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Winners of 2019 West Virginia Fiction Competition announced

ISSUED: 14 August 2019
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — Winners of the 2019 West Virginia Fiction Competition, funded by the Shepherd University Center for Appalachian Studies and Communities, Shepherd University Foundation, and West Virginia Center for the Book, have been selected. Jessica Salfia, Martinsburg, won first prize for “Fear.” Jordan Carter, Morgantown, won second prize for “Nymphs.” Third prize was awarded to Sean Duffy of Wheeling for “The Photograph.” The Judges’ Choice award goes to Noland Nelson of Calhoun County Middle/High School for “Address Happiness.” The first prize winner receives $500 and all other winners receive $100.

Nine finalists were selected from one of the largest submissions pools ever by a group of editors, creative writing teachers, and writers, including Natalie Sypolt, Pierpont Community and Technical College; David O. Hoffman, “Anthology of Appalachian Writers” editor; Allison Wharton, Shepherd history major and student editor, Charles Town; Dr. James Pate, Shepherd assistant professor of English; and Dr. Sylvia Bailey Shurbutt, director of Shepherd’s Center for Appalachian Studies and Communities.

Weatherford Award winner and 2019 West Virginia Common Read author Crystal Wilkinson made the final selection. Winners, finalists, and the community are invited to a Scarborough Lecture and Awards ceremony and reception at Shepherd’s Scarborough Library on Thursday, September 26, where Wilkinson and Karen Goff, West Virginia Center for the Book, will present the awards.

“All the finalists are winners, as their stories were selected from a host of blind submissions from across West Virginia,” said Shurbutt. “All finalists and the Judges’ Choice selection will receive critiques of their stories. Author, teacher, and editor Natalie Sypolt will write the Judges’ Choice critique, while Wilkinson will offer critiques for the nine finalists. The stories will be submitted for consideration in the 2020 “Anthology of Appalachian Writers, Crystal Wilkinson Volume XII.”

The finalists include “Tapestry,” Beverly Hurst, Nutter Fort; “Cassonade,” Kelsey Green, Parkersbug; “Elderberry Jam,” Ellie Putnam, Martinsburg; “Silver Bullet Bra,” Carter Taylor Seaton, Huntington; “The Burning Woman,” Mikala Hamrick, Inwood; and “Dolly,” Tamar-Marie Tipton, Shepherd music major, Baltimore.

For information, visit or contact Shurbutt at

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