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 NetWest Writers' Conference

2014 SPRING CONFERENCE
Sponsored by the Greensboro News & Record

MHRA Building (Corner of Spring Garden and Forest Streets)
University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Saturday, April 12, 2014

The North Carolina Writers' Network and the Creative Writing Program at UNC Greensboro bring you a full day of workshops, panels, conversations, and more. This year’s Spring Conference again will be in UNCG’s MHRA Building, on the corner of Spring Garden and Forest Streets, offering classes and panel discussions on the craft and business of writing and publishing.

In addition, the “lunch” part of Lunch with an Author will be provided for those who register, so writers will be able to spend more time talking, and less time waiting in line. Plus, free parking, thanks to the UNCG Creative Writing Program.

Register Online | Download a Registration Form**Pre-Registration is closed. On-site registration available April 12.**

FEES AND LOGISTICS | SCHEDULE-AT-A-GLANCE | FULL CONFERENCE SCHEDULE WITH COURSES | FACULTY BIOGRAPHIES


Fees and Logistics

Register Online | Download a Registration Form **Pre-Registration is closed. On-site registration available April 12.**

Early registration ends Sunday, April 6. Members may register on-site April 12 for $135; non-members may register on-site for $165

Early registration:

  • $99 for members
  • $150 for non-members

 

Lunch with an Author:

  • $15 for members
  • $25 for non-members

 

IMPORTANT: Spring Conference attendees MUST register for Lunch with an Author prior to the conference. Lunch with an Author registration will NOT be available on-site.

On-site registration as a walk-in:
  • $135 for members
  • $165 for non-members
  • Lunch with an Author not available to walk-in registrants

You can join the Network when you register, and pay the member rates plus the appropriate member dues:

$75 standard 1-year membership
$55 senior (65+), student, disabled membership
$130 2-year membership
$130 household 1-year membership

Scholarships

If you would like to apply for a scholarship, please send a C.V. and a letter of interest to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Cancellations

Cancellations must be made in writing and arrive at the Network office (via USPS or e-mail) by 4:00 pm, Monday, April 7, for you to receive a refund, less 25 percent. Send request to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . No refunds for cancellations received after April 7 or for no-shows.

Venue and Parking

The 2014 Spring Conference will be held in the Moore Humanities & Research Administration (MHRA) Building on the UNCG campus, 1111 Spring Garden Street, Greensboro, NC, 27403. The MHRA Building is located at the corner of Spring Garden and Forest Streets.

Free parking will be available for Spring Conference registrants in the Oakland Avenue Parking Deck, across Forest Street from the MHRA Building (behind Yum Yum Better Ice Cream and Old Town Draught House).

A map of the UNCG campus is available here.

Nearby Hotels

The Greensboro Marriott Downtown (www.marriott.com/gsodt) offers favorable rates to those attending events at UNC Greensboro.

Other accommodations can be found through the university's list, http://admissions.uncg.edu/visit-lodging.php, or the Greensboro Convention & Visitors Bureau, http://www.visitgreensboronc.com.

For Writers with Special Needs

The North Carolina Writers' Network strives to make our programs and services accessible to all writers, including those with special needs. If you require conference materials either in large print or in Braille, or if you require a sign-language interpreter, please register for the conference and submit your request to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. no later than Monday, March 31. If you require any other special assistance, please let us know as soon as possible at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . We will do our best to accommodate all reasonable requests.

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Schedule-at-a-Glance

Register Online | Download a Registration Form**Pre-Registration is closed. On-site registration available April 12.**

Saturday, April 12
8:00-9:00am Registration
8:30 am - 5:00 pm Exhibit Tables and Book Sales Open
9:00-10:30 am

Workshop Session I:

11:00 am - 12:00 pm Faculty Readings
12:00-1:00pm Lunch with an Author (or lunch on your own)
1:00-2:00 pm Open Mic Readings - Sign up at registration table
2:00-3:30 pm

Workshop Session II

4:00-5:00pm

Special Session I: Speed Pitch! with Robin Miura, Carin Siegfried, Betsy Thorpe, and Kevin Morgan Watson
Pre-Registration required
**Closed**

OR

Special Session II: One City, One Prompt with Jacinta V. White
Pre-Registration required

 

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Full Conference Schedule with Course Descriptions

Register Online | Download a Registration Form**Pre-Registration is closed. On-site registration available April 12.**

8:00–9:00 am Registration

8:30 am – 5:00 pm Exhibits & Book Sales Open

9:00–10:30 am Workshop Session I

The Warp and Weave of Fiction, Part I (Two-Part Fiction) with Nancy Peacock **Closed**
Writing good fiction is not the same as laying a brick wall: first the characterization brick, then the setting brick, then the action brick. Instead, all the elements (character, plot, setting, action, structure, description, emotion, and more) must work together to form the tapestry of storytelling. In this class we will examine successful storytelling through reading and commenting on students' work and the work of published writers, as well as through class exercises.

