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Estep wins Truman Capote Scholarship Competition

BOONE—Stephanie Estep of Boone is the winner of the 2013-14 Truman Capote Literary Trust Scholarship for Creative Writing.

The competition alternates between poetry and creative prose (fiction, creative non-fiction, and plays).

A junior English major, Estep won a $3,125 scholarship for her entries “Broken” and “Sleepover.”

The scholarship was established in 1995 with a gift from the Truman Capote Literary Trust to create an endowed fund to support the creative writing program at Appalachian. Gifts from the trust have totaled $75,000 since the scholarship’s creation.

Dr. Sandy Ballard, editor of the Appalachian Journal, judged this year’s competition. “The story ‘Sleepover’ is poignant and memorable, at least partly because of the way that the author’s young narrator faces challenging circumstances without self-pity,” she wrote. “The two stories in this entry are linked, compelling, companion stories, which reveal a brother’s and sister’s view of their parents and their strained living arrangements. The writer did a fine job of creating intriguing, empathetic portrayals.”

Devan Francis of Apex, a sophomore English major, was named runner up for her entries “The Healing Place” and “Black Diamond” that Ballard said “describe life-changing events with powerful details and imagination.”

Ballard is also co-editor of the literary anthology “Listen Here: Women Writing in Appalachia” (University Press of Kentucky, 2004) and “The Collected Short Stories of Harriette Simpson Arnow” (Michigan State University Press, 2005). With Leila Weinstein, she edited “Neighbor to Neighbor: A Memoir of Family, Community, and Civil War North Carolina” (Center for Appalachian Studies, 2007). Her most recent project is Appalachian Journal’s first CD-ROM, “The Southern Mountaineer in Fact and Fiction by Cratis Williams” (2011).

“It was a tough decision because I found strengths in the work of all of the finalists,” she wrote of judging the entries. “These writers—and all of the finalists—show impressive skill as storytellers.”