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 2020-2021 Calendar 

November 2, 2020

Contest Opening for Student Submissions and Teacher Approvals


January 29, 2021

Deadline for Student Submissions


February 8, 2021

Deadline for Teacher Approvals


Week of April 9, 2021

Announcement of Winners


Tuesday, April 27, 2021

The North Carolina Museum of History
5 East Edenton Street
Raleigh, NC 27601

6:30 PM Awards Ceremony with Guest Speaker, Elaine Neill Orr, open to the public 

4:00 to 6:30 PM For winning students only: Writers' Workshop and Reception

Questions? Contact Belle Long
email:  rfasliterary@gmail.com

Questions? Contact Melanie Rankin
email:  rfasliterary@gmail.com

2020 - 2021 Literary Contest


The 2021 Literary Contest begins on November 2, 2020.

All Wake County High School Students in Grades 10, 11, and 12 are eligible to enter.

Click Here to enter Contest.

Student Deadline for Submissions: 

Friday, January 29, 2021 @ 8:00 PM


2020-2021 marks the 43rd year the Raleigh Fine Arts Society has sponsored the 
Literary Contest, a short story writing contest for Wake County high school students 
in grades 10, 11, and 12. 

The competition offers recognition for student writers, their teachers, and their schools, as well as the following cash prizes:


  •         $500 Phil Patton Award for Overall Best Story
  •         $300 Mildred Dwyer Patton Award for Overall Second Place
  •         $200 Dave Patton Award for Best Story by a Varsity Athlete
  •         $200 First Place Awards for each grade level
  •         $150 Second Place Awards for each grade level
  •         $100 Finalist Awards
  •         $100 School Awards for top prize winners 


Two rounds of judging are used to pick the finalists and winning stories. All submitted stories are first read by a panel of distinguished writing professionals. Stories that pass the first round of judges are scored a second time by three final judges. The student winners and finalists, their English teachers, parents, and principals are invited to the Awards Ceremony at 6:30 PM at the North Carolina Museum of History on April 27, 2021. The ceremony will be preceded by a Writers' Workshop for the winners, at which the final judges evaluate the winning stories, and winners will have the opportunity to spend time with this year's guest speaker.



Click here for the Judges' Criteria by which the stories are evaluated.

Click here to view the 2020 Literary Contest brochure.

Click here to contact the Literary Contest Chair.

Click here for the list of contest winners:  2014, 20152016, 2017, 20182019, and 2020.

Click here to read the winning stories from the 2019 or 2020 Literary Contest.


The 2021 Literary Contest is proud to announce our Guest Speaker for the Awards Ceremony on Tuesday, April 27th at the NC Museum of History. 

We welcome all students, teachers, parents, and faculty to join us at 6:30 pm to hear encouraging words from author, Elaine Neill Orr.



Elaine Neill Orr is a writer of fiction, memoir, and literary criticism. With stories set in Nigeria and the American South, she delves into themes of home, country, and spiritual longing. Swimming Between Worlds, her newest, is called by Charles Frazier, “a perceptive and powerful story told with generosity and grace.” Anna Jean Mayhew writes, “the riveting plot and real-life characters would not let me go.” In a starred review, Library Journal said of Orr’s last novel, A Different Sun: A Novel of Africa, “this extraordinary novel shines with light and depth.”

Her memoir, Gods of Noonday (Virginia, 2003), was a Top-20 Book Sense selection and a nominee for the Old North State Award. She is associate editor of a collection of essays on international childhoods, Writing Out of Limbo, and the author of two scholarly books.

In 2016, she was Kathryn Stripling Byer Writer-in-Residence at Wesleyan College, Macon, Georgia.

Orr has published extensively in literary magazines including The Missouri ReviewBlackbird,
Shenandoah, and Image Journal, and her short stories and short memoirs have won several Pushcart Prize nominations and competition prizes. She has been awarded grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the North Carolina Arts Council, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.

Orr was born in Nigeria to medical missionary parents and spent her growing-up years in the savannahs and rain forests of that country. Her family remained in Nigeria during its civil war. She left West Africa at age sixteen and attended college in Kentucky. She studied creative writing and literature at the University of Louisville before taking her Ph.D. in Literature and Theology at Emory University. She is an award-winning Professor of English at North Carolina State University and serves on the faculty of the low-residency MFA in Writing Program at Spalding University. She reads and lectures widely at universities and conferences from Atlanta to Austin to San Francisco to Vancouver to New York to Washington D.C., and in Nigeria.


      The Raleigh Fine Arts Society, Inc.  |  P.O. Box 10614  |  Raleigh, NC 27605  
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