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Deadline for statewide Appalachian fiction competition is May 1

ISSUED: 12 April 2018
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — The deadline for submissions to the West Virginia Fiction Competition is May 1. Any writer living or going to school in West Virginia may submit an original piece of fiction writing and compete for the $500 first-place prize. There are also prizes for second and third place, as well as the Judges’ Choice Prize given to a student in the public schools.

This year’s West Virginia Fiction Competition will be judged by the Appalachian Heritage Writer in Residence (AHWIR) Karen Spears Zacharias, winner of the Weatherford Award for “Mother of Rain,” which will be the 2018 One Book One Community West Virginia State Common Read. Zacharias will offer critiques of the finalists’ stories, which, as one of last year’s finalists said, was “as exciting as winning first prize.” Zacharias has been a feature writer for National Public Radio, CNN, New York Times, Washington Post, and Huffington Post. Her Christian Bend Trilogy (“Mother of Rain,” “Burdy,” and “Christian Bend”) has received numerous awards.

Zacharias will receive the Appalachian Heritage Writer’s Award on September 27 when she comes to Shepherd. Her duties as West Virginia’s 2018 Heritage Writer and Shepherd University’s Appalachian Heritage Writer-in-Residence include working with the AHWIR committee to create teaching tools for West Virginia teachers who will utilize her books, judging the fiction competition, and serving as editorial advisor for the “Anthology of Appalachian Writers Karen Spears Zacharias Volume XI.”

The West Virginia Fiction Competition is sponsored by the state library commission’s West Virginia Center for the Book and Shepherd’s Center for Appalachian Studies.

For more information, contact Dr. Sylvia Bailey Shurbutt at or visit

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