contest results

Photo by Carl Jones

Photo by Carl Jones

April 6, 2014

Carolina Wren Press is pleased to announce the winner of the inaugural Lee Smith Novel Prize: Mulberries by Paulette Boudreaux. Mulberries was selected from more than 170 contest entries.

Mulberries is a gripping tale of family crisis and personal strength that focuses on an eleven-year-old girl struggling to keep herself and her family, and her three younger brothers in particular, afloat in smalltown, segregated Mississippi during the early 1960s. “This elegantly written novel marks the powerful debut of an important voice,” says Carolina Wren Press co-director Robin Miura. “I am so pleased that we are able to publish such a talented emerging writer as the winner of the first-ever Lee Smith Novel Prize.”

The purpose of the Lee Smith Novel Prize is to recognize and publish authors living in, writing about, or originally from the U.S. South. “The press sees this prize as a way to acknowledge Lee Smith’s contributions to southern literature as a writer, teacher, and mentor while at the same time working to explore and expand the definition of southern literature,” says Miura.

Paulette Boudreaux is a Mississippi native who now lives in Los Gatos, California. She is a member of the English faculty of West Valley College and has published short stories and novel excerpts in national and international literary journals including Room of One’s Own, Acorn Whistle, Equinox: Writing for a New Culture, In the Margins, and Voices. She received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Northeastern University and a master’s in fine arts degree from Mills College.


Wyatt author photo 3-2014March 12, 2014
Carolina Wren Press is pleased to announce the winner of the 2014 Carolina Wren Press Poetry Series contest: Goldberg – Variations  by Charles Wyatt.

Goldberg – Variations was chosen from a field of more than 200 entries by Ravi Shankar, poet and editor of Drunken Boat. Of the work, Ravi Shankar has written:

“Water Pater’s famous maxim that all art aspires to the condition of music is given rapturous embodiment in Charles Wyatt’s Goldberg – Variations, alluding to perhaps the most triumphant piece of harpsichord music ever composed, Johann Sebastian Bach’s orchestration of two arias and a set of 30 variations. Both Bach’s acoustical magnum opus and Wyatt’s sonorous verbal accomplishment create harmony using a ground bass line melodically elaborated in the progression of a sequence, demonstrating that, as in genetics, there is no original form, but only a recursive set of variations.  Ekphrastic poetry might be enjoying a surprising renaissance but Wyatt is the inheritor of an even rarer practice, call it aural mimesis until we coin a catchier term, poetry that imitates music, a lineage we can trace at least as far back as Langston Hughes’ accommodation of the blues into verse, if not much earlier in some of our most ancient folk poetry. Beyond the title sequence, the Goldberg – Variations enthralls the ear and stimulates the mind, exploring such subjects as myomancy, divination using the movement of mice and revivifying such verbal artifacts as Shakespeare’s skainsmate and the higgling pig. Wyatt’s other long sequences “Emily Poems” and “Thirteen Ways of Looking at Wallace Stevens” are meditations on lines from Stevens and Dickinson, uncanny and inventive as finely crafted homages.  A poet who can verge from phosphorescence to the blue guitar, from “All the satin in paradise / smooths this thought, / statue learning, the hard earth/ waiting—“ to “And up with its roots, hey ho. / And off with its prolific leaves, / Why should we say the wind knows a tree, / blind wind, blundering, entangled/ in its own brash and billowing song?” is someone to watch closely and listen to even closer. A major concerto of a book, Charles Wyatt’s Goldberg – Variations demonstrates the proximity of our art forms and the sheer universe of delight they can provoke within us.”

Charles Wyatt is the author of two collections of short fiction, (Listening to Mozart, University of Iowa Press, Swan of Tuonela, Hanging Loose Press), a novella (Falling Stones; the Spirit Autobiography of S.M. Jones, Texas Review Press), and two poetry chapbooks (A Girl Sleeping, Sow’s Ear Poetry Review Chapbook Series, Myomancy, Finishing Line Press). He is the recipient of the Beloit Poetry Journal’s 2010 Chad Walsh Prize and the Writers at Work 2013 Fellowship in Poetry. He has served as visiting writer at Binghamton University, Denison University, The University of Central Oklahoma, Purdue University, and Oberlin College. He currently teaches in the Low Residency Program of the University of Nebraska and the Writing Program of UCLA Extension. Before this, he was principal flutist of the Nashville Symphony for 25 years.

Goldberg – Variations by Charles Wyatt and What Else Could It Be: Ekphrastics and Collaborations by Ravi Shankar, will be published by Carolina Wren Press in early 2015.

March 1, 2013

Carolina Wren Press is pleased to announce the winner of the 2012 Doris Bakwin Award for Writing by a Woman: A Falling Star by Chantel AcevedoA Falling Star was selected from more than 200 contest entries by novelist Moira Crone.

