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Doris Betts Fiction prize now open

GREENVILLE — The 2017 Doris Betts Fiction Prize is now open for submissions. The contest awards the first-place winner $250 and publication in the North Carolina Literary Review. Finalists will also be considered for publication in NCLR.

The competition is for previously unpublished short stories up to 6,000 words. It is open to any writer who is a legal resident of North Carolina or a member of the North Carolina Writers’ Network. North Carolina Literary Review subscribers with North Carolina connections (lives or has lived in NC) are also eligible.

The deadline is Wednesday, Feb. 15; submit here.

The final judge is NCLR fiction editor Liza Wieland. She the author of seven books and three collections of short fiction, including, most recently the novel “Land of Enchantment.” She has won two Pushcart Prizes, the Michigan Literary Fiction Prize, a Bridport Prize in the UK, and fellowships from The National Endowment for the Arts, The North Carolina Arts Council, and the Christopher Isherwood Foundation. She has recently been awarded a second fellowship from the North Carolina Arts Council.

For over 20 years, East Carolina University and the North Carolina Literary & Historical Association have published the North Carolina Literary Review, a journal devoted to showcasing the Tar Heel State’s literary excellence. Described by one critic as “everything you ever wanted out of a literary publication but never dared to demand,” the NCLR has won numerous awards and citations.

Doris Betts was the author of three short story collections and six novels. She won three Sir Walter Raleigh awards, the Southern Book Award, the North Carolina Award for Literature, the John Dos Passos Prize, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters Medal for the short story, among others. Beloved by her students, she was named the University of North Carolina Alumni Distinguished Professor of English in 1980. She was a 2004 inductee of the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame.

Anita Collins of Chapel Hill won the 2016 Doris Betts Fiction Prize for her story “The Anderson Kid,” in which a diver works to find the body of a drowned swimmer. Compassionate yet focused, this suspenseful tale filled its readers with an “absolute need to see.”

Taylor Brown’s “Rhino Girl,” which was also a compassionate but tough, economical story, won second place and also was selected for publication.

Here are the full guidelines:

  • The competition is open to any writer who is a legal resident of North Carolina or a member of the North Carolina Writers’ Network. North Carolina Literary Review subscribers with North Carolina connections (lives or has lived in NC) are also eligible.
  • The competition is for previously unpublished short stories up to 6,000 words. Multiple entries ok, but each requires a separate entry fee. No novel excerpts. Stories do NOT have to relate to NCLR’s annual special feature topic.
  • The deadline is Wednesday, February 15.
  • Simultaneous submissions OK, but please notify us immediately if your work is accepted elsewhere.
  • Submit previously unpublished stories online at https://nclr.submittable.com/submit.
  • Submittable will collect your entry fee via credit card ($10 NCWN members or NCLR subscribers / $20 for non-members/non-subscribers).
  • To pay submission fees by check or money order, make payable to the North Carolina Writers’ Network and mail to: Ed Southern, PO Box 21591, Winston-Salem, NC 27120- 1591
  • Documents must be Microsoft Word or .rtf files. Author’s name should not appear on manuscripts. (Submittable will collect and record your name and contact information.) If you have any problems submitting electronically, email NCLR’s Submission Manager.
  • If submitting by mail, mail story manuscript with a cover sheet providing name, address, email address, word count and manuscript title, to:

NCLR
ECU Mailstop
555 English
Greenville, NC 27858-4353
(but mail payment to the Network as per instructions above)

The winner and finalists will be announced by May 1. The winning story and select finalists will be published in the next year’s issue of the North Carolina Literary Review.

Questions may be directed to Margaret Bauer, Editor of the North Carolina Literary Review, at BauerM@ecu.edu.

The non-profit 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.

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