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CULLOWHEE—For the second year in a row, NCWN members swept first, second, and third place in the Rose Post Creative Nonfiction Competition.

Jeannette Cabanis-Brewin of Cullowhee won first place for her essay, “Plum Song.” She will receive $1,000, and Ecotone will consider her essay for publication.

“This piece draws you in through its poetic lyricism, singing of the garden's wonders,” final judge Jane Wong said of “Plum Song.” “The synesthesia in this essay particularly stood out to me—full of gratitude for each plant, each creature.”

Cabanis-Brewin is an award-winning business writer and editor by trade but in her real life she farms, keeps chickens, bees, and the occasional pig and writes about Southern Appalachia. Her poetry and essays have been published in numerous journals throughout the Southeast. Her chapbook Patriate was the 2007 Longleaf Press Open Chapbook competition winner and her essay “White Lobelia” was a runner up in the 2012 Rose Post Creative Nonfiction Competition.

Wong selected “Champ” by Judy Goldman for second place, saying, “Engaging familial nostalgia, love, and pride, this essay thoughtfully asks us to consider closeness in a family. And how, in discovering more about each other, we discover ourselves.”

Goldman is the author of six books: two memoirs, two novels, and two collections of poetry. Her most recent book, Together: A Memoir of a Marriage and a Medical Mishap, was named one of the best books of 2019 by Real Simple magazine. Together also received a starred review from Library Journal. Goldman’s work has appeared in USA Today, Washington Post, Real Simple, Literary Hub, Southern Review, Gettysburg Review, Kenyon Review, Crazyhorse, Ohio Review, Shenandoah, Prairie Schooner, and more.

Asheville’s Patricia Poteat took third place for her essay, “Lullaby,” of which Wong said, “Speaking of grief and healing, this piece begins with the sound of a train and expands its metaphorical power.”

Poteat’s creative work has appeared in The Great Smokies Review and in Voices, a collection of essays about child advocacy work in North Carolina. “Witness,” a work of creative nonfiction published in the journal Zero Dark Thirty, was nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She has been a finalist for the Doris Betts Fiction Prize, Glimmer Train's "Family Matters" competition, the Alex Albright Creative Nonfiction Prize, and New Millennium Writings’ annual short story and flash fiction competitions. She is the author of Walker Percy and the Old Modern Age (LSU Press) and scholarly essays on topics in religion and modern culture.

Sponsored by the North Carolina Writers’ Network, and administered by the creative writing department at UNC Wilmington, the Rose Post Creative Nonfiction Competition encourages the creation of lasting nonfiction work that is outside the realm of conventional journalism. The contest is open to any legal resident of North Carolina or member of the NC Writers’ Network.

Rose Post worked for the Salisbury Post for fifty-six years as a reporter, feature writer, and columnist. She won numerous state and national awards for her writing and earned the NC Press Women's top annual award four times. She received the O. Henry Award from the Associated Press three times, the Pete Ivey Award, and the School Bell Award for educational coverage. Nationally, she won the 1989 Ernie Pyle Award, the Scripps Howard Foundation National Journalism Award for human-interest writing, and the 1994 National Society of Newspaper Columnists' Award.

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—Charlotte writer Barbara Johnson-Davis, whose “May Day Miracle” received Honorable Mention last year, has won this year’s Jacobs/Jones African-American Literary Prize for her new story, “The Last Straw.”

Johnson-Davis will receive $1,000, and The Carolina Quarterly will consider “The Last Straw” for publication.

Final judge Bridgette A. Lacy selected “The Last Straw” from nine other finalists for the prize.

“‘The Last Straw’ is a moving story about a young girl choosing a formal education over the family business of farming,” Lacy said. “The stakes are high, taking her final senior exams or planting tobacco. This story feels so authentic and rooted in rural North Carolina, where low-wealth families are often forced to make that choice. The heartfelt dialogue between the father and daughter really resonated with me.”

Johnson-Davis was born to a sharecropping family in Leasburg, and graduated from Bennett College. Her work has been performed at the Matthews Playhouse, Queens University of Charlotte, and the Warehouse Performing Arts Center in Cornelius. She is a member of both the Charlotte Writers’ Club and NCWN.

Lacy also selected “Redemption Song,” by Greensboro’s Carolyn Tucker, for Honorable Mention.

