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NORTH CAROLINA—“Beach Baby,” an essay by Wilmington writer Jillian Weiss, has won First Prize in the 2015 Rose Post Creative Nonfiction Competition.
Author Jason Frye, the judge of this year’s contest, said, “The structure of 'Beach Baby' drives the essay—each section pulls you one to the other, and even when it seems to divert, it circles back on itself quite artfully.
“As the essay progresses, it grows in its complexity: a misheard message, the death of a sister, the hole in the heart, jealousy (very complex, but gracefully handled), Down Syndrome, the meaning of the name ‘Jennifer,’ and the ruination of—or perhaps miracle of—Christmas. Simply put, it’s a beautiful piece that gets to the complex heart of trying to make known the unknowable.”
A Winston-Salem native who spent most of her adolescence in London, Weiss returned to North Carolina in 2008 to study at Elon University. A former creative writing instructor for Duke University’s Talent Identification Program, she is currently an MFA candidate at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, where she is writing a collection of essays about her life as a missionary kid in West London.
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. First-, second-, and third-place winners receive $1,000, $300, and $200, respectively, and the winning entry is considered for publication in the magazine Southern Cultures.
Beth Browne of Garner won Second Place for her essay “What My Father Kept.” In addition to working as associate editor for The Main Street Rag Publishing Company, Browne manages a large farm, homeschools her two teens, and sails the NC coast with “her sweetie, Eric.” She has served on the boards of the North Carolina Poetry Society and the South Carolina Writers’ Workshop.
“‘What My Father Kept’ takes a tight look at the individual and gets into depths the short story cannot. As such, the essayist is able to create a picture of her father and give readers insight into him, all while building mystery into it,” Frye said. “It’s that mystery that intrigues me. A very strong piece, it made me want to catalogue my grandfather’s garden shed and see what I might learn there.”
Durham’s Robert Wallace won Third Place for his essay “Where’s Jack Kevorkian?”
“‘Where’s Jack Kevorkian?’ grabs me from the opening line,” Frye said. “This essay is close to perfect.”
Robert Wallace has received an Emerging Artist grant from the Durham Arts Council, and a Writer’s Fellowship from the NC Arts Council. He has had fiction and nonfiction published in various journals and newspapers, and writes a monthly column for the News & Observer. His story "As Breaks the Wave upon the Sea" was the 2010 winner of the Doris Betts Fiction Prize.
Frye also named “Common Prayer” by Jane Andrews and “Moonshine Manhattan” by Agnes Stevens as Honorable Mentions.
Jason Frye is a travel, culinary, and culture writer from Wilmington. After his first experience with North Carolina—a family vacation to the Outer Banks—he felt drawn to the state. He moved here in 2002 to attend UNC-Wilmington and pursue his Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing; after graduating in 2005, he stayed and began to explore the state through the lens of a poet, essayist, journalist, culinary critic, and travel writer.
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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GREENSBORO―Registration for the North Carolina Writers’ Network 2015 Spring Conference is in full swing. On Saturday, April 18, in the MHRA Building at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, conferencegoers will attend workshops in fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction, as well as writing for children, the art of branding, and how to build a literary career.
Programming for the NCWN 2015 Spring Conference is made possible in part by our sponsors.
The Creative Writing Department at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro is a two-year residency program with an emphasis on providing students with studio time in which to study the writing of fiction or poetry. The program’s flexibility permits students to develop their particular talents through small classes in writing, literature, and the arts. As a community of writers, students read and comment on each other’s work under the guidance of resident and visiting faculty, who also meet with students in one-on-one tutorials. The MFA Writing Program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro is one of the oldest such programs in the country. They are the proud publishers of the Greensboro Review. Follow them on Twitter, and visit their Facebook page.
Greensboro’s News & Record is a leading multimedia news, information, advertising, and entertainment source for the cities of Greensboro and High Point, Guilford County, and Rockingham and Randolph counties in North-Central North Carolina. The News & Record launched its first online edition in the winter of 1994-95. Its digital channels now include News-Record.com, an e-Edition for desktop computers and tablets, and mobile editions for smartphones and tablets. You can find the News & Record on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.
88.5 WFDD, Public Radio for the Piedmont, is the only public radio station of its kind located in the Piedmont Triad. They broadcast news, information, and public affairs programming covering the arts, people, and institutions in the area. They are the state’s charter NPR® member and the longest continuously broadcasting public radio station in North Carolina. WFDD is a member of the North Carolina Public Radio Association. It is a broadcast service of Wake Forest University. In downtown Greensboro, you can hear WFDD at 104.7 FM.
The North Carolina Arts Council was created in 1964 by executive order of governor Terry Sanford to strengthen North Carolina’s creativity, invention, and prosperity. Their mission? To utilize the arts for the benefit of North Carolina citizens and communities. The NC Arts Council seeks to create a strong and efficient arts infrastructure across North Carolina; plan and implement economic development initiatives using the arts; utilize the arts as an effective way to teach the public school curriculum, preserve our state’s heritage, and provide arts experiences to youth; and provide data models and conduct research that documents the impact of the state’s arts industry on North Carolina’s economy.
Pre-registration for the NCWN 2015 Spring Conference closes Sunday, April 12. Attendees save nearly 30 percent by registering early, so don’t delay!