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Finalists in 2020 Shepherd University Writing Competition


​Seven West Virginia authors announced as finalists in Shepherd University Center for Appalachian Studies and Communities’ writing competition.

Shepherd University’s Center for Appalachian Studies and Communities announced the names of finalists for 2020 West Virginia Fiction Competition. From these authors a first, second, and third place winner will be selected by 2020 Appalachian Heritage Writer-In-Residence, Dorothy Allision.

Finalists for this year are: "Closet Wars," by Pat Donohoe,  Shepherdstown, W. Va; "Green Leather Sofa," DC Gallant,  Harpers Ferry, W. Va.; "Taking Out the Dead," M. Lynne Squires, Scott Depot, W Va.; "A Killing Time," Cat Pleska, Scott Depot, W Va.; "Eden on a Hill," H. Suzanne Heagy, Fairmont, W. Va.; "The Produce Stand," Amber Ray Garcia, Morgantown, W. Va.; "June Drop," Jordan Carter, Morgantown, W. Va.

“The West Virginia Fiction Competition is an opportunity for West Virginia writers to connect with and be mentored by nationally recognized writers honored in the Appalachian Heritage Writers Project,” Dr. Sylvia Bailey Shurbutt, Shepherd University Director of the program shared.  “It is also an opportunity to tell the world the West Virginia story through the talent and voices of West Virginia writers.”

The winning authors stories will also be submitted for consideration for the Anthology of Appalachian Writers Dorothy Allison Volume, published in spring 2021.  The Fiction Competition is funded by the WV Center for the Book, in partnership with the Shepherd University Foundation and Center for Appalachian Studies and Communities.

This year the Judges’ Choice prize went to a seventh grader at the Linsly School in Wheeling, Caroline Higgenbottom, for her story “Side with Me.”  Caroline’s story will be reviewed and critiqued by fiction writer and editor Natalie Sypolt.  Caroline’s story, along with the three winners selected by Allison, will also be published at the Appalachian Heritage Writer-in-Residence Competition Website at https://www.shepherd.edu/ahwir/west-virginia-fiction-competition-winners/.

Fiction Competition winners will dine with Allison and the Competition Judges on September 24, 2020, at the Press Room in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.  The Scarborough Lecture and Awards will be presented afterward at the Robert Byrd CHE.  The public is invited to all literary events during the Appalachian Heritage WIR and Festival week September 18-25, 2020.  All events will be alternative recorded and presented through both face-to-face and distance platforms. 


For information about the WV Fiction Competition, any of the Shepherd University Center for Appalachian Studies and Communities programs, or the new MA dual-degree in Appalachian Studies, part of the Celtic Roots Global Appalachia partnership with the University of the West of Scotland, contact Dr. Sylvia Bailey Shurbutt at SShurbut@shepherd.edu.  For information about the Dorothy Allison events visit the AHWIR webpage at  https://www.shepherd.edu/ahwirweb/allison/.​ 

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