NCWN member Erin Miller Reid is the winner of the 2022 Doris Betts Fiction Prize for her story “Uncaged.” Reid will receive a prize of $250 from the North Carolina Writers’ Network, and her story will be published in the North Carolina Literary Review’s 2023 issue. She also will receive a full scholarship to the Network’s 2023 Spring Conference.
A past winner of Still: The Journal’s fiction contest for her short story “The Offering,” Reid is a practicing physician in Kingsport, TN. She also has been published in the Appalachian Review, Women Speak: Women of Appalachia Project, Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel, and 100 Days in Appalachia. She is currently working on her first novel.
This year’s final judge was Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle, author of the novel Even as We Breathe. Released by the University Press of Kentucky in 2020, Even as We Breathe is the first published novel by an enrolled member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Its accolades include the 2021 Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award.
Clapsaddle selected Reid’s story from among 11 finalists, saying “From the very first line, ‘Uncaged’ immediately engages the reader with compelling and, often, visceral imagery. We are propelled through the narrative, hand-in-hand with the protagonist. Esther’s careful characterization makes us eager to explore each step with her. The storytelling is patient and meticulous in a way that appropriately mirrors the plot’s unfolding. This subtle, weaving structure roots us firmly in place and time while still expanding the scope of the story beyond the moment at hand.”
Clapsaddle selected “Concerto for the End of the World” by Theresa Dowell Blackinton for second place, describing it as “a story of salvaging from loss [that] grapples with humanity’s response to crisis in a manner that is both subtle and weighty.” Blackinton lives in Durham. Her fiction has appeared in the Iowa Review, Pleiades, and the Thomas Wolfe Review. She is a previous winner of the Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize, as well as the Better Gabehart Prize and the NCSU Prize for Short Fiction. “Concerto for the End of the World” also will appear in a 2023 issue of NCLR.
Of the more than 150 stories submitted, nine others were named as finalists: “What We Do for Work” by Katelyn Andell of Wake Forest; “Resurrection” by Rebecca Davis of Germanton; “The Great Awakening of Iris Blue Lacakdoo Bivens” by Mary Alice Dixon of Charlotte; “Black Light” by George Hovis of Cooperstown, NY; “A Wayfarer at Devil’s Elbow” by Emily Alice Katz of Durham; “Stone Cold” by Catherine Monetti of Columbia, SC; “Alone in Atlantic City” by Jacqueline Parker of Charlotte; as well as “Uniformity of Carcass” and “Fifty-Cal” by Gary Powell of Lake Norman. These stories are still under publication consideration.
The annual Doris Betts Fiction Prize honors the late novelist and short story writer Doris Betts, and is sponsored by the nonprofit North Carolina Writers’ Network, 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.
Published since 1992 by East Carolina University and the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association, the North Carolina Literary Review has won numerous awards and citations. Go to https://nclr.ecu.edu/subscriptions for subscription information.