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Jacobs/Jones African American Literary Prize

Postmark Deadline: January 2 (annual)
Submissions Accepted: November 1 – January 2

The Jacobs/Jones African-American Literary Prize honors Harriet Jacobs and Thomas Jones, two pioneering African-American writers from North Carolina, and seeks to convey the rich and varied existence of African-American/Black North Carolinians. The contest, sponsored by the North Carolina Writers’ Network, is administered by the Creative Writing Program at UNC-Chapel Hill. The winner receives $1,000 and possible publication of the winning entry in The Carolina Quarterly.

Eligibility and Guidelines

  • The competition is open to any African-American/Black writer whose primary residence is in North Carolina.
  • Entries may be fiction or creative nonfiction, but must be unpublished*, no more than 3,000 words, and concerned with the lives and experiences of African-American/Black North Carolinians. Entries may be excerpts from longer works, but must be self-contained. Entries will be judged on literary merit.
  • An entry fee must accompany each submission: $10 for NCWN members, $20 for nonmembers. You may submit multiple entries, but the correct fee must accompany each one.
  • You may pay the members’ entry fee if you join the NCWN when you submit.
  • Simultaneous submissions are accepted, but please notify us immediately if your work is accepted elsewhere.
  • If submitting by mail, submit two copies of an unpublished manuscript, not to exceed 3,000 words, on single-sided pages, double-spaced, in black 12-point Times New Roman font, with 1-inch margins.
  • The author’s name should not appear on the manuscript. Instead, include a separate cover sheet with name, address, phone number, e-mail address, word count, and manuscript title.
  • To submit by USPS:

Jacobs/Jones African-American Literary Prize
c/o NCWN
P. O. Box 21591
Winston-Salem, NC 27120

  • When you submit online, Submittable will collect your entry fee via credit card ($10 NCWN members / $20 non-members). (If submitting online, do not include a cover sheet with your document; Submittable will collect and record your name and contact information. For more information about Submittable, click here.)
    • To submit as a Member of NCWN ($10), click here.
    • To submit as a Non-Member of NCWN ($20), click here.
  • Entries will not be returned.
  • The winner will be announced in February.

For questions, please contact mail@ncwriters.org.

*“Published” means the work has appeared for public consumption in any form: print, online, digital, etc.

Has it appeared in a magazine or journal, of any size or circulation? Then it’s been published. Has it appeared on a blog, even one hardly anybody reads? Then it’s published. Audio book? E-book? Free download? ‘Zine, mimeographed and stapled in 1995? Published.

For our contests, we’re looking for new work, fresh work, work unseen by anyone outside your immediate family and/or critique group. Shine a light on your published work in your portfolio, and submit your new work for one (or more) of our annual prizes. Good luck.


Past Winners

2022
First Place: Ashley-Ruth Bernier, Apex, NC
Honorable Mention: Leticia Tuset, Chapel Hill, NC

2021
First Place: Isaac Hughes Green, Durham, NC
Honorable Mention: Taylor Young, Boone, NC
Honorable Mention: Evette Evans, Pittsboro, NC

2020
First Place: Barbara Johnson-Davis, Charlotte, NC
Honorable Mention: Carolyn Tucker, Greensboro, NC

2019
First Place: Sandra Headen, Raleigh, NC
Honorable Mention: Barbara Johnson, Charlotte, NC