“To Understand the world, you must first understand a place like Mississippi.” —William Faulkner
Beginning in 1997, with the 100th celebration of William Faulkner’s birth in New Albany, Mississippi, the William Faulkner Literary Competition has celebrated and encouraged authors of all descriptions.
Thanks to the generous donation of former Union County resident Eric Saul, now living in Tennessee, our contest includes the categories of Novel, One Act Play, Poetry, Adult Short Story, and Student Short Story. Cash prizes are awarded to winners in all categories.
In addition to the time and effort of dozens of local volunteers, the Faulkner Competition has also been supported by the New Albany Gazette, the Union County Heritage Museum, Holiday Inn Express, Friends of the Jennie Stephens Smith Library, New Century Club, Junta Club, Pilot Club, Retired Teachers, Sigma Chapter of Kappa Kappa Iota, and the Tallahatchie Arts Council. Additionally there have been grants from City of New Albany Tourism and the New Albany Rotary Club.
This year’s Faulkner Competition Awards Luncheon was held on Thursday, September 21, 2023, at the First Methodist Church in New Albany. Lunch was prepared by Tallahatchie Gourmet and music was provided by Paul Tate. Tables were beautifully decorated with live floral arrangements from local garden clubs, as well as with original art and writing examples of local elementary school students.
Well over 150 visitors were in attendance at the Faulkner Luncheon. The honors section of the program was kicked off by Ninabeth Capaning’s fourth and fifth grade EXCEL students. The EXCEL poetry winners each presented their original poems, written in various styles. This was followed by the naming of all winners in the 2023 William Faulkner Literary Competition and presentation of awards to winners present at the luncheon. Lynn Madden, chairman of the Faulkner Literary Competition, was emcee of the event. Prizes were presented by J. Lynn West, Editor of the New Albany Gazette.
The featured speaker this year was Ace Atkins, Mississippi’s New York Times Bestselling author. Ace Atkins was born in Alabama, but has for 20 years lived and worked, with his family, on a historic farm outside Oxford, Mississippi. Atkins began his career as a crimebeat reporter, before becoming a full-time author at age 30. He has authored 30 novels, and his Quinn Colson series was selected by HBO for development as a series. Atkins’ true and entertaining stories seemed to put him in agreement with William Faulkner’s belief in the importance of understanding and relishing all of the comings, goings and personalities in small towns. As many successful authors have also pointed out, Atkins suggested that would-be writers should, first of all, pick up a book and read.
The William Faulkner Literary Competition website has the pertinent information on entry rules, time lines, etc. posted for the 2024 competition. It’s time for all interested writers to begin preparing their entries. For information on the competition.
2023 William Faulkner Literary Competition Winners (406 total entries)
Novel Category: (69 entries)
Winner: Arkansas Black Alexander Blevens, Ocean Springs, MS
Honorable Mention: Betrayal of Blood Feotis Moore, Bloomington, IL
Honorable Mention: The Devil’s Jazz, Vincent B. “Chip” Lococo, New Orleans, LA
Short Story: (106 entries)
First Place: Go Gentle into that Night, Mark J. Havlik, Indian Land, SC
Second Place: Duty Above All, Mal King, Santa Paula, California
Third Place: The Pet Shop, Elizabeth Danek, Milwaukie, Oregon
Honorable Mention: The Cats of Kotor, Cindy McCraw Dircks, Larchmont, NY
Honorable Mention: Jesus Loves Kabobs, Catherine Padmore, Hurstbridge, VIC, Australia
Poetry: (64 entries)
First Place: Ode to Mississippi Girlhood, Alecia Gabrielle, Jackson, MS
Second Place: A whispered tour, Leonardo Chung, Ottawa, IL
Third Place: Saturday Matinees, Howard Brown, Lookout Mountain, TN
Honorable Mention: America, A. Keith Carreiro, Swansea, MA
One Act Play: (108 entries)
First Place: 300 Miles West, Jeff Carter, San Francisco, California
Second Place: The Hepburn Interview, Tom Mason, Portland, Oregon
Third Place: Mab’s Rabbit, Brenda Kenworthy, Garden Grove, Calif.
Honorable Mention: An Atheists Prayer, Tom Parks, Midland, TX
Honorable Mention: An Untethered Woman, Cynthia Webb, Helena, Montana
Honorable Mention: The Italian Wives Club, Kenneth Robbins, Rustin, Louisiana
Student Short Story Winners: (59 entries)
First Place: The Second Dorie Lovett, Sharlee Shumpert, Mooreville, MS
Second Place: Mr. Black, Joshua Clark, Vardaman, MS
Third Place: A journal in my Attic, Ava Lambert, Silver Creek, MS
Honorable Mention: The Hunt, Jack Denton, Ingomar, MS
Honorable Mention: Trek to Iuka, Jackson Robbins, Ingomar, MS
Honorable Mention: The Royal Tea Party, Miles Blackburn, New Albany, MS
First Place Elliott Brockway
Second Place Ethan McElwain
Third Place Will Metts
First Place Emmie Bryan
Second Place Watson Hess
Third Place Ellis Hardin