ASHEVILLE—Mesha Maren of southern West Virginia is the winner of the 2015 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize for her short story “Chokedamp.” She will receive $1,000 and possible publication in The Thomas Wolfe Review.
Final Judge Lee Smith, a 2008 inductee of the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame, chose Maren’s story from more than 220 entries—a record number.
“It is very realistic, a big story,” Lee said. “I was impressed by the complexity of theme, situation, and the brothers’ relationship; the narrative voice rang true, and the writing was wonderful throughout.”
Mesha Maren is a fiction writer whose work appears in Tin House, The Oxford American, Hobart, The Barcelona Review, and Forty Stories: New Writing from Harper Perennial. She is the recipient of a 2014 Elizabeth George Foundation Grant, an Appalachian Writing Fellowship from LMU University, and a residency fellowship from the Ucross Foundation.
Elizabeth Oliver of Apex and Roz Spafford were named Honorable Mentions for their stories “Just Wait” and “Painting the Door,” respectively. The stories will also be considered for publication in The Thomas Wolfe Review.
The Thomas Wolfe Review is the official journal of The Thomas Wolfe Society, publishing articles, features, tributes, and reviews about Wolfe and his circle. It also features bibliographical material, notes, news, and announcements of interest to Society members.
To join the Thomas Wolfe Society and participate in yearly conferences and other activities, go to www.thomaswolfe.org. You can also follow Wolfe news on Facebook, Flickr, Pinterest, and other media.
The 2015 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize was facilitated by The Great Smokies Writing Program at the University of North Carolina at Asheville. 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.
Final Judge Lee Smith 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.
The Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize opens for submissions annually on December 1 and runs through January 30. It is open to all writers, regardless of geographic location or prior publication. Submitted stories must be unpublished and not exceed twelve double-spaced pages.
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.