North Carolina writing contests in January

Why wait for the second quarter, or spring or summer to rack up a prestigious writing prize? Local and regional contests are currently accepting submissions. Prize purses, publications and accolades await. Plus, several of these contests honor local literary greats (Thomas Wolfe and Carl Sandburg among them).

1. North Carolina Poetry Society poetry contests

The North Carolina Poetry Society hosts 10 poetry contests, all with a submission deadline of Friday, Jan. 9. The Poet Laureate Award offers a single prize for “a serious poem, any subject, any style, maximum of 110 lines.” Other contests include the Joanna Catherine Scott Award (for a sonnet or other traditional form), the Griffin-Farlow Haiku Award and the Carol Bessent Hayman Poetry of Love Award.

DETAILS: Find individual contest guidelines here.
FEE: $15 Poet Laureate/$8 adult poetry contests
PRIZES: Poet Laureate Award: $100; Poetry prizes: $50 1st prize/$25 2nd prize/$15 3rd prize
DEADLINE: Friday, Jan. 9

2. The William Matthews Poetry Prize

“All submissions will be considered for publication,” says the Asheville Poetry Review of its annual poetry contest. Previous winners include Michael White, Becky Gould Gibson, Bart Rawlinson and Bruce Sager. Pulitzer-nominated poet Garrett Hongo is this year’s final judge.

DETAILS: Send 1-3 poems, any style, any theme, any length. Submission guidelines here.
FEE: $20
PRIZES: 1st place: $1,000 plus publication in Asheville Poetry Review and a featured reading/2nd place: $250, publication, featured reading/3rd place: publication and featured reading
DEADLINE: Thursday, Jan. 15

3. Rose Post Creative Nonfiction Competition

The Rose Post Creative Nonfiction Competition, sponsored by the North Carolina Writers’ Network and administered by the creative writing department at UNC-Wilmington, “encourages the creation of lasting nonfiction work that is outside the realm of conventional journalism. Subjects may include traditional categories such as reviews, travel articles, profiles or interviews, place/history pieces, or culture criticism.” Jason Frye, a travel, culinary, and culture writer from Wilmington, is this year’s final judge

DETAILS: Each entry must be an original and previously unpublished manuscript of no more than 2,000 words, typed in a 12-point standard font (i.e., Times New Roman) and double-spaced. See all guidelines here
FEE: $12/$10 for North Carolina Writers’ Network members
PRIZES: $1,000 1st place/$300 2nd pace/$200 3rd place
DEADLINE: Saturday, Jan. 17

4. Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize

N.C. author Lee Smith (Fair and Tender Ladies, Guests on Earth) will be the final judge for the Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize. The contest, “honors internationally celebrated North Carolina novelist and North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame inductee Thomas Wolfe. The prize is administered by Tommy Hays and the Great Smokies Writing Program at the University of North Carolina at Asheville.”

DETAILS: Open to all writers, regardless of geographical location. Submit an unpublished fiction manuscript not to exceed 12 double-spaced, single-sided pages. See guidelines here.
FEE: $25/$15 for North Carolina Writers’ Network members
PRIZES: Winner receives $1,000 and publication
DEADLINE Friday, Jan. 30

5. 2015 Citron Review Poetry Contest

Literary magazine The Citron Review is holding a poetry contest to honor Carl Sandburg. “Sandburg is a national icon — a poet who lived his life with integrity and concern for humankind,” writes Eric Steineger, senior poetry editor of The Citron Review and board member of The Friends of Carl Sandburg at Connemara. “Any remaining funds (after the $250 grand prize) will go to a Collections Management Intern/archivist fund for The Carl Sandburg Estate in Flat Rock, NC. Currently, there is one archivist in charge of Sandburg’s personal effects, which total over 300,000 documents.” Read more in this BoldLife feature.

DETAILS: Send three-five poems in the spirit of Carl Sandburg. Enter here.
FEE: $10
PRIZES: $250, publication and mention in The Friends of Carl Sandburg at Connemara newsletter. Three other finalists receive publication alongside the winning poem.
DEADLINE: Wednesday, April 1


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About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall has lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. She is the winner of the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the author of the novel "How to Talk to Rockstars," published by Logosophia Books. Follow me @alli_marshall

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