The Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize honors internationally celebrated North Carolina novelist and North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame inductee Thomas Wolfe. The prize is administered by Tommy Hays and the Great Smokies Writing Program at the University of North Carolina at Asheville.
The competition is open to all writers regardless of geographical location or prior publication. Contestants should submit two copies of an unpublished fiction manuscript not to exceed 12 double-spaced, single-sided pages (1" margins, 12-pt. font).
Lee Smith will be the final judge. Smith, a 2008 inductee of the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame, is a New York Times bestselling author and longtime professor of creative writing at North Carolina State University. Her novels include Fair and Tender Ladies, The Last Girls, and most recently, Guests on Earth. She is the recipient of two O. Henry Awards for her short stories, two Sir Walter Raleigh Awards, the North Carolina Award for Literature, the Robert Penn Warren Prize for Fiction, and the Southern Book Critics Circle Award, among many others. She is a member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers.
“Place is extraordinarily important to most Southern writers, much more so than to writers in other parts of the country,” Smith, who was born in the Appalachian Mountains, has said. “Personally, I’m so tied to place that I cannot even imagine a story without drawing a map of it first. I have to create the physical world before I can populate it with my characters. I have to make a whole world for them to walk around in.”
Susan Levi Wallach of Columbia, South Carolina, and Jude Whelchel of Asheville were co-winners of the 2014 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize for their stories “A Still Life” and “Mother in a Boneyard World,” respectively. Gary V. Powell of Lake Norman received an honorable mention for “Rusty Luvs Suzie."
The Great Smokies Writing Program is a joint effort between the UNC-Asheville departments of Literature and Language, Creative Writing and the Office of Professional Education. The program offers opportunities for writers of all levels to join a supportive learning community in which their skills and talents can be explored, practiced, and forged under the careful eye of professional writers. The program is committed to providing the community with affordable university-level classes led by published writers and experienced teachers. Each course carries academic credit awarded through UNC-Asheville.
Here are the guidelines for the 2015 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Competition:
- The competition is open to all writers regardless of geographical location or prior publication.
- Submit two copies of an unpublished fiction manuscript not to exceed 12 double-spaced, single-sided pages (1" margins, 12-pt. font).
- Author's name should not appear on manuscripts. Instead, include a separate cover sheet with name, address, phone number, e-mail address, word count, and manuscript title. (If submitting online, do not include a cover sheet with your document; Submittable will collect and record your name and contact information.)
- An entry fee must accompany the manuscript: $15 for NCWN members, $25 for nonmembers.
- You may pay the member entry fee if you join the NCWN with your submission. Checks should be made payable to the North Carolina Writers’ Network.
- Entries will not be returned.
- The winner is announced each April.
- To submit online, go to https://ncwriters.submittable.com/submit. Submittable will collect your entry fee via credit card ($15 NCWN members / $25 non-members).
- To submit by regular mail:
Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize
Great Smokies Writing Program
Attn: Nancy Williams
UNC Asheville, NC 28805
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.