GREENVILLE—The 2019 Doris Betts Fiction Prize is now open for submissions.
The competition is for previously unpublished short stories up to 6,000 words and is open to any writer who is a legal resident of North Carolina or a member of the North Carolina Writers’ Network. North Carolina Literary Review subscribers with North Carolina connections (lives or has lived in NC) are also eligible.
The winner receives $250 and publication in North Carolina Literary Review. The postmark deadline is February 15.
To submit, click here.
This year's final judge is Ben Fountain.
Fountain was born in Chapel Hill and grew up in the tobacco country of eastern North Carolina. A former practicing attorney, he is the author of Brief Encounters with Che Guevara, which won the PEN/Hemingway Award and the Barnes & Noble Discover Award for Fiction, and the novel Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, winner of the National Book Critics' Circle Award and a finalist for the National Book Award. Billy Lynn was adapted into a feature film directed by three-time Oscar winner Ang Lee, and his work has been translated into over twenty languages. His series of essays published in The Guardian on the 2016 U.S. presidential election was subsequently nominated by the editors of The Guardian for the Pulitzer Prize in Commentary. He lives in Dallas, Texas, with his wife of thirty-two years, Sharon Fountain.
For over twenty years, East Carolina University and the North Carolina Literary & Historical Association have published the North Carolina Literary Review, a journal devoted to showcasing the Tar Heel State’s literary excellence. Described by one critic as “everything you ever wanted out of a literary publication but never dared to demand,” NCLR has won numerous awards and citations.
Doris Betts was the author of three short story collections and six novels. She won three Sir Walter Raleigh awards, the Southern Book Award, the North Carolina Award for Literature, the John Dos Passos Prize, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters Medal for the short story, among others. Beloved by her students, she was named the University of North Carolina Alumni Distinguished Professor of English in 1980. She was a 2004 inductee of the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame.
Miriam Herin of Greensboro won the 2018 Doris Betts Fiction Prize for her story "Lucky," which tells the story of "the protagonist Sokha’s epic journey to buy rice and a bottle of cola from a neighborhood store."
Here are the complete guidelines:
- The competition is open to any writer who is a legal resident of North Carolina or a member of the North Carolina Writers’ Network. North Carolina Literary Review subscribers with North Carolina connections (lives or has lived in NC) are also eligible.
- The competition is for previously unpublished short stories up to 6,000 words. Multiple entries ok, but each requires a separate entry fee. No novel excerpts. Stories do NOT have to relate to NCLR’s annual special feature topic.
- The deadline is February 15.
- Simultaneous submissions ok, but please notify us immediately if your work is accepted elsewhere.
- Submit previously unpublished stories online at https://nclr.submittable.com/submit. Submittable will collect your entry fee via credit card ($10 NCWN members or NCLR subscribers / $20 for non-members/non-subscribers).
- To pay submission fees by check or money order, make payable to the North Carolina Writers Network and mail to: Ed Southern, PO Box 21591, Winston-Salem, NC 27120- 1591
- Documents must be Microsoft Word or .rtf files. Stories should be double-spaced. Author's name should not appear on manuscripts. (Submittable will collect and record your name and contact information.) If you have any problems submitting electronically, email NCLR's
- If submitting by mail, mail story manuscript with a cover sheet providing name, address, email address, word count, and manuscript title, to:
Greenville, NC 27858-4353
(but mail payment to the Network as per instructions above)
The winner and finalists will be announced by May 1. The winning story and select finalists will be published in the next year’s issue of the North Carolina Literary Review.
Questions may be directed to Margaret Bauer, Editor of the North Carolina Literary Review, at
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.