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Announcing the Finalists for the 2018 South Carolina Novel Prize

Books on a shelf at a library.

The South Carolina Arts Commission and Hub City Press announce the five books named finalists in the 2018 South Carolina Novel Competition.

The finalists are: Nancy Brock for her manuscript Rocking Chair; Ruth Jackson Finch for Long Weekend; John Richard Saylor for his novel One Last Beautiful Thing; Scott Sharpe for Whispering into the Wind; and Kenneth Smith for Bad Creek.

The winner will be announced later this month and will have his or her book published in 2019 by Hub City Press of Spartanburg. Jill McCorkle (pictured), was the judge of the biennial prize. She is the author of 10 books—four story collections and six novels, most recently “Life After Life”—five of which have been selected as New York Times Notable Books. She is the winner of the New England Book Award, the John Dos Passos Prize for Excellence in Literature, and the North Carolina Award for Literature.

Nancy Brock is the 2014 SC Academy of Authors Fiction Fellowship winner and a 2016 and 2017 finalist for the Ron Rash Award for Fiction. She placed third in the 2017 Clay Reynolds Novella Competition (Texas Review Press). She is an eight-time finalist or short-listed finalist in the Pirate’s Alley Faulkner-Wisdom Literary Competition. Since 2005 she has served as an active Disaster Volunteer with the American Red Cross, beginning with service in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and most recently in New York after Hurricane Sandy.

Ruth Jackson Finch was born in eastern North Carolina. She lived for many years in Atlanta, Georgia, the birthplace of her maternal grandfather. Ruth was fortunate to study with great writers William Price Fox, Ben Greer, Dr. Ennis Reese, Dr. Benjamin Dunlap, and James Dickey at the University of South Carolina. Ruth was a founding member of the South Carolina Writer’s Workshop, published profile articles in The Sandlapper magazine, and enjoyed helping readers discover the perfect book while working at the Chapter One Bookstore in Columbia. She also worked as a church secretary for many years. Ms. Finch lives in Columbia, South Carolina, with her husband, the artist Jim Finch.

John Richard Saylor has earned degrees from State University of New York at Buffalo, University of Minnesota, and holds a Masters and a PhD from Yale University. He has attended the Tin House Summer Writers Workshop and the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation Residency in Taos, NM. Saylor was a semi-finalist for the Iowa Writers Guild’s Novel First Ten Pages Writing Contest. His work has appeared in Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, Emrys Journal, The South Carolina Review, and Seersucker Rag.

Scott Sharpe was born and raised in the Sandhills of central South Carolina and graduated from the University of SC with a degree in business. He currently works for the South Carolina Disaster Recovery Office. When not helping SC rebuild its rural communities or writing, he practices the art of fly fishing and paddles any body of water big enough to launch his canoe. He has written countless short stories and is currently working on his second novel and a collection of short fiction. His very first short fiction competition won him first place and his story Dance Among the Dogwoods was published in the 2016 Writer’s Digest short story collection “Show Us Your Shorts”.

Kenneth Smith was born in Greenville, SC. He received his Bachelor and Master degrees at Clemson University and a Masters degree from University of South Carolina School of Medicine. He currently works as a psychotherapist. He is the author of None but the Living (2017).

The South Carolina Novel Prize is funded by the South Carolina Arts Commission, Hub City Press, the College of Charleston’s Crazyhorse Literary Magazine and Masters of Fine Arts Creative Writing department and the SC State Library. South Carolina Humanities is a founding partner.

For more information about the Novel Competition, visit or call www.SouthCarolinaArts.com (803) 734-8696; or www.hubcity.org (864) 577-9349.