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Theresa Dowell Blackinton of Durham wins the 2018 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize

ASHEVILLE—Theresa Dowell Blackinton of Durham has won the 2018 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize for her story “Reunification.” Blackinton will receive $1,000 and possible publication in The Thomas Wolfe Review

Final judge Sarah Addison Allen described “Reunification” as “Timely, bittersweet, alive with imagery.  It takes a skilled writer to infuse a serious and emotional subject with such hope.” 

Blackinton is a writer and freelance editor whose work has won the Betty Gabehart Prize for Fiction and the NC State Short Fiction Award, and was published most recently in The Iowa Review

The story “Don’t Give Up on Alan Greenspan,” by Soma Mei Sheng Frazier of California, received first Honorable Mention. 

Soma Mei Sheng Frazier is an East Coast Native living in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she recently served as a San Francisco Library Laureate. Her award-winning fiction chapbooks, Salve (Nomadic Press) and Collateral Damage: A Triptych (RopeWalk Press), have earned praise from Nikki Giovanni, Daniel Handler, Antonya Nelson, Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, Molly Giles, Michelle Tea and others. Frazier’s writing has placed in literary competitions offered by HBO, Zoetrope: All-Story, the Mississippi Review and more. 

Robin Solit received second Honorable Mention for “1936: Hang There like Fruit, My Soul,” an excerpt from her unpublished novel Little Wanderers. It was inspired by her experience as the mother of a biracial child, her work with disabled babies in a Romanian orphanage, and her encounters with Mongolian and Russian children while riding the 5,000-mile Trans- Siberian Railway across the vast Eurasian Steppes and the wilds of Siberia during the dead of winter. She lives in the New York metropolitan area. 

Final judge Sarah Addison Allen is the New York Timesbestselling author of Garden Spells (2007); The Sugar Queen(2008); The Girl Who Chased the Moon (2010); The Peach Keeper (2011); and Lost Lake (2014). Her new novel First Frost is now on sale. She was born and raised in Asheville. 

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. HisLook 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

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