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Competition offers writers $7,000 in cash prizes

SCAC Fellow’s new book out Sept. 25

Charleston writer F. Rutledge Hammes, the S.C. Arts Commission's current fellowship recipient for prose, is set to release his debut novel, A Curious Matter of Men with Wings, on Sept. 25. The book has received glowing praise from writers like New York Times bestselling author Dorothea Benton Frank who writes, “F. Rutledge Hammes is that rare new voice you run across once or maybe twice in a lifetime. His spectacular debut novel, A Curious Matter of Men with Wings, soars! It is a coming of age cautionary tale about power. It’s a mystery and a love story wrapped up in humidity and pluff mud and it is as fascinating as it is addicting.” Set for release by Atlanta-based SFK Press, Hammes’ debut novel tells the story of the Walpole family who fled their sordid past and escaped to one of the nearly 2,000 uninhabited sea islands off the South Carolina coast. The novel opens with the two Walpole boys taking their little sister out on their john boat for the first time to pirate the waterways for beer and loose change. In the process, their little sister goes overboard and appears to have drowned, until two men with gigantic wings swoop down and carry her body away into the sky. The news of her disappearance hits the family particularly hard, and the mother goes so far as to fashion herself wings and tries to fly. The Walpole boys set off in search of their little sister and, in the process, discover the truth behind the centuries-old Gullah tale of the Flying Men as well as numerous other mysteries native to the South Carolina sea islands. A book release party will be held at Blue Bicycle Books (420 King St., Charleston) on Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018 from 5-7 p.m. It is free and open to the public. Sue Monk Kidd, bestselling author of The Secret Life of Bees, writes, “A Curious Matter of Men with Wings is where magic comes to life in a bold story that celebrates the Gullah world of the South Carolina sea islands. With lyrical prose, the novel takes us into a hidden realm where life is still enchanted and storytelling abounds. In these pages, the transfixing Walpole family grapples with loss, the madness of grief, and ultimately healing, while surrounded by a community whose only salvation lies in the ties that bind them.”


"...It’s a mystery and a love story wrapped up in humidity and pluff mud, and it is as fascinating as it is addicting.” - Dorothea Benton Frank, bestselling author


Hammes was born in South Carolina's Lowcountry, where he fell in love with the waterways, the people, and the folklore that inhabit the sea islands. His whole life, he has been writing about the Charleston area and sea island culture and, for the past decade, he has been teaching the young writers who will keep our lush storytelling tradition alive. Having grown up the oldest in a family of ten, stories of family come naturally to him. His grandparents moved out to the sea islands early in their marriage and made friends in the Gullah community, and he grew up enamored by all the stories and folklore his grandmother told him as a child. Hammes says, “I have long believed that magic is at the heart of Charleston, and so magic must be at the heart of the Charleston novel.” Through A Curious Matter of Men with Wings, Hammes hopes readers will see the redemption that comes to people who keep their promises to one another and stand together regardless of ethnicity, culture and class. Hammes earned his MFA in fiction from Old Dominion University, has had numerous short stories, essays and poems published in various journals and magazines around the country, and is a contributing writer in several books. He is also the 2019 South Carolina Arts Commission Prose Fellow and is presently Director of the Creative Writing program at Charleston County School of the Arts, the most awarded middle- and high-school writing program in the nation. For more information on A Curious Matter of Men with Wings, visit frutledgehammes.com.

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Flash fiction contest honors S.C. author, Nobel recipient Julia Peterkin

South 85 Journal is relaunching Converse College MFA program’s Julia Peterkin awards, starting with an all-new summer flash fiction contest. Like past awards, the contest will honor South Carolinian author Julia Peterkin, an 1896 graduate of Converse College. In 1929, she won the Pulitzer Prize for Novel/Literature for her novel Scarlet Sister Mary. The journal is accepting submissions for the Julia Peterkin Award for Flash Fiction through Aug. 15. It will announce winners in October. One winner will receive a cash prize of $500, and four runners-up will be named but receive no prize. All five stories will appear in the Fall / Winter 2018 issue of South 85 Journal, which will be released Dec. 15. South 85 Journal editors will review the submissions, and Converse College MFA faculty member Marlin Barton will make the final selections as the presiding judge of the contest. All submissions will be read blind. Submit your previously unpublished fiction of 850 words or less.  As always, South 85 Journal is especially interested in stories that demonstrate a strong voice and/or a sense of place, but the editors consider all quality writing. For more information or to submit, visit the contest page on Submittable here. South 85 Journal is a semi-annual online literary journal run by the Converse College Low-Residency MFA Program.  We publish fiction, non-fiction, poetry, reviews, and art by new, emerging, and well-established writers and artists. Visit our website at south85journal.com. If you would like additional information, contact Debby DeRosa at south85journal@gmail.com.

