Winners of the Rose Post Creative Nonfiction competition

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 5, 2020

CULLOWHEE—For the second year in a row, NCWN members swept first, second, and third place in the Rose Post Creative Nonfiction Competition.

Jeannette Cabanis-Brewin of Cullowhee won first place for her essay, “Plum Song.” She will receive $1,000, and Ecotone will consider her essay for publication.

“This piece draws you in through its poetic lyricism, singing of the garden’s wonders,” final judge Jane Wong said of “Plum Song.” “The synesthesia in this essay particularly stood out to me — full of gratitude for each plant, each creature.”

Cabanis-Brewin is an award-winning business writer and editor by trade but in her real life she farms, keeps chickens, bees and the occasional pig and writes about Southern Appalachia. Her poetry and essays have been published in numerous journals throughout the Southeast.

Her chapbook “Patriate” was the 2007 Longleaf Press Open Chapbook competition winner and her essay “White Lobelia” was a runner up in the 2012 Rose Post Creative Nonfiction Competition.

Wong selected “Champ” by Judy Goldman for second place, saying, “Engaging familial nostalgia, love, and pride, this essay thoughtfully asks us to consider closeness in a family. And how, in discovering more about each other, we discover ourselves.”

Goldman is the author of six books — two memoirs, two novels and two collections of poetry. Her most recent book, “Together: A Memoir of a Marriage and a Medical Mishap,” was named one of the best books of 2019 by Real Simple magazine. “Together” also received a starred review from Library Journal. Goldman’s work has appeared in USA Today, Washington Post, Real Simple, Literary Hub, Southern Review, Gettysburg Review, Kenyon Review, Crazyhorse, Ohio Review, Shenandoah, Prairie Schooner and more.

Asheville’s Patricia Poteat took third place for her essay, “Lullaby,” of which Wong said, “Speaking of grief and healing, this piece begins with the sound of a train and expands its metaphorical power.”

Poteat’s creative work has appeared in The Great Smokies Review and in Voices, a collection of essays about child advocacy work in North Carolina. “Witness,” a work of creative nonfiction published in the journal Zero Dark Thirty, was nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She has been a finalist for the Doris Betts Fiction Prize, Glimmer Train’s “Family Matters” competition, the Alex Albright Creative Nonfiction Prize, and New Millennium Writings’ annual short story and flash fiction competitions. She is the author of “Walker Percy and the Old Modern Age” and scholarly essays on topics in religion and modern culture.

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 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