A Falling Star recounts the stories of two families who came to the United States as part of the 1980 Mariel Boat lift. Of her selection, contest judge Moira Crone writes: “In one unforgettable scene in this fine novel, a woman travels far just to stand outside the prison that holds her lover. She wants to listen to the same singer he hears at nightfall; it is the only way to be close to someone she’ll never see again. In evocative, careful prose, A Falling Star tells a simple, tale of family loss, exile, of two worlds forced apart. But Acevedo does something more: she conjures the secret history of the Cuban-American soul.”

Chantel Acevedo’s first novel, Love and Ghost Letters won the Latino International Book Award and was a finalist for the Connecticut Book of the Year. Song of the Red Cloak, a historical novel for young adults, was published in 2011. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in Prairie Schooner, American Poetry Review, North American Review, and Chattahoochee Review, among others. Acevedo was named a Literature Fellow by the Alabama State Council on the Arts in 2012. She is currently an Associate Professor of English and Alumni Writer-in-Residence at Auburn University, where she founded the Auburn Writers Conference and edits the Southern Humanities Review.

Photo by Penelope Acevedo

February, 2012:
We are delighted to announce that L. Lamar Wilson’s manuscript Sacrilegion was chosen by Lee Ann Brown as the winner of the 2012 Carolina Wren Press Poetry Series. Of this collection, Brown writes: “Sacrilegion chants new songlines of the sacred and profane, radiating legions of regions we must all negotiate together. Love, life, identity and language wrestle and riff here with pure expressive power.”

L. Lamar Wilson, a 2012 Pushcart Prize nominee, has poems published or forthcoming in journals and anthologies such as jubilat, African American Review, Callaloo, Rattle, Vinyl, The 100 Best African-American Poems and A Face to Meet the Faces: An Anthology of Contemporary Persona Poetry. He’s the winner of the 2011 Beau Boudreaux Poetry Prize and was twice a finalist for the New Letters Poetry Prize. He is working toward a PhD in English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, studying 20th-century African-American and Caribbean poetics. He has presented scholarship at the Association for the Study of African-American Life and History Convention in Raleigh, as well as at other conferences. He holds an MFA in writing from Virginia Tech and has been a graduate fellow at Cave Canem.

Review copies of Sacrilegion will be available in October, 2012. Advance copies can be ordered beginning in December, 2012. Anticipated publication date is January, 2013.

January, 2012: Poetry Contestants: Finalists have been sent to the judge, Lee Ann Brown. If you are in this group, you have been contacted already. We anticipate results by the end of the month.

February, 2011: The winner of the 2011 Doris Bakwin Award for Writing by a Woman is Margaret Hermes for Relative Strangers.

In the words of contest judge Jill McCorkle: “Relative Strangers is a stunning collection of stories. Every single story is vivid and memorable, and yet, equally powerful is the collective thematic effect. So many of these characters are strangers within their own families and their own lives—people thought to be dead are resurrected and another’s survival is akin to death. Change, loss, alienation; it’s all here. But so is humor and compassion and a fresh spin on the way people deal with the most vulnerable aspects of life. Margaret Hermes is a wonderful writer and this is a moving and powerful collection.”

Margaret Hermes grew up in Chicago and lives in Saint Louis. In addition to short stories that have appeared in The Missouri Review, Sou’wester, The Laurel Review, New Millennium, Thema, The Wisconsin Review, The Madison Review and Red Cedar Review, her published and performed work includes a novel, a stage adaptation of an Oscar Wilde fable, and several essays. When not writing, she concentrates her energies on environmental issues.

“Transubstantiation,” the first story in the collection, debuted in The Laurel Review (in a slightly different version) and was later anthologized in 20 Over 40 (David Galef and Beth Weinhouse eds., The University Press of Mississippi, 2006). In this collection, in which twenty seasoned authors explore the perils and satisfactions of midlife, Margaret Hermes appears in the company of such eminent literary lights as Antonya Nelson, Frederick Barthelme, Robin Hemley, and Gish Jen.

Hermes’s collection was chosen from a pool of more than 130 contest entries. Preliminary readers selected a dozen finalists to send to the final judge, Jill McCorkle. “As usual we were impressed by the high caliber of entries in this competition. Despite the economy, many very-capable writers think it’s advisable to be considered by Carolina Wren Press. They see the success of our past authors, such as Evie Shockley, Jeanne Leiby, and William Henry Lewis. We are tiny but mighty!” says Andrea Selch, Carolina Wren Press President and Acting Executive Director since 2002.

Carolina Wren Press anticipates publication of Relative Strangers in January 2012; bound galleys will be available to reviewers in September, 2011. For full details and advance orders, please visit our website.

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