phone number, e-mail address, word count, and manuscript title.
  • To submit by USPS:

Jacobs/Jones African-American Literary Prize
UNC Creative Writing Program
Attn: Anita Braxton
Greenlaw Hall, CB#3520
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3520

  • To submit online, go to https://ncwriters.submittable.com/submit. Submittable will collect your entry fee via credit card ($10 NCWN members / $20 nonmembers). (If submitting online, do not include a cover sheet with your document; Submittable will collect and record your name and contact information.)
  • Entries will not be returned.
  • The winner will be announced in February.

For questions, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

DURHAM—Shervon Cassim has been elected President of the North Carolina Writers' Network Board of Trustees.

Shervon replaces Margaret Dardess who served as president for many years. The Network flourished under her leadership, and she will remain on the Board.

Shervon Cassim is a writer and lawyer who was born and raised in Dubai. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from North Carolina State University, where he teaches fiction writing.

"North Carolina is the kind of place where you can take a class with an award-winning poet or bump into a bestselling memoirist at your local grocery store," Shervon says. "We have a proud record of nurturing homegrown writers and enticing those from outside to make North Carolina their home. Our publishers are sought-after, and our bookstores—full of books written by our friends, neighbors, and teachers—reflect and affirm the value we place on writing and literature."

Margaret Dardess graduated from Connecticut College and studied Japanese history at Columbia University. After a brief teaching career, she went on to tackle the law. When she finally stopped going to school, she set off on a journey, masquerading as an international trade lawyer, a corporate executive and a university administrator until at last she cast her parents’ warnings to the wind and began to write. Her debut novel is the thriller Brutal Silence.

Shervon joined the Board in 2016 and was a panelist at the NCWN 2016 Fall Conference in Raleigh.

The North Carolina Writers' Network connects, promotes, and serves the writers of this state. It provides education in the craft and business of writing, opportunities for recognition and critique of literary work, resources for writers at all stages of development, support for and advocacy of the literary heritage of North Carolina, and a community for those who write. The North Carolina Writers’ Network believes that writing is necessary both for self-expression and a healthy community, that well-written words can connect people across time and distance, and that the deeply satisfying experiences of writing and reading should be available to everyone.

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.

 

RALEIGH—Registration for the 2018 Squire Summer Writing Workshops closes July 5. Why not register now so you can celebrate Independence Day worry-free? 

The Squire Workshops, which allow writers to focus on one genre with one instructor in a small-group setting over the course of the weekend, run Thursday—Sunday, July 19-22 on the campus of North Carolina State University in Raleigh.

Register now.

The Squire Summer Writing Workshops offer an intensive course in a chosen genre (fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry), with ten ninety-minute sessions over the four days of the program. Space in each workshop is limited, so that registrants can work in-depth on their own manuscript samples, as well as their colleagues’, while also studying the principles of the genre with their instructor.

Paul Cuadros, author of A Home on the Field, will lead the creative nonfiction workshop "Storytelling from a Point of Truth." Rob Greene, editor of Raleigh Review, will lead the workshop in poetry, "Poems of Experience." Elaine Neil Orr, author of the novels A Different Sun and the forthcoming Swimming Between Worlds, will lead the fiction workshop "From Character to Plot to Atmosphere in Fiction."

“The Squire Summer Writing Workshops introduced me to NCWN, and that connection has been key for me,” said Janet Ford, winner of the 2017 Guy Owen Prize from Southern Poetry Review. “Through this organization, I have discovered the members of my writing group, as well as the Spring and Fall Conferences and many meaningful opportunities to publish and read.”

The Opening Session on Thursday evening will give writers the opportunity to rewrite North Carolina's official State Toast, "Here's to the Old North State."

Friday evening will offer a panel discussion, "The Cross-Pollination Between Page and Stage," featuring distinguished playwrights Ian Finley and June Guralnick, as well as screenwriter Ellen Shepherd.

The long weekend also includes faculty readings, open mics, and the opportunity to purchase books by faculty and attendees.

There will be a celebratory dinner on Saturday night.

 Paul Cuadros is an associate professor in the School of Journalism & Mass Communication at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, as well as the chair of the UNC Scholars’ Latino Initiative, a college mentoring and preparatory program for Latino high school students at six local public high schools. He is an award-winning investigative reporter and author whose work has appeared in The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Time Magazine, Salon.com, The Chicago Reporter, and other national and local publications. His book A Home on the Field: How One Championship Team Inspires Hope for the Revival of Small Town America (Harpers Collins), which tells the story of Siler City as it copes and struggles with Latino immigration through the lives of a predominantly Latino high school soccer team, has been required summer reading for undergraduates at UNC-Chapel Hill and several other colleges and universities. In 2014, the book was adapted into the television documentary series Los Jets, produced by Jennifer Lopez and her production company, Nuyorican Productions, Inc. Cuadros is currently working on another book about the Latino community in the American South.

Rob Greene is the editor of Raleigh Review, and he has lived in Raleigh for much of the last two decades. Prior to this he had relocated forty-six times. Greene taught poetry writing at NC State University as a graduate student while earning his Master of Fine Arts. For the past five years he has taught at Louisburg College, where he serves as the advisor for Lou Lit Review. This fall, Greene will begin work on his research Ph.D in creative writing at University of Birmingham (United Kingdom) via distance education. His own poems have been recently published in Open Minds Quarterly, Great River Review, War: Literature & the Arts, and in the Berlin-based annual Herzattacke. His first chapbook, Biloxi Back Bay (Rabbit House Press), was published in early 2017.

Elaine Neil Orr writes fiction, memoir, and literary criticism. Swimming Between Worlds, her newest novel, is described by Charles Frazier as “a perceptive and powerful story told with generosity and grace.” In a starred review, Library Journal said of Orr’s last novel, A Different Sun, “this extraordinary novel shines with light and depth.” Her memoir, Gods of Noonday: A White Girl’s African Life, was a Top-20 Book Sense selection and a nominee for the Old North State Award. She is associate editor of a collection of essays on international childhoods, Writing Out of Limbo, and the author of two scholarly books. In 2016, she was Kathryn Stripling Byer Writer-in-Residence at Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia. Orr has published extensively in literary magazines including The Missouri Review, Blackbird, Shenandoah, and Image Journal. She has received grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the North Carolina Arts Council, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.

“Because the pace of the weekend is slower, participants tend to build strong bonds with one another,” said NCWN communications director Charles Fiore. “There's space in the schedule for writing, and reading, and going to meals together, and there's plenty of time for sitting around and talking about all the things that inspire us.”

Register now at www.ncwriters.org.

 

 
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