“This story reflects North Carolina’s stormy landscape on two levels: damaging hurricanes and the mass incarceration of black men. Both issues have the capacity to devastate the lives of people of eastern North Carolina and beyond,” Lacy said. “This author captures a moment of grace as a family tries to save each other. The wife heads to church to wait out a storm, while her incarcerated husband and son persuade the prison warden to release them so they can defend and protect the local community.”

Tucker studied Computer Science and worked for more than thirty years in information technology. A 2013 layoff freed her to follow her passion for the written word. Her short story “Three Women Who Love” has been published in the anthology When She Loves.

The Jacobs/Jones 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.

“This award was initiated by Cedric Brown, a Winston-Salem native and graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, to honor the best in short prose by African-American writers in North Carolina.

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 full competition guidelines can be found here.

Bridgette A. Lacy is an award-winning journalist and author. She served as a longtime features writer for The News & Observer in Raleigh. She’s the author of Sunday Dinner, part of the Savor the South series by UNC Press and a finalist for the Pat Conroy Cookbook Prize. Lacy is also a contributor to The Carolina Table: North Carolina Writers on Food (Eno Publishers, 2016) and 27 Views of Raleigh: The City of Oaks in Prose & Poetry (Eno Publishers, 2013). Her work has appeared in Our State magazine, Salt, and O.Henry.

A member of the Carolina African-American Writers’ Collective, Lacy will be part of the keynote celebration at this year’s Spring Conference, and will teach a class on creative nonfiction.

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.

 

CHAPEL HILL—You've written a book, or plan to one day. Whether you'll be published by a Big 5 house, an indie press, or you go the self-publishing route, you, as the author, are going to play a major role in how your book gets into people's hands.

At that moment of publication, your book is no longer your "baby" but precious merchandise that readers are going to want to read—but only if they know about it. Even if your book isn't finished yet, why not begin preparing now for success? 

On Thursday, March 19, at 7:00 pm, author and editor Lauren Faulkenberry of Blue Crow Publishing will lead the online class "Marketing for Authors: 5 Things You Need to Do Right Now to Grow Your Audience."

Registration is closed.

This course is capped at forty (40) registrants, first-come, first-served. There is a $45 fee to register.

Marketing is critical for all authors: especially if you’re an indie author or one who self-publishes. This course will teach you five things you can do right now to build your audience and connect with readers in a way that makes them superfans. We’ll focus on ways you can collaborate with other authors and provide engaging content to your readers in a way that's easy for you—and even fun! We’ll cover some basics like creating an engaging author newsletter and using social media effectively, and move on to advanced strategies for building a tribe of authors who support each other in ways that promote growth for everyone.

Lauren Faulkenberry is the co-publisher of Blue Crow Publishing. An award-winning writer, she earned her MFA in book arts from The University of Alabama and her MFA in fiction writing from Georgia College & State University. She is the author of four novels, one children’s picture book, many short stories and more. She teaches book arts workshops all over the country at residencies and retreats such as the Penland School of Crafts and Wildacres.

Blue Crow Publishing, LLC, is a small, traditional publisher of fiction and nonfiction founded in 2016. They publish fiction and nonfiction of a variety of genres under our Blue Crow Books imprint:

  • Adult Fiction, including general fiction, women’s fiction, romance, and speculative fiction.
  • Young Adult Fiction of all genres.
  • Nonfiction, including memoir, essays, and social commentary. In our Critical Higher Education series, we publish narrative nonfiction and essay collections.

They publish 4-6 titles a year. They are a socially conscious press that prioritizes unique voices and traditionally marginalized authors.

"Marketing for Authors: 5 Things You Need to Do Right Now to Grow Your Audience" is the North Carolina Writers' Network's final offering in their 2019-2020 series of online classes.

"This program is a great way for writers from all over North Carolina to connect without having the hassle of driving somewhere and finding parking," said NCWN communications director Charles Fiore. "Online classes offer top-shelf instruction for a fraction of the cost, and the software itself is very intuitive and easy to use."

The online class "Marketing for Authors: 5 Things You Need to Do Right Now to Grow Your Audience" is available to anyone with an internet connection, or who even owns just a telephone. Instructions for accessing the online class on Thursday, March 19, will be sent to registrants no less than twenty-four hours prior to the start of class. The class will be archived and made available to registrants for repeated viewings.

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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