Black Mountain writer brings home 2018 Alex Albright Creative Nonfiction Prize

From Staff Reports
Black Mountain News| USA TODAY NETWORK

Nancy Werking Poling of Black Mountain is the winner of the 2018 Alex Albright Creative Nonfiction Prize competition for "Leander’s Lies."

Poling will receive $1000 from the North Carolina Literary Review, thanks to a generous North Carolina Literary Review reader’s donation that allowed this year’s honorarium to increase (from the previous award of $250). Her winning essay will be published in the NCLR in 2019. 

Black Mountain writer Nancy Werking Poling.

Editor Margaret Bauer reports that submissions for the competition doubled from previous years. A total of 15 finalists out of 63 submissions were sent to this year’s final judge, Randall Kenan.

Kenan is the author of several books, including the nonfiction Walking on Water: Black American Lives at the Turn of the Twenty-first Century, and will be inducted into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame in October.

“It was love at first read to me, and stands out in originality and in tone," said Kenan, who selected Poling’s story for the 2018 Albright Prize.

After years of living in many parts of the country, Poling reports that she is “now happily settled in Black Mountain, an area where nature and history are honored.”

Historical influences are woven into her 2017 nonfiction book, Before It was Legal: A Black–White Marriage (1945–1987).

Poling is also the author of Had Eve Come First and Jonah Been a Woman (2010), a short story collection, and Out of the Pumpkin Shell (2009), a novel. She has recently completed another novel, currently titled “Wrap Me Tight in Earthen Cloak,” which is set in North Carolina and inspired by the question: During this period of environmental crisis, how do I make my voice and life count?