Undergraduate students at WCU are invited to submit their original work to the annual
LitFest Creative Writing Competition. Winners in each genre receive a $250 prize (runners-up
receive $50), publication in Nomad, and a chance to read at the Spring Literary Festival. The competition is sponsored
by the English department, Ron Rash, City Lights Bookstore, and Harry Alter Books
Kathryn Stripling Byer Prize in Poetry
Winner - Rae Hanes, "How to Make Spaghetti"
"The poem is very clever," final judge Kevin Boyle says. "A very nice mix of sensory details related to pasta and sexuality, and an
interesting use of the narrative form to get at emotion—regret and sadness, but the
sadness is countered, in the poem, with a lot of dynamic energy that comes through
a strong voice.”
Rae Hanes reads her winning poem, "How to Make Spaghetti"
Runner up - Libby Bradly, "Old Caroleen"
Kevin Boyle: “I enjoy how this poem sees the world. So many nice details like ice
that slinks, or a pool caged by beer bottles. The poem is a good example of how the
natural world can often give us an opportunity to use our imaginations and write vividly.”
Judged by Kevin Boyle, author of the poetry collections Astir and A Home for Wayward Girls, as well as the chapbook The Lullaby of History.
Read more about the late Kathryn Stripling Byer and her work.
Prize in Fiction
Winner - Foster Dalmas, “How Was Your Day Today?”
“Filled with humor and compelling indignation," final judge Abigail DeWitt writes. "This story gives us a smartly believable child’s POV without ever veering
into sentimentality or cuteness. Dalmas’s prematurely world-weary narrator, outraged
by his and his classmates’ imprisonment in school, is a wonderful example of an angry
hero. This is a story I won’t soon forget, by an author I’m grateful to have discovered.”
Runner-up -Samantha Lughart, "Infestation"
Abigail Dewitt: “‘Infestation’ is a subtle and vivid meditation on a mother’s influence
on her daughter. What seems at first to be ‘simply' a well-written story about ordinary
pests reveals itself in the end to be something much more profound. Beautiful work
by a talented writer I look forward to hearing more from in the future.”
Judged by Abigail DeWitt, author of the novels News of Our Loved Ones, Dogs, and Lili. Her short fiction appears in Witness, The Carolina Quarterly, The Alaska Quarterly, and elsewhere
Prize in Literary Nonfiction
Winner - Chrishaun Baker, “Shaniya”
Final judge Cassandra Kircher writes of Chrishaun's essay: “The narrator's ability
to remember his eleven-year-old reaction to the disappearance of a child in his hometown
as well as to imagine the disappearance from the perspective of his own parents makes
this essay doubly haunting. Told in an almost chilly reporting style, Baker's essay
makes it clear that what happens in a place can also tarnish it.”
Runner-up - Morgan Winstead, “Paper Kites”
Cassandra Kircher: “Focused on the power of memory, ‘Plastic Kites’ hovers delicately
over an ordinary pre-school day that the essay's twenty-year-old narrator realizes
might be extraordinary."
Augustus von Reinhardt
Judged by Cassandra Kircher, author of the essay collection Far Flung: Improvisations on National Parks, Driving to Russia, Not Marrying a Ranger,
The Language of Heartbreak, and Other Natural Disasters.
Email Professor Jeremy Jones or the Nomad staff with questions.