The Kindest Cut: Writing Energetic Nonfiction, Part I (Two-Part Nonfiction) with Jonathan Farmer **Closed**
When we’re working from reality, the need to say what happened puts a lot of pressure on our style. In this workshop, we’ll experiment with cutting a surprising number of words from our own and each other’s writing in order to uncover some of the possibilities we’ve already woven into our prose. We’ll also look at examples of efficient nonfiction writing for models of the ways we can answer the pressure to say everything with language that carries the weight and vitality of our reckoning. All participants should bring at least five copies of a double-spaced excerpt from a nonfiction project—ideally one that you’re currently working on—that’s between 500 and 750 words long. (It’s fine if it cuts off suddenly.)

Anchoring the Emotion (Poetry) with Mark Smith-Soto
T. S. Eliot taught that emotion in poetry must find expression in an “objective correlative”—a sensory experience that will evoke the desired feeling in the reader rather than simply describe it. Naming or describing an emotion, and making others experience it as we feel it, are totally different things, and a failure to understand that difference can undermine a poem’s effectiveness. In this workshop, we will work on techniques useful in “anchoring” an abstract notion to the heart of a poem so as to make it shareable with others.

Thieves & Liars: How We Build the World (Fiction) Drew Perry
This workshop will address something critical to the crafting of stories and novels: When and how to steal from the world around us (hint: early and often), and when to make things up (another hint: when the story demands it). We'll talk about how things like landscape, humor, oddity and stray detail are often the most important ways of entering into a piece of work—and keeping it alive in draft after draft after draft. Another way of thinking about this: We'll talk about how to use your own strange obsessions most productively in your own writing. So you really love, say, tractors. Or tigers. And they keep appearing on the page. We'll find ways to make that feel less weird, and more like you're working.

Writing from Experience with Steve Mitchell and Carol Roan
Writing is more than something that happens in our heads. Every element of our selves has a voice we might use. How do we engage this wealth of experience in our writing? This workshop will use short exercises and prompts to open up the question.

Market Your Book—With Imagination with Carrie Knowles and Peggy Payne
You can improve your book’s sales, using the very ability that started you writing in the first place: imagination, the ability to see possibilities. Whether you start the process before you have a publication date or when the day is looming, you can help to kick off and maintain your book’s sales. You can even give a long-published book new life. Carrie Knowles and Peggy Payne, creators of their own three-state Crazy Ladies Book Tour and authors of a total of nine books, will show you how. Both are novelists, nonfiction authors, and have worked in advertising and marketing. They will suggest tactics and strategies for books and book ideas that workshop participants bring in.

So You Want to Write a Children's Book with Kelly Starling Lyons
Have you always wanted to write a children's book? Start the journey with children's book author Kelly Starling Lyons in a workshop designed to introduce you to the field. You'll get a basic understanding of children's book genres, mine your life for story ideas and receive tips to help you on your way.

11:00 am – 12:00 pm Faculty Readings

12:00–1:00 pm Lunch
Lunch with an Author (or lunch on your own). Sign up to have lunch with a small group of fellow registrants and one of our conference instructors. This is a great opportunity to talk shop with an experienced writer in a relaxed, informal setting.

Pre-registration is required to participate in Lunch with an Author; you will not be able to sign up on-site.

1:00–2:00 pm Open Mic Readings
Sign up at the conference registration table if you would like to share your work. Only twenty-four reading slots, of five minutes each, will be available, first-come, first-served.

2:00–3:30 pm Workshop Session II

The Warp and Weave of Fiction, Part II (Two-Part Fiction) with Nancy Peacock**Closed**
See description above.

The Kindest Cut: Writing Energetic Nonfiction, Part II (Two-Part Creative Nonfiction) with Jonathan Farmer
See description above.

Infinite Particulars and the Worlds They Make: Choosing Detail in Poetry with John Thomas York
Ever had trouble generating detail, choosing detail (or letting the images choose you), or deciding when it's time to do some serious de-cluttering? Come join a craft talk, discussing strategies (some like cockleburs, some like fairy dust) offered by the leader after his long walks in literary fields. Bring a poem to share.

The Beating, Breaking Hearts of Fictional Characters with Kim Church
The heart of fiction is character; but what is the heart of a fictional character? How is it revealed to the writer, and how does the writer express it? This workshop, for fiction writers at all levels, will focus on how to create characters that are unique, lively, and memorable—characters we might like to spend time with after the workshop is over. To prepare for this session, please think of a memorable event from your own life—something that touched or scared or excited or confused or changed or defined you in some small way. Something you don’t mind sharing with others, a moment you’d like to put in a time capsule. Don’t write about it beforehand; just come with an idea. And paper and pen.

Panel Discussion: Writing About War with Robin Greene, Sharon Raynor, and Paul Stroebel
From Homer to Hemingway, writers have grappled with the causes, effects, and costs of war more than any other subject (except, perhaps, for love). As writers living in a time and place at war, how do we write responsibly and honestly about our—and others'—experience of it, whether from the front lines or the home front? This panel will examine this question, and others that writers face when they try to put war into words.

