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Finalists in West Virginia Fiction Competition announced

ISSUED: 1 June 2022

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — Shepherd University’s Center for Appalachian Studies and Communities has announced six finalists in the West Virginia Fiction Competition. Best-selling author Barbara Kingsolver will review finalists’ stories and select the first, second, and third place winners.

“Kingsolver will also write story critiques for each of the finalists, making all six winners in their own right,” said Dr. Sylvia Bailey Shurbutt, director of Shepherd’s Center for Appalachian Studies and Communities, which manages the competition.

The youngest finalist is Noche Gauthier of Harpers Ferry, a 16-year-old homeschooled student currently enrolled in Shepherd’s dual enrollment program, who wrote “Hymnals.” Other finalists are Pat Donohoe, Shepherdstown, “Close Up and Far Away”; Kassidy Jordan, Point Pleasant, “Falling”; Lisa Taka Younis, Shepherdstown, “Lambs”; Carter Warhurst, Shepherdstown, “Junior’s Home”; and James Frye, Shenandoah Junction, “Blackwater.” Warhurst is an English major at Shepherd and Frye is a recent graduate.

The first-prize winning story will receive $500, while second- and third-prize stories will receive $100 each

There is also a Judges’ Choice category for public school students chosen by four judges: educator and scholar Dave Hoffman, Shepherd Associate Professor of English Dr. James Pate, and anthology editors Mary Barker and Shurbutt. Nadia Madenspacher, an eighth-grade student at Mountain Ridge Middle School in Berkeley County, won the Judges’ Choice award for her story “The Cliff.” She will receive a $100 award.

All finalist and judges’ choice stories will be considered for the “Anthology of Appalachian Writers, Barbara Kingsolver Volume XV.”

The fiction competition is part of the Appalachian Heritage Writer-in-Residence series, sponsored by the West Virginia Center for the Book and the West Virginia Humanities Council and managed by the Shepherd University Center for Appalachian Studies and Communities and the Shepherd University Foundation. Competition winners will be announced and receive their awards at Shepherd on Thursday, September 29, as part of Appalachian Heritage Festival week.

For information about the competition events in September, visit the Barbara Kingsolver Appalachian Heritage Writer-in-Residence website.

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