Back to Network News

Leslie Kirk Campbell of San Francisco has won the 2019 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize

ASHEVILLE—Leslie Kirk Campbell of San Francisco has won the 2019 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize for her story “City of Angels.” Campbell will receive $1,000 and possible publication in The Thomas Wolfe Review

Final judge Jill McCorkle described “City of Angels” as “very well written and moving . . . an accurate portrayal of teenage angst that opens to a much broader—and very timely–landscape.” 

Campbell is the author of Journey into Motherhood (Riverhead). Her short fiction has won first place awards at Arts & Letters, Southern Indiana Review, and Briar Cliff Review, and has placed as a finalist at Iowa Review, Bellevue Literary Review, and Glimmer Train. She has received fellowships from Playa and Ucross. Having just completed her first short story collection, she is at work on a second collection. She teaches at Ripe Fruit Writing, a creative writing program she founded in San Francisco in 1991. 

McCorkle also selected three entries for Honorable Mention: “Fallen Birds” by Beth Nixon Weaver, “The Bethlehem Baker” by Andrew Scrimgeour, and “The God Box” by Michael Gaspeny. 

Weaver has one published YA novel (Rooster), and a forthcoming short story, “Hawaii in a Box,” in Adelaide Literary Magazine No. 25). She holds a PhD in English and teaches Literature and Humanities in Orlando, Florida. 

Scrimgeour’s stories and essays have been published in The New York Times, The New York Times Book Review, The Authors Guild Bulletin, and The Moment: Wild, Poignant, Life-Changing Stories (Harper Perennial, 2012). The author of numerous articles, he is the editor of Just Call Me Bob: The Wit and Wisdom of Robert W. Funk (2007) and The Legacy of Robert W. Funk: Reforming the Scholarly Model (2018) and is writing a full-length biography of Funk.  Later this year, Penn State University Press will publish The Prophetic Quest: The Stained Glass Windows of Jacob Landau, photography by Tom Crane, which he co-authored with David S. Herrstrom.  Dr. Scrimgeour is Dean of Libraries Emeritus, Drew University, Madison, NJ, and lives with his wife in Cary. 

Gaspeny, author of the chapbooks Re-Write Men and Vocation, has won the Randall Jarrell Poetry Competition and the O. Henry Festival Short Fiction Contest. His stories have appeared inBrilliant Corners: A Journal of Jazz and Literature; storySouth and The Greensboro Review. The first chapter of his novel A Postcard from the Delta is forthcoming in Embark! In his seventeenth year of hospice service in Greensboro, he has received the North Carolina Governor’s Award for Volunteer Excellence. 

Weaver, Scrimgeour, and Gaspeny are all NCWN members. 

Final judge Jill McCorkle has the distinction of having her first two novels published on the same day in 1984. Since then she has published four other novels and four collections of short stories. Five of her books have been named New York Times notable books, while three of her stories have appeared in Best American Short Stories anthologies. McCorkle has received the New England Booksellers Award, the John Dos Passos Prize for Excellence in Literature, and the North Carolina Award for Literature. She is a member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers and the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame. McCorkle has taught at UNC-Chapel Hill, Tufts, and Brandeis, where she was the Fannie Hurst Visiting Writer. She was a Briggs-Copeland Lecturer in Fiction at Harvard for five years where she also chaired Creative Writing. She currently teaches creative writing in the MFA Program at NC State University and is a core faculty member of the Bennington College Writing Seminars. A native of Lumberton, she lives with her husband, photographer Tom Rankin, in Hillsborough. 

The Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize, which is awarded to a work of short fiction 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 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

Read the recognized publications here.