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NC Literary Hall of Fame




BOONE—The North Carolina Writers' Network is coming to the High Country for the 2017 Squire Summer Writing Workshops. This intimate, weekend-long residency-style immersion happens July 13-16 at Appalachian State University, in Boone.

Registration is capped at forty-two attendees: register now.

The Squire Summer Writing Workshops offer conferencegoers the chance to study elements of one genre with one instructor over the course of the program. Attendees will work on their own manuscripts, as well as those of their peers, while also attending readings, special presentations, and taking advantage of built-in writing time, atop the beauty and majesty of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Joseph Bathanti will lead the class in poetry, "Writing the Longer Narrative Poem." Sheryl Monks will lead the fiction course,"How Bad Things Happen to Good Characters: Compression, Tension, and Catharsis in Fiction." Eric G. Wilson will lead the creative nonfiction workshop, "Creating Presence: Voice in Creative Nonfiction."

Joseph Bathanti is former Poet Laureate of North Carolina (2012-14) and recipient of the 2016 North Carolina Award for Literature. He is the author of ten books of poetry, including Communion Partners; Anson County; The Feast of All Saints; This Metal, nominated for the National Book Award, and winner of the Oscar Arnold Young Award; Land of Amnesia; Restoring Sacred Art, winner of the 2010 Roanoke Chowan Prize, awarded annually by the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association for best book of poetry in a given year; Sonnets of the Cross; Concertina, winner of the 2014 Roanoke Chowan Prize; and The 13th Sunday after Pentecost, released by LSU Press in 2016. His novel, East Liberty, won the 2001 Carolina Novel Award. His novel, Coventry, won the 2006 Novello Literary Award. His book of stories, The High Heart, won the 2006 Spokane Prize. They Changed the State: The Legacy of North Carolina’s Visiting Artists, 1971-1995, his book of nonfiction, was published in early 2007. His recent book of personal essays, Half of What I Say Is Meaningless, winner of the Will D. Campbell Award for Creative Nonfiction, is from Mercer University Press. A new novel, The Life of the World to Come, was released from University of South Carolina Press in late 2014. Bathanti is Professor of Creative Writing at Appalachian State University in Boone, and the University’s Watauga Residential College Writer-in-Residence. He served as the 2016 Charles George VA Medical Center Writer-in-Residence in Asheville.

Sheryl Monks is the author of Monsters in Appalachia, published by Vandalia Press, an imprint of West Virginia University Press. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Queens University of Charlotte. Sheryl’s stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Electric Literature, The Butter, The Greensboro Review, storySouth, Regarding Arts and Letters, Night Train, and other journals, and in the anthologies Surreal South: Ghosts and Monsters and Eyes Glowing at the Edge of the Woods: Contemporary West Virginia Fiction and Poetry, among others. She works for a peer-reviewed medical journal and edits the online literary magazine Change Seven. Visit her online at www.sherylmonks.com.

Eric G. Wilson is a professor of English at Wake Forest University, an Appalachian State alumnus, and the author of five works of creative nonfiction: Keep It Fake, How to Make a Soul, Everyone Loves a Good Train Wreck, The Mercy of Eternity: A Memoir of Depression and Grace, and Against Happiness. His essays have appeared or are appearing in the Portland Review, Hotel Amerika, The Fanzine, Georgia Review, the Virginia Quarterly Review, Oxford American, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Our State, and Chronicle of Higher Education. He has also published a volume for Muse Books: The Iowa Series in Creativity and Writing, My Business Is To Create: Blake’s Infinite Writing. His most recent book, a work of fiction called Polaris Ghost, is coming out with Outpost 19 this winter.

The 2017 Squire Summer Writing Workshops are built around the same programming as past Squire Summer Writing Residencies: it's the same great content, but with a new name.

"We felt that 'workshop' was more accurate, because registrants will study classic examples of their chosen genre, and both offer and receive feedback on works-in-progress," said NCWN Executive Director Ed Southern. "The foundation of the conference, though, is the same: lauded instructors, personalized attention, and a supportive, focused environment in which to strive for excellence in writing."

Boone, home to Appalachian State University, is the cultural center of North Carolina's High Country. TripAdvisor named this small town, which is a popular vacation destination, the number-two "Diamond in the Rough," and National Geographic named it among its "Best Places to Live and Play." Along with great breweries, restaurants, and local businesses, Boone typically boasts temperatures no warmer than 76 degrees, which will come as quite a relief to many Squire Summer Writing Workshops registrants by mid-July.

Registration for the 2017 Squire Summer Writing Workshops is now open.

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, and to register, visit www.ncwriters.org.


Asheville—Virginia Ewing Hudson has won the 2017 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize for her short story "Mother." Virginia will receive $1,000 and possible publication in The Thomas Wolfe Review.

Final judge Wiley Cash chose "Mother" from more than 200 submissions.

"This atmospheric, haunting story is a portrait of childhood grief and the ways in which children wade through it," Cash said. "Rooster, a young boy who cares for his dying mother while yearning for the mysteries of the world outside their home, is sensitive and beautifully drawn. The writing reminded me of the best of Elizabeth Spencer and Donald Ray Pollock."

Virginia Ewing Hudson, cellist turned writer, now spends far more time crafting fiction than practicing. Her story "Silo" won the Women’s Writing Award from Firefly Ridge Magazine, and also was a previous finalist for the Thomas Wolf Fiction Prize. "Silo," like this year’s winning story, "Mother," is an excerpt from a novel, for which Virginia is seeking publication. Her essays, stories, and poems, have appeared in The Colton Review, Vision and Voice, and The News & Observer in Raleigh. Virginia teaches cello at Meredith College, and lives in Raleigh with her husband, Bruce, and a small but merry band of cats.

