Faith S. Holsaert, recipient of the 2019 Alex Albright Creative Nonfiction Prize


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Tony Earley Selects Winner of RECORD-BREAKING

(3 June 2019)

Faith S. Holsaert is the winner of the 2019 Alex Albright Creative Nonfiction Prize for “Matrilineal.” Selected from a record number of submissions this year, "Matrilineal" will be published in the North Carolina Literary Review’s 2020 issue, and Holsaert will receive a $1,000 prize made possible by a generous NCLR donor.

Final Judge Tony Earley chose Holsaert’s essay for the prize saying, “I found myself mesmerized by the writing. Set in the lost worlds of mid-century Manhattan and pre-Duvalier Haiti, the piece is lyrically evocative in its world-building and precisely-focused in its concerns—the ways in which we seek to combine the families into which we are born, and the families we choose for ourselves, into the one family that will keep us alive. It’s a remarkable piece of writing about a remarkable confluence of American lives.” Earley is an author of fiction and memoir and the Samuel Milton Fleming Chair in English at Vanderbilt University. He grew up in North Carolina.

Holsaert has published fiction since the 1980s and has begun to publish poetry. She is a co-editor of Hands on the Freedom Plow: Personal Accounts by Women in SNCC (University of Illinois Press, 2010). She earned her MFA from Warren Wilson College in Swannanoa, NC, and lives in Durham, NC, with her partner, Vicki Smith. “Matrilineal” is part of a longer piece in six parts.

Other finalists for the 2019 prize include Corey Stewart Hassman of Greensboro for “Revelation in the Wreckage,” Chantal James of Raleigh for “This Dimension,” Patricia Poteat of Asheville for “There but for the Grace: An Appalachian Memoir,” Marissa Schwalm of Concord for “On Mother,” and Cheryl Skinner of Greenville for “Menagerie of the Dead.”

The Alex Albright Creative Nonfiction Prize was created in 2015 to honor the founding editor of the North Carolina Literary Review. 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 or join the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association (funding from which helps to support this competition). Either the writer or the subject matter of the submission must have some North Carolina connection. For submission and subscription information, click on the tabs above.

Additional funding for the 2019 competition came from the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.




“No More to the Lake” by Michael Brantley of Spring Hope

“Signage” by James Carbaugh, about Horseshoe & Etowah

“History” by Laura Hope-Gill of Arden

“Pilgrimage to a Rock House” by Faith Kressner of Charlotte

“Coming of Age at the Hog Killing” by Calvin Mercer of Greenville

“Chippewa Street” by Stephany Newberry-Davis of Leicester

“Poetry Road: Milk Marker 2 with Jonathan Green’s Paintings and Lucille Clifton’s Poems”
by Glenis Redmond, former resident of Asheville

“Saturdays with Mister Peanut” and “My Chick Magnet” by Bill Slawter of Asheville

“Spills” by Andrew Taylor-Troutman of Chapel Hill

“Dear Buyers,” by Mitzi Viola of Durham

“The Big Blue” by Kristen Wagner of Morehead City

“Luna Moth” by Susan Wilson of Clemmons

“Finished” by Karen Winn, who spent summers on the Outer Banks

East Carolina UniversityNorth Carolina Literary & Historical AssociationUniversity of North Carolina Press