Back to Network News

Joy to Judge This Year’s Betts Prize

Acclaimed novelist David Joy will judge this year’s Doris Betts Fiction Prize, which opens to submissions on Friday, September 15.

The Doris Betts Fiction Prize is open to any writer who is a legal resident of North Carolina or a member of the North Carolina Writers’ Network. North Carolina Literary Review subscribers with North Carolina connections (NC resident or former resident) are also eligible.

The recipient of the Doris Betts Fiction Prize receives $250 and publication in the North Carolina Literary Review, whose editor also will nominate the winning story for a Pushcart Prize and the O. Henry Award.

Finalists also will be considered for publication in the NCLR. Those stories selected for publication also will be nominated for an O. Henry, and authors will receive $50 to $150, depending on how many stories are selected.

The deadline to submit is October 31. Find the full submission guidelines here.

David Joy is the author of When These Mountains Burn (winner of the 2020 Dashiell Hammett Award), The Line That Held Us (winner of the 2018 Southern Book Prize), The Weight of This World, and Where All Light Tends to Go (Edgar finalist for Best First Novel). His stories and creative nonfiction have appeared in a number of publications, and he is the author of the memoir Growing Gills: A Fly Fisherman’s Journey and a coeditor of Gather at the River: Twenty-Five Authors on Fishing. Joy lives in Tuckasegee, North Carolina. He is currently on tour for his latest novel Those We Thought We Knew.

Margaret Renkl mentions Joy for the New York Times in her coverage of the PBS documentary series “Southern Storytellers:”

“The first episode opens with David Joy, a North Carolina writer who looks and sounds every bit like the Southern Appalachian native he is. But he is not a stereotype. He is a man who sees his homeplace clearly and who writes like his hand was touched by God. ‘I think what I want people to recognize about the South is that it is a very, very complex place,’ he says, sitting barefoot on the tailgate of a pickup truck. ‘It’s full of whole lot of beauty. It’s full of a whole lot of bad things as well.’” — Margaret Renkl, “Telling the Truth in a Story-Haunted South,” New York Times.

The annual Doris Betts Fiction Prize honors the late fiction 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

For more than 30 years, East Carolina University and the North Carolina Literary & Historical Association have published the North Carolina Literary Review, a journal devoted to showcasing the Tar Heel State’s literary excellence. Described by one critic as “everything you ever wanted out of a literary publication but never dared to demand,” the NCLR has won numerous awards and citations.

Find submission guidelines for the Doris Betts Fiction Prize contest here. Email questions to