RALEIGH—For the third year in a row, NCWN members swept first, second, and third place in the Rose Post Creative Nonfiction Competition.
Heather Bell Adams of Raleigh (pictured on the right) won first place for her essay “Show Me.” She will receive $1,000, and ecotone will consider her essay for publication.
“What begins with the speaker’s marveling at a quirky aunt blossoms into a portrait of a complex woman whose idiosyncrasies might point to a number of things, but the writer refuses to pigeonhole her with an armchair diagnosis,” final judge Destiny O. Birdsong said of the winning essay. “Instead, Aunt Cille is given the grace to be both strange and beautiful, both whimsical with and watchful of the children put in her charge. In an essay that begins with a memory and ends with a wish, the writer reminds us of the great gift of being raised by perfectly imperfect people who teach us how to live robustly, how to defy openly, and how to dream unapologetically.”
A lifelong North Carolinian, Adams is the author of the novels Maranatha Road (West Virginia University Press, 2017) and The Good Luck Stone (Haywire Books, 2020). Her short fiction appears in The Thomas Wolfe Review, Atticus Review, The Petigru Review, Broad River Review, Pembroke Magazine, and other journals.
Birdsong selected “Cows and Cairo” by Emily Dunlap Carter for second place, saying “There’s so much to love about this portrayal of a stoic father, a loving but reticent child, and how a farm family makes ends meet in the face of big business and the vicissitudes of farm life. I love how the child speaker is quick to tell us so much about what they know, but has no idea that they will one day follow in their father’s footsteps. It’s a surprise ending that makes the memory of a cattle sale all the more prescient, and all the more touching.”
Carter grew up in the North Carolina Sandhills, went to Appalachian State University, and currently lives in Beaufort. She is a board member of The Writers’ Exchange and a contributor to Haunted Waters Press.
Charlotte’s Lucinda Trew took third place with her essay “The Lessons We Learn in Dressing Rooms,” of which Birdsong said, “In this funny, instructional essay about how to find the clothes that best fit you, the writer offers us a charming slice of Southern life, from the boutique owners who lovingly point you to overlooked ensembles, to the Carolina-raised daughter who can be both well-mannered and blunt when rejecting her mother’s sartorial suggestions. I found myself smiling, nodding, and remembering with this essay. Reading it felt like being home.”
Trew holds degrees in journalism and English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is an award-winning speechwriter, poet, and essayist. Her work has appeared in The Fredricksburg Literary and Art Review, The Poet, Cathexis Northwest Press, The Bangor Literary Journal, San Pedro River Review, Flying South, Medium, The Mighty, Blunt Moms, Boomer Café, and other journals. She lives and writes in Charlotte.
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 fifty-six 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.