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Andrew Scrimgeour Named Winner of the 2020 Alex Albright Creative Nonfiction Prize

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Andrew Scrimgeour of Cary, NC, is the winner of the 2020 Alex Albright Creative Nonfiction Prize competition for “Trouble in the Heartland,” which will be published in the North Carolina Literary Review’s 30th issue in 2021. The author will receive $500.

Final judge Philip Gerard said of the winning submission, “This piece demonstrates a storyteller’s eye for detail and significant action. It’s a kind of reportage with its own narrative intelligence informing the story of a lecture—one fraught with controversy and opening a vein in the moral fiber of many of those who have come to protest. The writing is fluent and restrained, vivid and full of an unusual kind of suspense.”

Andrew Scrimgeour’s stories and essays have been published in The New York Times, The New York Times Book Review, The Authors Guild Bulletin, and The Moment: Wild, Poignant, Life-Changing Stories (Harper Perennial, 2012). Twice the NYT published his stories on Christmas weekend, and now he is completing a book of Christmas stories. The author of numerous articles, he is the editor of Just Call Me Bob: The Wit and Wisdom of Robert W. Funk (2007) and The Legacy of Robert W. Funk: Reforming the Scholarly Model (2018), and he is writing a full-length biography of Funk. In early 2021, Penn State University Press will publish Scrimgeour’s The Prophetic Quest: The Stained Glass Windows of Jacob Landau, photography by Tom Crane, which he co-authored with David S. Herrstrom. Dr. Scrimgeour is Dean of Libraries Emeritus, Drew University, Madison, NJ, and lives with his wife Dorothy in Cary.

Philip Gerard is the award-winning author of Cape Fear Rising, as well as thirteen other fiction and nonfiction works, most recently The Last Battleground: The Civil War Comes to North Carolina. He is a Professor of Creative Writing at UNC Wilmington. In fall 2019, Governor Roy Cooper presented him with the North Carolina Award for Literature.

Gerard selected Glenis Redmond’s essay “On Beauty” for second place, saying it “addresses an important subject with verve and passion” and that Redmond “made her points powerfully.” Redmond travels nationally and internationally reading and teaching poetry so much that she has earned the moniker Road Warrior Poet. She lived in North Carolina for 17 years and helped create the first Writer-in-Residence at the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site in Flat Rock, NC. She is a Cave Canem Fellow and Poet-in-Residence at The Peace Center for the Performing Arts in Greenville, SC. Her essay will also be published in the 30th issue of NCLR, and the author will receive $300. In the meantime, read an interview with her in NCLR 2019’s special feature section on African American writers.

Gerard also picked two honorable mentions: “Bird Brained” by Hannah Towey and “Measured” by Susan Wilson. He noted that each is “touching and artful appreciations of significant figures in the authors’ lives.” Towey is a junior at UNC Chapel Hill studying Journalism and Global Studies, with a minor in Creative Writing. Wilson is a graduate of UNC Chapel Hill. Her work has appeared in Flying South, Barely South Review, and several anthologies. Each author will receive $100.

The other finalists in this year’s competition were “S.O.S.” by Sarah E. Bode, “Stitch” by Elaine Neil Orr, and “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart,” also by Susan Wilson.

Produced since 1992 at East Carolina University, the North Carolina Literary Review has won numerous awards and citations. The Alex Albright Creative Nonfiction Prize was created in 2015 to honor the founding editor of NCLR. The first Albright Prize winner was published in the 25th issue of NCLR in 2016. The competition requires no submission fee, but writers must subscribe to NCLR to submit. Either the writer or the subject matter of the submission must have some North Carolina connection. Find submission information on our website.

A two-year subscription to NCLR will include the 2021 issue, featuring the 1st and 2nd place essays from the 2020 Alex Albright Creative Nonfiction Prize, as well as the 2020 issue, due out this summer. Find subscription information here.


2020 Semifinalists

  • “Rock, Scissors, Paper” by Jodi Barnes, Athens, GA (former NC resident)   
  • “By Another Name: Poppy” by Elly Colwell, Wilmington 
  • “Street Corner Rabbi’s Daughter” by Jerri Harrell, Greensboro 
  • “Bibliophilia” by Gina Malone, Waynesville 
  • “Coming of Age at a Hog Killing” by Calvin Mercer, Greenville
  • “Bentley Place House” by Ruth Moose, Pittsboro
  • “When News Is Unexpectedly Personal” by Frances Pearce, Mount Pleasant, SC (former NC resident)
  • “Getting to a Place of Quiet” by Christina Ruotolo, Greenville
  • “Moving Line” by Elaine Thomas, Wilmington 

Download press release (PDF)

Press release on ECU News Services

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