Ashleigh Bryant Phillips gives a voice to the forgotten in Sleepovers

Ashleigh Bryant Phillips gives a voice to the forgotten in Sleepovers

To say Ashleigh Bryant Phillips is proud of being born and raised in Woodland, North Carolina is an understatement. Her social media is @woodlandraised and her debut story collection Sleepovers is largely inspired by her upbringing in the rural town tucked away in the northeast corner of the state. 

That collection won her the C. Michael Curtis Short Story Book Prize, which comes with a prize of $10,000 and publication from Hub City Press. Sleepovers features a wide variety of voices from people often forgot about society. If you ever get the chance to speak to Phillips, you realize her voice and point of view are just as distinct as the characters she writes. 

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Elizabeth Chiles Shelburne’s characters are ‘Holding On To Nothing’

Elizabeth Chiles Shelburne’s characters are ‘Holding On To Nothing’

The characters in Elizabeth Chiles Shelburne‘s debut novel Holding On To Nothing want more. They want more than what their life has to offer in rural Tennessee. They want to be wanted and not just merely picked because there isn’t anyone else left. They want something bigger.

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De’Shawn Charles Winslow created one of the most memorable characters in fiction

De’Shawn Charles Winslow created one of the most memorable characters in fiction

Azelea “Knot” Centre, the main character in De’Shawn Charles Winslow’s debut In West Mills is easily one of the most memorable characters I’ve been introduced to recently. She is, excuse the cliche, a tour-de-force. Is she a saint? No, far from it. Her flaws make her as realistic as a character on page can be. If this book ever gets adapted in Hollywood (it should), whichever actress is lucky enough to play Knot will be stepping into an Oscar-worthy role due to how perfect Winslow wrote her.

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