NC Literary Hall of Fame




Registration for The Writingest State Online Conference is now, closed, and we look forward to welcoming all the attendees starting tomorrow, Tuesday, November 10!

We are grateful to our sponsors, who helped make this event possible. Please take a moment to check out their websites, utilize their services, and support them as they support the literary arts. is the sponsor of the "NaNoWriMo Gathering" on Thursday, November 12. can:

  • Block websites and apps or the entire internet if you want to. With your distractions blocked, you can get into your workflow and stay on task.
  • Help break the habit of checking whatever digital source is beckoning. The more you experience Freedom time, the more you’ll find it indispensable.
  • Treat your email like a mailbox (the mail comes and goes once a day) and enjoy your social media proactively on your time (not in respond mode.)

Over 1,000,000 Freedom users have gained control over their relationship with technology and protectetd themselves from online distractions, improving their productivity. You can too!

The "Online Happy Hour" on Tuesday, November 10, and the "One More for the Road Happy Hour" on Saturday, November 10, are sponsored by Alice Osborn: Author/Book Coach/Editor. Alice serves as a critiquer for NCWN's Critiquing and Editing Service; she's the author of three poetry collections; and she's also a singer-songwriter. Her new album is Searching for Paradise. Alice serves as the Secretary on the Board of Trustees for the North Carolina Writers' Network and serves as Regional Rep for Wake County.

Plottr will sponsor the "Prompt Party" on Saturday, November 14. Outline faster, plot smarter, and turbocharge your productivity today with the #1 visual book planning software for writers! Plottr helps you:

  • Quickly outline your book with visual story cards
  • Filter your timeline by characters, places, and tags
  • Color-coordinate your storylines to keep them organized
  • Flip the timeline to view it vertically or horizontally

For a free 30-day trial, visit

The University Press of Kentucky is the publisher of Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle's debut novel, Even as We Breathe. They will sponsor her Opening Conversation with Therese Anne Fowler on Wednesday, November 11. The University of Kentucky has sponsored scholarly publication since 1943. Currently, the press publishes 50-55 titles per year, focusing on tiles of high scholarly merit in a variety of fields and the publication of significant books about the history and culture of Kentucky, the Ohio Valley region, the Upper South, and Appalachia.

Katie Winkler is a trustee of NCWN and the editor of Teach.Write. She'll sponsor the Open Mic sessions on Saturday, November 10. The Fall/Winter 2020 issue of Teach. Write.: A Writing Teachers’ Literary Journal is now available. Katie lives in the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina. She is a writer, teacher, wife, and mother in love with all of her jobs. She is the former NCWN Regional Rep for Henderson County and is on the English Faculty at Blue Ridge Community College. 

Overall support is provded by the generous contribution of the North Carolina Arts Council, which, over more than a half-century of leadership, has provided resources for arts programming, education, and leadership across the state.

The Writingest State Online Conference is a five-day festival for writers featuring classes and conversations on the craft and business of writing, as well as a keynote address by North Carolina Poet Laureate Jaki Shelton Green, a NaNoWriMo Gathering and a Prompt Party to get creative juices flowing, online Open Mic readings and Happy Hour virtual gatherings, and an Agents & Editors panel discussion.


WINSTON-SALEM—The Jacobs/Jones African-American Literary Prize, which honors the best in short prose by African-American writers in North Carolina, is now closed.

The contest, sponsored by 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 deadline has been extended to January 6, 2021.  The winner will receive $1,000 and possible publication of their winning entry in The Carolina Quarterly.

The final judge of the 2021 Jacobs/Jones contest will be W. Ralph Eubanks.

W. Ralph Eubanks is the author of Ever Is a Long Time: A Journey Into Mississippi’s Dark Past, The House at the End of the Road: The Story of Three Generations of an Interracial Family in the American South, and A Place Like Mississippi, which will be released in 2021. His writing and essays on the American South have appeared in The New Yorker, WIRED, Vanity Fair, and the Oxford American. A 2007 Guggenheim Fellow, he is currently a visiting professor of English and Southern Studies at the University of Mississippi. He divides his time between Oxford, Mississippi, and Washington, DC.

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.

This Jacobs/Jones African-American Literary Prize 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 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 winner of the 2020 Jacobs/Jones African-American Literary Prize was Barbara Johnson-Davis of Charlotte, for her short story, "The Last Straw."

The full competition guidelines are listed below and can be found at



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 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..

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


On Tuesday, November 10, the first night of The Writingest State Online Conference, author Tracy Crow will lead The Pre-Conference Tailgate, "Awaken Your Sixth Sense."

The Pre-Conference Tailgate is a fun way for attendees to kick-start five days of online literary programming. Attendees will be asked to keep a writing journal in the days leading up to the event, which means your Writingest State Online Conference might start next week! 

Registration for the WSOC is closed.

Pulitzer Prize winning author Tracy Kidder once joked that the strangest question he’d been asked about the writing process is, "When do you put in the metaphors?" All joking aside, writing with metaphor actually requires an activation of a sixth sense—an ability, willingness, and fresh approach toward making connections that will layer meaning and resonance to our stories and poems. To activate and hone this sixth sense, we can turn to the natural world.

For several days leading up to this workshop, writers are encouraged to create an awareness log, a recording of their encounters with the natural world—both in waking and in dream states: the deer leaping across your walking path; the startling morning discovery of a snake skin by the back door of your home; a bluebird feather on your sidewalk; a groundhog appearing in a dream. We’ll share our discoveries, and through writing prompts, further awaken our shamanic sixth sense. (Please know that sharing anything written during this workshop is voluntary!)

Tracy Crow is president of Tracy Crow Literary Agency, LLC, and president and CEO of MilSpeak Foundation, Inc., a 501(c)3 organization dedicated toward supporting the creative endeavors of military service members, veterans, and their families. She is the author or editor of six books including her award-winning memoir, Eyes Right: Confessions from a Woman Marine, and the breakthrough writing text, On Point: A Guide to Writing the Military Story, in which Tracy combines her skills and experience as a former Marine Corps officer, award-winning military journalist, author, editor, and assistant professor of creative writing and journalism. Her short stories and essays have also appeared in a number of literary journals and anthologies. Tracy has a B.A. in creative writing from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida, and an MFA in creative writing from Queens University of Charlotte in North Carolina. She and her husband, Mark Weidemaier, bench coach for the South Korean baseball team, the Kia Tigers, live on ten storybook acres in central North Carolina with their four dogs — Cash, Hadley, Hope, and Fenway.

The Writingest State Online Conference is a five-day festival for writers featuring classes and conversations on the craft and business of writing, as well as a keynote address by North Carolina Poet Laureate Jaki Shelton Green, a NaNoWriMo Gathering and a Prompt Party to get creative juices flowing, online Open Mic readings and Happy Hour virtual gatherings, and an Agents & Editors panel discussion.

Registration for the Writingest State Online Conference closed November 9.


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