Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference recognizes nation’s top writers through annual contests

DENTON (UNT), Texas - The 2023 Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference has announced the winners of its annual writing contests, which highlight some of the nation’s most outstanding journalists. 

Hosted by the University of North Texas Frank W. and Sue Mayborn School of Journalism and Mayborn Graduate Institute of Journalism, the conference is one of the nation’s premier events for aspiring and experienced writers. This year’s conference focused on topics such as storytelling in podcasting and documentary film, extreme reporting, and the metamorphosis of publishing. 

Featured speakers included Virginia-based journalist Beth Macy, the author of Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company That Addicted America, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Lane DeGregory, NPR Music’s hip hop staff writer Rodney Carmichael, real-life hero protagonist of the Sundance award-winning film, Bad Press, Angel Ellis, and reporter at the Los Angeles Times Rosanna Xia.

Each year, the Mayborn offers opportunities for writers to publish their work or win recognition and cash awards for their outstanding stories. 

This year’s winners, chosen by a panel of veteran journalists, include: 

The Best American Newspaper Narratives (BANN) category, created to recognize the very best narrative stories published in American daily newspapers, offers the first-place winner $1,500 in prize money. All winners will be published in the BANN anthology for 2023. The winners are:

  • First place: Captive No More: One SC man’s journey to freedom after years in modern-day slavery by Jennifer Berry Hawes

  • Second place: American flashpoint: A drag show, a protest and a line of guns by Andrea Ball and Will Carless

  • Third place: A World Gone Mad by Thomas Curwen

The runners up are:

  • Blood and Money: Modern Vascular prioritized profits, faces claims patients were maimed or died by Andrew Ford

  • Darvin Ham survived the streets, a bullet and intense grief to coach Lakers by Dan Woike

  • Is this what a good mother looks like? by William Wan

Notable narratives: 

  • A Jan. 6 pastor divides his Tennessee community with increasingly extremist views by Annie Gowen

  • Uvalde Stories by Edgar Sandoval

  • To end his wife's suffering, he shot her. Was it mercy or murder? by Lane DeGregory