Winners of 2022 Faulkner Literary Competition honored at annual luncheon

NEMiss.News Faulkner Competition winners


The 25th annual Faulkner Literary Competition was celebrated Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022, at a luncheon at the First United Methodist Church in New Albany.

William Cuthbert (Falkner) Faulkner was born 125 years ago today – September 25, 1897 – in New Albany. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature for 1949. He is considered among the most important of all American writers.

The annual New Albany observance during Faulkner’s birth month was first celebrated on his 100th birthday in 1897. This year’s Faulkner Literary Competition drew 352 entries from 10 countries and 43 U.S. states.

NEMiss.News Martin Hegwood, First place novel

Martin Hegwood, First Place Novel

Lynn Madden, chairman of the Faulkner Literary Competition, introduced the guest speaker and announced the winners in categories including the novel, poetry short stories and one-act plays.

The guest speaker was Harrison Scott Key, whose first published memoir, The World’s Largest Man, won the 2016 Thurber Prize for American Humor. Key, who was born in Memphis, but grew up in Mississippi, now teaches at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). He entertained the luncheon crowd with his humorous and accurate perspective on what it takes to make a dream come true. He referred often to his second book,  Congratulations, Who Are You Again?: A Memoir. Those considering Key’s line of endeavor, or following any other dream, might do well to get a copy of that second book, which he refers to as a “how to.”

The Awards Luncheon was held at the First United Methodist Church in New Albany. An excellent lunch was provided by New Albany’s Tallahatchie Gourmet. Tables were decorated with live floral arrangements from local garden clubs, as well as with original art and writing examples of local elementary school students.

NEMiss.News Jessica Staricka, 2nd place short story

Jessica Staricka, Second Place, Short story

Winners this year were:


  • Winner of the $2,000 Prize for Best Novel was Martin Hegwood of Pascagoula, MS, for his novel, Memphis.
  • Honorable Mention for novels went to Ellen Morris Prewitt of New Orleans for her novel, In the Name of Mississippi.


  • First Prize went to Kenneth Paul Gournic of Pittsburg, PA for “Ivory-Billed.”
  • Second Prize: Jessica Staricka of Minneapols, MN for “Lone Prairie.”
  • Third Prize: George Kehoe of Oxford, MS for “The Apple Chapel.”
  • Honorable Mention: Chang Joon An of Baton Rouge, LA, for “Kuleshov Effect.”
  • Honorable Mention: Doug Gray, Fayetteville, TN for “The Bear.”
  • Honorable Mention: George Drew, Postenkill, NY, for “Deconstructing Gus.”


  • First Prize: Emily McClain, Oxford, MS, What the Water Gave Me.
  • Second Prize: Rex McGregor, Auckland, New Zealand, for Restoring Romeo.
  • Third Prize: Douglas Gearhart, Dunedin, FL, Buckets of Rain.
  • Honorable Mention: Straton Rushing, Phoenix, AZ, Happy Wright.


  • First Prize: M. D. Veritas (Manfred Pollard), New Orleans, LA, ‘Kremlin Warfare Olympics.’
  • Second Prize: Sharlee Shumpert, Mooreville, MS, “To the Writer’s Descendant.”
  • Third Prize: Dr. Constantina Clark, Palatka, Florida, “First Face of the Resurrection.”
  • Honorable Mention: Dr. Constantina Clark, Palatka, FL,” Without Commentary.”


  • First Prize: Gabe Rakestraw, Blue Springs, MS, “The Graveyard.”
  • Second Prize: Locklyn Wilchynski, McComb, MS, “Forsaken By the Rain.”
  • Third Prize: Joseph Hanna, Yazoo City, MS, “Let Go Leto.”


  • Fourth Grade Winners:
    First Prize: Audrie Heaton
    Second Prize: Ellis Hardin
    Third Prize: Watson Hess
    Honorable Mention: Ivery Spencer
  • Fifth Grade Winners:
    First Prize: Sam King
    Second Prize Anne Meredith Mallette
    Third Prize: Easton Coleman

William Faulkner and New Albany, MS

William Cuthbert Faulkner was born 125 years ago today – September 25, 1897. The birthplace of the future Nobel Literary laureate for 1949 was a simple wood-frame house at the southwest corner of Cleveland and Jefferson Streets in New Albany, Mississippi. He added the U to the spelling of his last name during the early part of his literary career in the 1920s.

His father Murry Falkner was an employee of the railroad founded in the 1870s by the Nobelist’s grandfather, William Clark Falkner. The family left New Albany when William Falkner was about a year old. There are conflicting stories about why the family moved and even where they moved to from New Albany. The family settled in Oxford when William Falkner was a small child, and he grew up in there. Although he traveled extensively in the United States, Europe and Asia, Oxford was Faulkner’s home for most of his life.

William Faulkner died 60 years ago, the early morning of July 6, 1962, at Wright’s Sanitarium in Byhalia, MS.

2022 William Faulkner Literary Competition photo gallery


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