- Written by Administrator
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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 open for submissions.
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 is January 2, 2022. The winner will receive $1,000 and possible publication of their winning entry in The Carolina Quarterly.
The final judge of the 2022 Jacobs/Jones contest will be Jacinda Towsend.
Jacinda Townsend is the author of Saint Monkey (Norton, 2014), which is set in 1950s Eastern Kentucky and won the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize and the James Fenimore Cooper Prize for historical fiction. Saint Monkey was also the 2015 Honor Book of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. Her second novel, Mother Country, will be published by Graywolf Press in fall of 2022. Townsend teaches in the Zell Creative Writing program at the University of Michigan.
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.
“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 2021 Jacobs/Jones African-American Literary Prize was Isaac Hughes Green of Durham, for his short story, "Fifteens."
The full competition guidelines are listed below and can be found at 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.
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.
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- Category: Network News
DURHAM—New York Times bestselling author Cat Warren will lead the session "To Tell the Truth" (creative nonfiction) at the North Carolina Writers' Network 2021 Fall Conference, November 19-21, at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel in Durham/RTP.
Conference registration is open.
Cat Warren just retired from North Carolina State University, where she taught science journalism, editing, and creative nonfiction. Before joining NC State, Warren was a newspaper reporter. She’s covered bombers holding a school hostage, a physician who sexually assaulted dozens of patients over decades, and the deep poverty in Connecticut cities. Cat has also been a national education magazine editor and a communication director for a non-profit justice organization. Her first nonacademic book, What the Dog Knows: Scent, Science, and the Amazing Ways Dogs Perceive the World (Touchstone) became a New York Times bestseller and was long listed for the PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award.
This year, NCWN is asking authors for "one good piece of advice," either something they were once told that they never forgot, or something they wished they could go back and tell their younger selves. Here's what Cat offered:
"I was a young reporter in California in the early 1980s. One day, Frank McCulloch, who was then executive editor of our newspaper chain, came to our newsroom to chat. He was a towering figure, who looked like Daddy Warbucks and managed to pull off wearing a flat gold chain around his neck. His reputation as a reporter and editor was international. His prescient reporting about the war in Vietnam when he was Times magazine’s Saigon bureau chief had enraged Lyndon B. Johnson. He inspired generations of young journalists. Frank was also warm and personable.
"How, I asked him, do you write something compelling and true on a tight deadline?
"His answer was simple and memorable: Think about the lede on the way back to the newsroom as you’re driving. Once you’re in front of the computer, keep your notebook filled with details and exact quotes closed. The most important and compelling material comes naturally. Notes get cold fast. Staring at them just clutters your mind and keeps you from seeing the story. Once you’ve got the story nicely flowing? Of course, open your notebook and check everything.
"I still channel that advice when I sit down to write today."
Lee Gutkind, dubbed the “Godfather behind creative nonfiction” by Vanity Fair, described fine nonfiction succinctly, “True stories, well told.” John McPhee took a little longer to describe it. That’s because he’s been a contributor to The New Yorker since 1963 and gets to go on as long as he wants: “Things that are cheap and tawdry in fiction work beautifully in nonfiction because they are true. That’s why you should be careful not to abridge it, because it’s the fundamental power you’re dealing with. You arrange it and present it. There’s lots of artistry. But you don’t make it up.” In "To Tell the Truth," we’ll look at how great narrative nonfiction writers, from Truman Capote to Rebecca Skloot to Ta-Nehisi Coates, combine deep reporting and researching with fictional techniques. And you’ll practice some hands-on exercises in creative nonfiction, where you’ll steal cheap and tawdry fictional techniques to create your own true stories. Well told, of course.
Fall Conference attracts hundreds of writers from around the country and provides a weekend full of activities that include lunch and dinner banquets with readings, keynotes, tracks in several genres, open mic sessions, and the opportunity for one-on-one manuscript critiques with editors or agents. North Carolina Poet Laureate Jaki Shelton Green will give the Keynote Address. Additional sessions that might be of interest to creative nonfiction writers include "Creative Nonfiction 101" with David Menconi; "The Art of Work" with L.C. Fiore; and "The Power of Mindset for Your Writing Life" with Michele T. Berger.
The nonprofit North Carolina Writers’ Network is the state’s oldest and largest literary arts services organization devoted to all writers, in all genres, at all stages of development. For additional information, visit www.ncwriters.org.