Announcing the 2018 S.C. Novel Prize winner

      LEAD MEDIA CONTACT: Kate McMullen, Hub City Press 864.577.9349|  kate@hubcity.org FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 19 June 2018 Winner announced for biennial South Carolina Novel Prize SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The South Carolina Arts Commission, Hub City Press, the College of Charleston, and the South Carolina State Library are pleased to announce that the winner of the 2018 South Carolina Novel Prize is Scott Sharpe for his manuscript “Whispering into the Wind.” [caption id="attachment_35640" align="alignright" width="250"] Scott Sharpe (2018)[/caption] Scott Sharpe was born and raised in the Sandhills of central South Carolina and graduated from the University of SC with a degree in business. He lives in Eastover and currently works for the South Carolina Disaster Recovery Office. When not helping the state rebuild its rural communities or writing, he practices the art of fly-fishing and paddles any body of water big enough to launch his canoe. He has written countless short stories and is currently working on his second novel and a collection of short fiction.  “Whispering into the Wind” follows protagonist Jack Parker’s struggle to find some purpose to his life-long strained relationship with his father and his father’s peculiar actions just before his death. The very issues that separated them in life ultimately lead to understanding and a quiet peace as Jack reluctantly follows in his father’s footsteps. Sharpe’s winning manuscript will be published in 2019 by Hub City Press of Spartanburg. Jill McCorkle, author of 10 books including “Life After Life” was the judge of the biennial prize this year. The South Carolina Novel Prize is funded by the following partner organizations:

  • The South Carolina Arts Commission is the state agency charged with creating a thriving arts environment that benefits all South Carolinians, regardless of their location or circumstances.
  • Hub City Press was founded in Spartanburg, South Carolina in 1995 and since then has emerged as one of the South's premier independent presses.
  • The College of Charleston is home not only to a cadre of nationally and internationally recognized writing faculty, but also houses one of the country’s premiere literary journals, Crazyhorse, published since 1960 and consistently ranked as among the top publishing venues in the nation. The Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program provides students an immersion in a world of prose and poetry and the practical aspects of establishing a career in the arts.
  • The South Carolina State Library develops, supports, and sustains a thriving statewide community of learners committed to making South Carolina stronger. The Library serves the people of South Carolina by supporting state government and libraries to provide opportunities for learning in a changing environment.
  • South Carolina Humanities is the state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities and is a founding partner of the South Carolina Novel Prize.
For more information about the Novel Competition, visit or call:
  • SouthCarolinaArts.com / 803.734.8696;
  • or HubCity.org / 864.577.9349.
 

Deadline looming for S.C. Novel Prize submissions

Hi there, Palmetto State writers. Take the weekend to polish up those manuscripts, because the deadline to enter the S.C. Novel Prize is in just about two weeks! Submissions close March 15, 2018. South Carolina Novel Prize entries are submitted online through the Submittable system. The contest is highly competitive. Applicants’ works are reviewed anonymously by panelists who make their judgments on the basis of artistic merit. Six to eight novels will be judged by a nationally recognized judge to be announced at a later date. The winning author will receive a book contract with Hub City Press, an award-winning independent press in Spartanburg, S.C. Winner is awarded publication by Hub City Press in the form of a printing of no less than 2,000 copies to be nationally distributed to the trade in 2019. This can bring recognition that may open doors to other resources and opportunities in the literary community. Brock Adams of Spartanburg won the 2016 First Novel Prize. His novel, Ember, was published by Hub City Press in September 2017. Find complete eligibility requirements and application guidelines online. For more information, contact Sara June Goldstein, 803.734.8694.

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Pulitzer Prize-winning Colson Whitehead to come to Charleston

On Monday, March 19th, Pulitzer Prize winning author Colson Whitehead (right) will speak at the Charleston Music Hall as part of The Paperback Tour for The Underground Railroad. The event is being organized by The Charleston Library Society as part of their annual Speaker Series. In 2016, The Underground Railroad won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Price for fiction and was named one of the “Ten Best Books of the Year” by The New York Times Book Review. It traces the story of Cora, a slave on the Randall Plantation in the deep South, who has been beaten and brutalized. She escapes slavery and sets out on the Underground Railroad – almost a character in and of itself – a literal network of railways and tunnels running throughout Antebellum America in search of freedom. Her journey, though, is as hard fought as her life, and Whitehead’s mix of mythology and reality creates a profound, emotional reading experience. While touring in support of The Underground Railroad’s paperback release, Whitehead will stop in cities across the country, including Charleston. “We are thrilled to host Mr. Whitehead,” says Charleston Library Society Executive Director Anne Cleveland. “The response from our Book Club’s discussion of The Underground Railroad was thought-provoking and memorable. To host him [in] Charleston, with its deep Southern history described in his novel, will make for a very special night.” Every ticket sold is accompanied by a signed paperback edition of The Underground Railroad. Tickets are available only through the Charleston Music Hall. To purchase tickets, call 843.853.2252 or visit CharlestonMusicHall.com.