Jane Shlensky recieved an honorable mention for her story "Clean Burn."

"Waitsel fancies himself a fire-conjuring Robin Hood," Cash said, "and the reader doesn't know whether to respect him or fear him. This story was as brief as a match strike, but its portrait of small-town life and the lives that go unnoticed is seared into my memory."

Jane Shlensky's poetry can be found in Writer's Digest, Pinesong, Kakalak, Southern Poetry Anthology: NC, and others. Her short fiction pieces have been finalists in Press 53, Doris Betts, and Thomas Wolfe contests. Her chapbook, Barefoot on Gravel (2016), is available from Finishing Line Press.

This year's final judge, Wiley Cash, is The New York Times bestselling author of A Land More Kind than Home and This Dark Road to Mercy, which are both available from William Morrow/HarperCollinsPublishers. His forthcoming novel is The Last Ballad. Wiley is writer-in-residence at the University of North Carolina-Asheville and teaches in the Low-Residency MFA Program in Fiction and Nonfiction Writing at Southern New Hampshire University. A native of North Carolina, he lives in Wilmington with his wife and their two young daughters.

The Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize, which is awarded to a short story of 3,000 words or less, is administered by the Great Smokies Writing Program at the University of North Carolina at Asheville. 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.

The 2016 winner was Alli Marshall, author of the novel How to Talk to Rock Stars, for her short story “Catching Out."

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.

North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame inductee Thomas Wolfe (1900-1938), was born in Asheville. His Look Homeward, Angel is considered one of the most important coming-of-age novels in the English language. Wolfe was considered at the time of his death to be the greatest talent North Carolina had given to American literature. His novels and collected short stories go beyond autobiography, trying to, in William Faulkner’s words, “put all the experience of the human heart on the head of a pin.” His intense poetic language and thoughtfully developed symbology, combined with his uncanny ability to enter the minds of his other characters and give them powerful voices, elevate the books from memoir to undeniable literary art.

The nonprofit 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.


GREENVILLE—Robert Wallace of Durham is the winner of the 2017 Doris Betts Fiction Prize competition for his story "The Science of Air." He will receive a prize of $250 from the North Carolina Writers’ Network, and his story will be published in the North Carolina Literary Review’s 2018 issue.

Wallace, who also received the 2010 Betts Prize for "As Breaks the Wave Upon the Sea" (published in NCLR 2011), is a recipient of an Emerging Artist Grant from the Durham Arts Council and a Writer’s Fellowship from the North Carolina Arts Council. He has published one novel and has had fiction and nonfiction published in various venues, including The News & Observer in Raleigh, Wellspring, and The O. Henry Festival Stories. His story "As Breaks the Wave Upon the Sea" was also featured in Brian Glover’s essay on teaching with the North Carolina Literary Review, published in NCLR Online 2016.

NCLR Fiction Editor Liza Wieland selected Wallace’s story from fifteen finalists, saying "In 'The Silence of Air,' guilt, sadness, and wisdom conspire to make a gracefully introspective work of fiction. I admire this story for its deftly rendered sense of place and sensory detail, its reserve and precision.”

Just under 150 stories were submitted to this year’s competition. Wieland also picked "Banjo" by W.A. Polf for second place and publication in NCLR Online 2018. Wieland calls "Banjo" a "brilliant story about responsibility to family and the impossibility of honoring it. The prose is quiet and careful, but the characters’ violence of feeling make for a tension that captures the truth of family relations."

Polf, a retired hospital executive, moved from New York City to North Carolina to write. His stories have appeared in The Milo Review, Still Point Arts Quarterly, and The Tishman Review, and he was a finalist for the 2013 Glimmer Train Short Story Award.

Other finalists for the 2017 Doris Betts Fiction Prize were "True Story" by Gary V. Powell, "Broken Things" by Jane Shlensky, "Village Life" by Laura Moretz, "The Tiniest Sound of Breaking" by A.G. Kramer, "The Gate" by Laura Golden, "In Guantanamo" by Callie Lewis, "My Name on a Grain of Rice" by Kathryn Etters Lovatt, "Dysfunctional Slumber Parties" by Alli Marshall, "The Mission" by Alan Michael Parker, "Vondalee Puts on Her Cat Eye Glasses" by Vicki Lane, "The Old Americans" by Bryan Giemza, "Abstracting" by Mason Boyles, and "Keeping Company in Lucama" by Mathew Gingrich.

The annual Doris Betts Fiction Prize honors the late novelist, short story writer, and NC Literary Hall of Fame inductee Doris Betts, the first to call North Carolina "the writingest state." The competition is sponsored by the non-profit North Carolina Writers’ Network, the state’s oldest and largest literary arts services organization devoted to all writers at all stages of development. Betts’ support of writers, both her UNC students and countless other protégés, is manifested in the Network’s reminder that, particularly in North Carolina, "Nobody Writes Alone." 

For additional information about the North Carolina Writers’ Network, visit www.ncwriters.org.

Published since 1992 at East Carolina University, the North Carolina Literary Review has won numerous awards and citations. Fiction Editor Liza Wieland is the author of four novels and three collections of short stories. A two-year subscription to NCLR will include the 2017 issue, featuring the winner from the 2016 Betts competition, as well as the 2018 issue, featuring Wallace’s winning story from this year’s competition. Subscribe at www.nclr.ecu.edu/subscriptions.


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