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Eight finalists for West Virginia Fiction Competition announced

ISSUED: 9 June 2021
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — Shepherd University’s Center for Appalachian Studies and Communities announces eight finalists for the 2021 West Virginia Fiction Competition.

The eight finalists are Shepherdstown residents D. W. Gregory, “Mr. Kindness,” and Stephen Bartlett, “Spirit of Kind Feather”; Julie Becraft-Shehan, Harpers Ferry, “Ties That Bind”; Lynn Swanson, Hedgesville, “Motel”; M. Lynne Squires, Scott Depot, “What He Didn’t Hear”; Sean Patrick Duffy, Wheeling, “The Wake”; and Belpre, Ohio residents Lois Spencer, a Shepherd University Lifelong Learning program member, “Wild Geese,” and Kandi Ellison, a West Virginia college student, for “Dog Days.”

All submissions are unpublished stories written by either a West Virginia resident or someone attending school in West Virginia.

Shepherd Appalachian Heritage Writer-in-Residence Marie Manilla will review the eight submissions and choose first, second, and third place winners. Manilla will write fiction critiques for each of the finalists. Winners will be announced on August 1 and the awards will be presented by Manilla and competition partner and funder, the West Virginia Center for the Book, on September 30 during the Appalachian Heritage Festival at Shepherd.

“In some sense, each of the finalists is a winner,” said Dr. Sylvia Shurbutt, director, Center for Appalachian Studies and Communities.  “Everyone has this extraordinary opportunity to receive a priceless piece of literary advice from Manilla.”

In addition to the eight finalists, a middle or high school student was selected the winner in the Judges’ Choice Award. Noche Gauthier, Harpers Ferry, is the Judge’s Choice winner for his story “Tulips.”

West Virginia Fiction Competition judges included writers and editors Dave Hoffman and Ellen Wade, as well as Dr. James Pate, Shepherd associate professor of English.

For information about the competition or to learn more about Manilla,

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