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NC writers win Rose Post Nonfiction contest

RALEIGH—NCWN members swept first, second and third place in this year’s Rose Post Creative Nonfiction Competition.

Pam Van Dyk of Raleigh won first place for her essay, “ABC to XYZ.” Van Dyk will receive $1,000 and Ecotone will consider her essay for publication.

Final judge Madge McKeithen said “ABC to XYZ” is “an emotionally and cognitively compelling recollection by a woman at mid-life of her Vietnam Veteran Dad’s love of nature and the sustaining tapestry of identity she created for herself at his side.”

Van Dyk is a senior editor at Regal House Publishing and enjoys working with both fiction and nonfiction authors on their way to publication. When it comes to her own writing, she adheres to the philosophy that one must learn how to write by reading. Thus, she spends a great deal of time adding books to her ever-growing “to read” list. A selection of her fiction has been anthologized by the Maine Review, Outrider Press and Flying South.

Ashley Memory of Asheboro took second place with her essay, “Eulogy of a Northern Red Oak,” which McKeithen described as “an ambitious and accomplished use of the second person perspective to keep the reader’s focus and attention on one particular Oak Tree amid the whirl of other world and very local goings-on during its life span. As experiential as it is experimental, this essay echoes with long resonance a deep caring for the specifics of our natural world.”

Memory lives in the Uwharrie Mountains with her husband, the sculptor Johnpaul Harris, and “happily counts many red oaks as her neighbors.” A former communications director at UNC, she now spends her days musing on metaphors and poking around abandoned cemeteries. Her poetry and prose have appeared in The Thomas Wolfe Review, The News & Observer in Raleigh, Wildlife in North Carolina, Naugatuck River Review, and Romantic Homes, among others. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and she is a two-time recipient of the Doris Betts Fiction Prize. Memory will receive a $300 prize check.

“Oh Brother, Where Are You?” by Barbara Furr took third place. “This essay is a decades-spanning sibling connection revealed through a personal essay written in spare prose. The narrator’s voice is spunky and savvy and able to capture the essence of a lifetime’s connection in a few scenes well told.”

Furr was born in Northampton County in 1927. She and her husband Curt have lived in Corrales, New Mexico, for four decades, but Barbara says she “is a Tar Heel born and a Tar Heel bred, and when I die I’ll be a Tar Heel dead.” She has published poetry and book reviews.

Sponsored by the North Carolina Writers’ Network, 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.

Normally administered by the UNC-Wilmington creative writing department, Queens University of Charlotte’s MFA in Creative Writing program took over this year’s contest so that UNCW could concentrate on hurricane recovery.

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