ASHEVILLE—Asheville writer Jasmin Morrell has won the 2022 Rose Post Creative Nonfiction Competition for her essay “All That Might Come.”
Morrell will receive $1,000, and Ecotone will consider her essay for publication.
“Through the act of cooking dinner in her kitchen, the writer connects with a line of North Carolina chefs who came before her,” final judge Josina Guess said of the winning essay. “Travelling through time, the writing stays firmly rooted in place, giving names and faces of past, present, and often overlooked, African American contributors to Appalachian cooking.”
Morrell is a writer and editor interested in narratives centering and celebrating Black and Indigenous presence, food, and art. Her essays are included in Meeting at the Table: African-American Women Write on Race, Culture and Community, The Bitter Southerner, and The Porch Magazine. She is also a contributor to the forthcoming anthology, Bigger Than Bravery: Black Resilience and Reclamation in a Time of Pandemic, edited by Valerie Boyd.
Guess selected “Self-Portrait: A Hybrid of Wild & Domestic” by NCWN member Ashley Memory for second place, saying, “‘Who are you?’ a bird asks the writer as she watches herself adapt to new rhythms of work and life. ‘I don’t know’ she responds as she tills and prepares soil to plant grass. Field notes and reflections on adaptation and growth bring the writer closer to an answer.”
Memory lives in southwestern Randolph County, North Carolina, surrounded by the mystical Uwharrie Mountains. She writes for Poets & Writers, NBC THINK, Wired, and Healthline, and is currently working on a memoir about finding love and happiness while living with a chronic illness.
Another Asheville-based writer, Dianne Fecteau, won third place with her essay “Migration.” Guess said of it, “Learning to identify wildflowers helps the writer navigate grief and it prompts her own migration to the Carolina mountains. Trillium takes seven years to reach full maturity and the writer, seven years after her husband’s death, finds herself blossoming as a transplant in a new place.”
After a career in finance, one of the Network’s online conference inspired Fecteau to spend time each day working on personal essays, including “Migration.”
Final judge Josina Guess is a writer, mother, farmer, and editor. She is a senior writer for The Bitter Southerner where she served as assistant and managing editor. She’s an MFA student in the narrative nonfiction program at the University of Georgia Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. Her work is published in Ecotone, Fourth Genre, About Place Journal, and more. She contributed to Wisdom of Communities Volume 4: Sustainability in Community: Resources and Stories about Creating Eco-Resilience in Intentional Community (2018), Fight Evil with Poetry Anthology Volume 1 (2018), Rally: Communal Prayers for The Lovers of Jesus and Justice (2020), and the forthcoming Bigger Than Bravery: Black Resilience and Reclamation in a Time of Pandemic (Lookout Books, Fall 2022). She was born in Alabama, raised in Washington, D.C., studied art at Earlham College, and lived in Philadelphia for over a decade before putting down roots in rural Georgia.
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.
Rose Post worked for the Salisbury Post for 56 years as a reporter, feature writer, and columnist. She won numerous state and national awards for her writing and earned the NC Press Women’s top annual award four times. She received the O. Henry Award from the Associated Press three times, the Pete Ivey Award, and the School Bell Award for educational coverage. Nationally, she won the 1989 Ernie Pyle Award, the Scripps Howard Foundation National Journalism Award for human-interest writing, and the 1994 National Society of Newspaper Columnists’ Award.
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.