FlashLIT 2024

You're invited! Support our student writers and artists (while enjoying free food)!

Join us on Thursday, April 18th, at 6:00 pm in the Randall Library Sherman Hayes Gallery for a reading and reception in honor of the contest's winners, honorable mentions, and contributing artists. Copies of this year’s anthology will be available for free as well! This program is an NEA Big Read event, a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.


CONGRATULATIONS to this year's FlashLit competition winners!

We had a record number of entries this year, so it was an EXTREMELY tight competition! Many wonderful pieces simply could not be included due to space limitations, but we are excited to announce our top three winners and honorable mentions:

  • First place "Among the Stories" by Megan Eesley
  • Second place: "William Madison Randall Library: Databases by Subject: Biology: Gray Bat Collection (Myotis grisescens): 2052" by Emalee Gross
  • Third place: "Drowning in Stars" by Alexandra Bonin

Honorable mentions (alphabetical by last name):

  • "Us Girls" - Kyle Alderdice
  • "Just Embrace It" - Camille Bliss
  • "Something About the End" - Nathan Bogart
  • "He Suddenly Stopped for Me--" Nitya Venkata Bundamagunta
  • "The Young Heartbreaker Sees Raptors" - Marah Hoffman
  • "Girlhood" - Autumn Kepley
  • "The Waiting" - Charlie Kingree
  • "The End Draws Near" - Samantha Perrien
  • "Eastward of Eden" - Aileena Rush
  • "An Ending" - Robert Selden
  • "Down the Mountain" - Yaakov Smith
  • "With Love, The End" - Kate Stray
  • "Old World" - Issy Thompson
  • "Flowers Are Growing in Antarctica" - Kit Vale
  • "A Daily Dichotomy" - Katelyn Walbourne

Mark your calendars for the reading and reception (with refreshments) at 6 pm on Thursday, April 18th!


Calling all student writers!  Randall Library’s annual writing contest, FlashLIT, starts NOW!

This year’s theme is “THE END.”

This theme was inspired by the selection of Andrew Krivak’s book The Bear as the Big Read book for this academic year. The Bear takes place in an unspecified future when one girl and her father are the only surviving remnants of humanity and follows the girl’s journey to survive in nature, and her relationship with a large bear that becomes her companion. The Bear explores themes of Edenic post-apocalypse, survival skills, human relationships with the natural world, isolation, and of course, endings. We encourage you to reimagine the theme creatively, and entries will benefit from engaging with it in unique or unexpected ways. All genres—in both fiction and non-fiction—are welcome. Works must address this year's prompt and also somehow incorporate Randall Library, whether as a setting, a character, a reference, or something else entirely!

FlashLIT is a hallmark of applied learning at UNCW where the entire student body is invited to participate. This is a writing competition where contestants have two weeks to write 500 words (or less) in any genre of writing.

The top three winners are awarded monetary prizes (applied to student accounts through the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid).  First prize - $200.00; Second prize - $150.00; Third prize - $100.00.  The three winners, along with selected honorable mentions, will be published in an anthology.  Students in ART 273: Digital Illustration will be illustrating all entries, so it is truly a cross-campus applied learning production.


FlashLIT Contest Rules
If any of these rules or formatting guidelines are not followed, your submission will be automatically disqualified.

  • Must be a UNCW student, currently enrolled.
  • 500 words or less.
  • Must relate to the theme THE END.  Must mention Randall Library.
  • Submissions due by Friday, February 9th at 5:00 p.m. EST.
  • One entry per student.

Formatting Guidelines

Double spaced, 12 pt., Times New Roman, 1-inch margins on all sides.

  • Use one tab to indicate every paragraph indent.
  • Section breaks should be notated by (***).
  • Turn off all auto-formatting features (such as automatic paragraph indenting, outlining, bullet points).
  • Enter only one space after terminal punctuation. If you used two spaces, search/replace to update your file.
  • For dashes, use em-dash character with no space on either side, or use two hyphens, and we’ll search and replace the em-dash during typesetting.
  • For any special characters or glyphs, such as trademark symbols, accents, or irregular punctuation, please note them by highlighting them in yellow. If you'd like to include a special character or a glyph but you don't know how to set it, please submit a hard copy of your story with specific instructions for the placement and type of special character to be inserted.
  • Files should be saved and submitted as follows: lastname_firstname.docx.
  • Submit a .docx version of your submission via the form here.

NOTE: Edits and revisions will NOT be allowed after submissions, nor will the publisher have time to check your work.  Take care that your piece is fully edited and perfected before submitting.


NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.

Contact