2019 Novel Contest

Thank you to everyone who entered! Meet the Finalists:


Falling by Rebekah Coxwell

The South is not Black, White, and Slavery: There are so many stories that have happened, are happening, and will happen in conjunction, just like love is not a heteronormative binary relationship with a happily ever after, just like southern California is not never-ending sunshine and beaches.

Falling is a lyrical, magical realist love story with Southern Gothic leanings in which the protagonists must go on journeys, both separate and together, ranging from Virginia to Japan, spanning contemporary time back to the 1930s, to find happiness even with the threat of their ever-approaching deaths.

Salvation by Avery Caswell

One August morning in 1971, two sisters, ages seven and nine, left Charlotte, NC for what they believed would be a two-week vacation with an itinerant evangelist. When the girls did not return, their mother claimed they had been kidnapped. Other family members believed they had been sold.

I couldn’t tell this story without Earthell Latta, the woman whose story this novel is based on. In today’s political climate, some might view our collaboration as risky: Two women, one black, one white, have a story to share, a story about the South that stretches from North Carolina to Florida.

Telling stories, daring to step forward, trusting someone wholly different, this is how we navigate today’s tricky pathways and find our way out of narrowly defined ruts so that together we can build bridges.

The Lunatics by Sollette Doucet

My name is Erin Doucet, but I’m called Sollette—”little sunshine.” I am a bisexual, polyamorous, atheist, English major living in Lake Charles, Louisiana, with my patient husband, three charming offspring, and a beta fish named Cutie.

Morgan Bourgois is a werewolf. His parents choose to pretend he’s being difficult, which denies him access to the new miracle drug that has been proven to control a werewolf’s monthly mood swings and keep them from turning on the full moon. Morgan’s cousin, Lacey Dugas, decides they should find their own cure, especially after they and their friend Beau Guidry witness a bounty hunter arresting a werewolf gone rogue.


The Winner will be announced on August 7.


2019 Novel Contest Judge

Devi S. Laskar is a native of Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She holds an MFA from Columbia University, an MA in South Asian Studies from the University of Illinois, and a BA in journalism and English from UNC-Chapel Hill. A former newspaper reporter, she is now a novelist, poet, photographer, and artist. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming from such journals Rattle, Tin House, and Crab Orchard Review. She is an alumna of both The OpEd Project and VONA, among others, and has published two poetry chapbooks with Finishing Line Press. Her debut novel, The Atlas of Reds and Blues (Counterpoint Press), was released this past February and grapples with the complexities of the second-generation American experience, what it means to be a woman of color in the workplace, and a sister, a wife, and a mother to daughters in today’s America.

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