By Martha Greenway
SCWW Contests Chair
The deadline for the Carrie McCray Memorial Literary Awards is August 20 and is open only to those writers registered for the SCWW Conference. You must be a current member of SCWW and remain in good standing through October 23.
For a complete listing of the guidelines, go to www.scww.org and click on McCray Literary Awards. Next, click on the link to the guidelines in the first paragraph. There are four categories: Poetry, Short Fiction, Novel/first chapter and Nonfiction. The following prizes will be awarded for each category: $200 for 1st place, $100 for 2nd and a Certificate for Honorable Mention.
Carrie Allen McCray was an African-American writer born in Lynchburg, Virginia and was only seven years old when she and her family moved north during the black exodus out of the South. Her mom, Mary Rice Hayes Allen, was an early leader in the fight against segregation so Carrie grew up surrounded by the founders and leaders of the NAACP, writers and poets of the Harlem Renaissance and people like W.B. DuBois, Sterling Brown and Walter White. Carrie earned her Bachelors of Arts from Talladega College and a Masters in Social Work from New York University. She lived her later years in Columbia, South Carolina and was one of the founders and first board members of the South Carolina Writers Workshop.
Her published works include Ajös Means Goodbye (1966), The Black Woman and Family Roles (1980), and her first-person memoir, Freedom’s Child: The Life of a Confederate General’s Black Daughter (1998) while about her mom, it is also Carrie’s story. Her poetry has appeared in such magazines as Ms. and The River Styx. She died on July 25, 2008, aged 94.
The follow quote by Carrie was taken from a newspaper article and is very appropriate going into our conference: “. . . write for the joy of writing. Don’t be anxious about publishing, that will come. Accept constructive criticism from seasoned authors. It helped me develop my writing. Don’t let anyone discourage you.”