For 37 years, Carolina Wren Press has prided itself on being a home for talented writers overlooked by mainstream publishing. A publisher of fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and children’s literature, the small press puts out 2-4 books per year, and focuses on works by authors traditionally underrepresented in mainstream publishing—women, southerners, people of color, and talented midlist authors looking for new publishing homes, says co-director, Robin Miura. Miura joined Carolina Wren this past fall to expand the prose arm of the press, and notes of the press's vision for the future, "Carolina Wren Press is in some ways coming full circle back to one of the press’ original aims—to provide a home for quality southern literature." While the press will continue to reach out to other authors and works, they are enthusiastic about their southern roots. "We want Carolina Wren to become a voice that reflects how the South and the nation are changing and how the human experience both changes and remains the same."

In recent years, Carolina Wren Press has evolved alongside the publishing industry, moving from offset to digital printing, and expanding book sales from independent bookstores and libraries to large book distributors, wholesalers, and individuals online. The press is currently contest driven, and only accepts submissions for the Doris Bakwin Award, Carolina Wren Poetry Series, and the most recent addition, the Lee Smith Novel Prize. The latest prize, inspired by best-selling author Lee Smith (On Agate Hill, The Last Girls), will award a $1000 honorarium and publication by Carolina Wren Press to the winner.

On choosing Smith as the namesake of the award, Miura says, "She is reliably gracious and giving to the southern writing community and to the reading public, and she is interested and eager to read the new stories coming from today’s South. I can’t think of a better person to reflect the spirit of this prize and the goals of Carolina Wren Press, and we were incredibly excited when she agreed to lend us not only her name but also her wholehearted support."

Submissions for the Lee Smith Novel Prize opened June 15 and will remain open until October 15.