WASHINGTON, PA (Sept. 20, 2018)–The North Carolina Literary Review (NCLR) announced the winners of the 2018 Alex Albright Creative Nonfiction Prize. Washington & Jefferson College Associate Professor of English Jennifer Harding, Ph.D., is among the winners, earning second place for her essay, “Looking for Charles.”
The Charles whom Dr. Harding seeks is the African American writer Charles Chesnutt, who set many of his works in North Carolina. Her essay will be published in the 2019 NCLR issue’s special feature section on African American writers of North Carolina.
Dr. Harding has published numerous articles on Chesnutt’s short stories, including a recent chapter in the MLA volume Approaches to Teaching the Works of Charles W. Chesnutt. She also lectured on Chesnutt’s stories as a Fulbright scholar in the Czech Republic in 2017. She will receive $300, thanks to a grant NCLR received from the North Carolina Arts Council.
“This essay started as a fun side project for me after I made a short trip to Cleveland while writing a scholarly article on Charles Chesnutt that was published in 2012. It’s the first piece of creative nonfiction I’ve ever written, so after working on it for such a very long time, I’m really excited that it will finally be published next year,” Dr. Harding said.
NCLR editor Margaret Bauer reported that submissions for the competition doubled from previous years. A total of 15 finalists out of 63 submissions were sent to this year’s final judge, Randall Kenan, the author of several books, including the nonfiction Walking on Water: Black American Lives at the Turn of the Twenty-first Century. Kenan will be inducted into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame in October.
Kenan selected Dr. Harding’s essay for second place, saying, “I like this piece a lot. Very complicated. Very unexpected.”
Other winners include Nancy Werking Poling of Black Mountain took first place for her composition “Leander’s Lies.” Angela Belcher Epps and Joel Thomas earned honorable mentions.
The Alex Albright Creative Nonfiction Prize was created in 2015 to honor the founding editor of the North Carolina Literary Review. The first Albright Prize winner was published in the 25th issue of NCLR in 2016. The competition requires no submission fee, but writers must subscribe to NCLR to submit. Either the writer or the subject matter of the submission must have some North Carolina connection. For submission and subscription information, go to http://www.nclr.ecu.edu.
About Washington & Jefferson College
Washington & Jefferson College, located in Washington, Pa., is a selective liberal arts college founded in 1781. Committed to providing each of its students with the highest-quality undergraduate education available, W&J offers a traditional arts and sciences curriculum emphasizing interdisciplinary study and independent study work. For more information about W&J, visit www.washjeff.edu, or call 888-W-AND-JAY.