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Furman professor’s short story collection published

Furman Department of English professor Laura Leigh Morris has written a new book of fiction about the daily lives of people in West Virginia. Her book, Jaws of Life: Stories, is a collection of short stories published by Vandalia Press, the creative imprint of West Virginia University Press. The book will be released next Thursday, March 1. A launch event is set for March 1, 6-8 p.m. at Fiction Addiction in Greenville. In her first book, Morris's collection portrays the diverse concerns the people of West Virginia face every day—poverty, mental illness, drug abuse, the loss of coal mines, and the rise of new extractive industries that exert their own toll. A summary by West Virginia University Press has this description:

“In the hills of north central West Virginia, there lives a cast of characters who face all manner of problems—from the people who are incarcerated in West Virginia's prisons, to a woman who is learning how to lose her sight with grace, to another who sorely regrets selling her land to a fracking company.”

Morris, who joined the Furman faculty in 2015, teaches creative writing and literature. Before that, she spent three years as the National Endowment for the Arts/Bureau of Prisons Artist-in-Residence at Bryan Federal Prison Camp in Bryan, Texas. She has previously published short fiction in Appalachian Heritage, The Louisville Review, Notre Dame Review and other journals. She is originally from north central West Virginia. More information about the book may be found on LauraLeighMorris.com.

SC Novel Prize now accepting submissions

Prize competition now open to all South Carolina writers – published and unpublished The First Novel Prize is now the South Carolina Novel Prize and is open to any South Carolina writer, including those who have never had a novel published and those who have been published. We also welcome a new partner – the College of Charleston Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program, led by novelist and English professor Bret Lott. Submissions close March 15, 2018. South Carolina Novel Prize entries are submitted online through the Submittable system. The contest is highly competitive. Applicants’ works are reviewed anonymously by panelists who make their judgments on the basis of artistic merit. Six to eight novels will be judged by a nationally recognized judge to be announced at a later date. The winning author will receive a book contract with Hub City Press, an award-winning independent press in Spartanburg, S.C. Winner is awarded publication by Hub City Press in the form of a printing of no less than 2,000 copies to be nationally distributed to the trade in 2019. This can bring recognition that may open doors to other resources and opportunities in the literary community. Brock Adams of Spartanburg won the 2016 First Novel Prize. His novel, Ember, was published by Hub City Press in September 2017. Find complete eligibility requirements and application guidelines online. For more information, contact Sara June Goldstein, 803.734.8694. Images, left to right: First Novel winners Through the Pale Door by Brian Ray (2008), Mercy Creek by Matt Matthews (2010), In the Garden of Stone by Susan Tekulve (2012), Minnow (2014) by James McTeer, and Ember (2016) by Brock Adams.

First Novel Prize is now the S.C. Novel Prize

Prize competition now open to all South Carolina writers - published and unpublished The First Novel Prize is now the South Carolina Novel Prize and is open to any South Carolina writer, including those who have never had a novel published and those who have been published. We also welcome a new partner - the College of Charleston Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program, led by novelist and English professor Bret Lott. Submissions will open January 1, 2018 and close March 15, 2018. South Carolina Novel Prize entries are submitted online through the Submittable system. The contest is highly competitive. Applicants’ works are reviewed anonymously by panelists who make their judgments on the basis of artistic merit. Six to eight novels will be judged by a nationally recognized judge to be announced at a later date. The winning author will receive a book contract with Hub City Press, an award-winning independent press in Spartanburg, S.C. Winner is awarded publication by Hub City Press in the form of a printing of no less than 2,000 copies to be nationally distributed to the trade in 2019. This can bring recognition that may open doors to other resources and opportunities in the literary community. Brock Adams of Spartanburg won the 2016 First Novel Prize. His novel, Ember, was published by Hub City Press in September 2017. Find complete eligibility requirements and application guidelines online. For more information, contact Sara June Goldstein, 803.734.8694. Images, left to right: First Novel winners Through the Pale Door by Brian Ray (2008), Mercy Creek by Matt Matthews (2010), In the Garden of Stone by Susan Tekulve (2012), Minnow (2014) by James McTeer, and Ember (2016) by Brock Adams.

Theatre and literary artists – it’s your turn to apply for fellowships

Application deadline extended to November 15. The South Carolina Arts Commission is accepting applications for the next round of Individual Artist Fellowships. South Carolina artists working in prose, poetry, acting or playwriting are invited to apply for the 2019 awards. Each fellow receives an unrestricted $5,000 award. Fellowships recognize and reward the artistic achievements of South Carolina’s exceptional individual artists. Fellowship awards are made through a highly competitive, anonymous process by out-of-state panelists and are based on artistic excellence only. The awards bring recognition that may open doors to other resources and employment opportunities. Fellowships are awarded in four disciplines each year. Find complete guidelines and application instructions online. The deadline to apply is Nov. 15, 2017. Related: Who won the most recent round of fellowships?