Announcing the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize

by Tommy Hays, Executive Director, Great Smokies Writing Program

The North Carolina Writers’ Network has announced the winner of its 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize: Alli Marshall, of Asheville. Runners-up are Heather Bell Adams, Raleigh, and Katrin Redfern, Brooklyn, New York.

The Prize is conducted by the Great Smokies Writing Program of UNC Asheville and spearheaded by the Program’s Administrator, Nancy Williams. The 2016 competition drew 229 entries, the largest response in the history of the Prize. The selection process included 18 preliminary readers, all volunteers who are members of the Great Smokies Writing Program community at UNC Asheville. As is typical of writing competitions, all entries are read “blind,” with no knowledge of the writer’s identity.

The final judge for this year was Ron Rash, the author of the 2009 PEN/Faulkner Finalist and New York Times bestselling novel Serena, as well as other acclaimed novels and story and poetry collections, and John Parris Distinguished Professor of Appalachian Studies at Western Carolina University.

NCWN provides more information about the Prize winners:

Alli Marshall will receive $1,000 and publication of her winning story, “Catching Out,” in The Thomas Wolfe Review. Alli is the Arts & Entertainment editor and lead writer at Asheville's alternative newsweekly Mountain Xpress. She recently won the 2016 Shrewd Writer Award for flash fiction and was a runner-up in the annual Broad River Review Rash Award in fiction. Alli holds an MFA in creative writing from Goddard College. Her prose and poetry have been published in Blurt!, Shuffle, Our State, MetroPop, FifeLines, and the Asheville Poetry Review. Her debut novel, How to Talk to Rockstars, was published by Logosophia Books in 2015, and she’s at work on a new novel set in a mysterious library. She is the Asheville area regional rep for the North Carolina Writers’ Network.

Heather Bell Adams is a Prize runner-up for her short story, “Wendell Berry’s Peace.” Originally from Hendersonville, Heather now lives in Raleigh where she is a lawyer. Her short fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Broad River Review, Clapboard House, Pembroke Magazine, Gravel, Deep South Magazine, and elsewhere.

Katrin Redfern is the other runner-up, for her short story, “Love’s Archive.” Katrin was born in London and raised in the U.S. She currently lives in Brooklyn where she writes for radio and theater as well as the page.

The nonprofit North Carolina Writers’ Network is the state’s oldest and largest literary arts services organization devoted to writers at all stages of development. The Thomas Wolfe Review is the official journal of The Thomas Wolfe Society, publishing articles, features, tributes, and reviews about Wolfe and his circle. It also features bibliographical material, notes, news, and announcements of interest to Society members. For additional information, visit

Tommy Hays is Executive Director of UNC Asheville’s Great Smokies Writing Program. He also teaches in UNCA’s Master of Liberal Arts and Sciences Program. His most recent novel, What I Came to Tell You, was a Fall 2013 Okra Pick by the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) and selected for the American Booksellers Association’s 2014 ABC Best Books for Children Catalog. It is also a 2014 VOYA Top Shelf Pick for Fiction for Middle School Readers and a 2015-16 nominee for the North Carolina Young Adult Award. (For more about Tommy’s books, go to