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The annual NC State Fiction Contest is a free literary competition open to all North Carolina residents. Drawing more than 300 entrants last year, it’s one of the largest free-to-enter writing contests in the South. This year’s guest judge is Gabriel Bump, author of the debut novel Everywhere You Don't Belong, winner of the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence and a New York Times Notable Book of 2020.

Contestants may enter one story in each of the two contest categories:

  • The James Hurst Prize for Fiction: Submit an unpublished short story of no more than 5,000 words. The winner will receive $500. In addition to the winner, several honorable mention awards will be presented.
  •  The Shorter Fiction Prize: Submit an unpublished short story of no more than 1,200 words. The winner will receive $250One honorable mention award will be presented.

In addition, the best NC State undergraduate entry will receive a $100 prize.

For more information about the contest, including rules and the submission deadline, visit the Department of English website


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  • Lidia Solomon

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