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Center for Appalachian Studies and Communities names fiction competition winners

ISSUED: 5 August 2020
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — Shepherd University’s Center for Appalachian Studies and Communities announced on August 1 the winners of the West Virginia Fiction Competition. Writers from across the state submitted stories for the competition and winners were selected by the 2020 One Book, One West Virginia author and Shepherd Appalachian Heritage Writer-in-Residence, Dorothy Allison, author of “Bastard Out of Carolina” and state common reading selection “Cavedweller.”

First prize went to “June Drop” by Morgantown writer Jordan Carter, who also placed among the winners in the 2019 competition. Cat Pleska, Scott Depot, took second place for “A Killing Time,” while Pat Donohoe, Shepherdstown, won third place for “Closet Wars.” The judge’s choice award for West Virginia public and private school writers went to Caroline Higginbottom, 7th grade student of Sarah Ochap at Linsly School in Wheeling. The competition awards a $500 first place prize, and $100 each for second and third place and judge’s choice award.

Dorothy Allison wrote story reviews for each of the three winners. Editors of the “Anthology of Appalachian Writers,” Dave Hoffman, Aneyla Dozier, and Sylvia Shurbutt wrote story reviews for the finalists—D.C. Gallant, Harpers Ferry; M. Lynne Squires, Scott Depot; Suzanne Heagy, Fairmont; and Amber Ray Garcia, Morgantown. Fiction writer Natalie Sypolt wrote the story review for Higginbottom.

All stories are submitted to the “Anthology of Appalachian Writers, Dorothy Allison Volume,” which is scheduled for publication in April 2021. The statewide event is funded by the West Virginia Center for the Book and supported by the Shepherd University Foundation and the West Virginia Humanities Council.

For information about the Dorothy Allison, Appalachian Heritage Writer-in-Residence, visit

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