How to Make an Elevator Pitch with Linda Rohrbough
It’s a completely different set of skills to effectively talk about a book, than to write one. And it doesn’t take long for writers to figure out they need to be able to talk about their book to people they don’t know in a succinct and compelling way. First, it’s to editors and agents, but after publication it’s to book store managers, reader groups, and even the media. “How to Make an Elevator Speech” provides all the tools, including a simple three-step plug and play formula for pitching any book, along with the encouragement and fear-management techniques authors need to develop this all-important skill. Packed with examples, this interactive workshop gives writers everything they need to implement the important career-long skill of pitching their books.

4:00–5:00 pm Special Session I: Speed Pitch! with Robin Miura, Carin Siegfried, Betsy Thorpe, and Kevin Watson**Closed**
You have a book proposal, the attention of an editor, and one minute to convince that editor that your manuscript is worth publishing. Can you fill that minute with the best pitch possible?

Speed Pitch is free with your conference registration, but you must sign up in advance to take part, and space is limited. Each conference registrant who signs up for Speed Pitch will get to sit down with each of the four book pros taking part, but none will have more than the allotted time with any of them. Those who register for Speed Pitch are encouraged to also sign up for Linda Rohrbough’s “How to Make an Elevator Pitch” workshop during Workshop Session II.

Speed Pitch probably won’t lead you directly to a publishing deal—but it may lead you there indirectly, thanks to a practiced pitch, a refined proposal, and maybe even a better manuscript.

4:00–5:00 pm Special Session II: One City, One Prompt with Jacinta V. White
Imagine an entire city writing together about a common theme. One City, One Prompt (OCOP) is a series of writing and community-building events held across the globe—one city at a time—for people to gather to write, tell stories, perform or discuss a common theme. In this session, Greensboro poet and facilitator Jacinta V. White will provide an overview of One City, One Prompt, and begin an opening dialogue on this year's theme, “Begin Again.” Jacinta will then give you the prompt, and let you write.

The session will close with sharing of and reflections on the work the prompt produced, as well as some brief information for those who might want to bring One City, One Prompt to their own towns.

Bring something to write with, and an open, agile mind.

 

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Faculty Biographies

Register Online | Download a Registration Form**Pre-Registration is closed. On-site registration available April 12.**

 

Spring Conference Faculty

Kim Church's debut novel, Byrd (Dzanc Books, March 2014), is the fragmented family history of a child secretly given up for adoption. Kim’s short stories and poetry have appeared in Shenandoah, Painted Bride Quarterly, Mississippi Review, the Norton anthology Flash Fiction Forward, and elsewhere. A Pushcart Prize nominee, she has been awarded fellowships from the North Carolina Arts Council and residencies at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Millay Colony for the Arts, and Vermont Studio Center. She lives with her husband, artist Anthony Ulinski, in Raleigh. Visit her online at www.kimchurch.com.

Jonathan Farmer is the Editor in Chief and Poetry Editor of At Length magazine, an online magazine for in-depth, long-form writing, and the poetry critic for Slate. He teaches in Saxapahaw and lives in Durham.

Robin Greene is a Professor of English and Writing at Methodist University, where she holds the McLean Endowed Professorship of English. Greene also serves as director of the university writing center, is cofounder and editor of Longleaf Press, and cofounder of the Veterans Writing Collective. Greene has published four books, and her work regularly appears in journals.

Carrie Knowles has been a freelance writer for the past forty-five years. She has published widely in both fiction and nonfiction and has won a number of prestigious writing awards including the Midland Authors Poetry Award, the American Heart Association Heart and Torch Award for Creative Journalism, and Glimmer Train’s Very-Short Fiction Contest. Her nonfiction book, The Last Childhood: A Family Story of Alzheimer’s, has been noted as one of the top 100 books written about Alzheimer’s. She has two novels published by Roundfire Books: Lillian’s Garden and Ashoan’s Rug. Ashoan's Rug has been noted by the Salisbury Post as one of the top nine books of 2013. She also has a long short story, “Searching for Clint Eastwood” available through Amazon.com. Carrie was born in Detroit. She and her husband, Jeff Leiter, moved to Raleigh in 1978.

Kelly Starling Lyons is a children's book author whose mission is to transform moments, memories and history into stories of discovery. Her books include the CCBC Choices-honored picture book One Million Men and Me; Ellen's Broom, a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor book, Junior Library Guild and Bank Street Best selection; Tea Cakes for Tosh, a Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People and winner of the 2013 American Association of University Women (AAUW) Award for Juvenile Literature (sponsored by the North Carolina division of AAUW); and Hope's Gift, named an Okra Pick by the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) and showcased as the featured North Carolina children's book at the 2013 National Book Festival in Washington, DC. Find out more at www.kellystarlinglyons.com.

Steve Mitchell’s fiction has been published in The Southeast Review, storySouth, Contrary, The North Carolina Literary Review, and Flash Magazine, among others. His short-story collection, The Naming of Ghosts, is available from Press 53. He is a winner of the Lorian Hemingway International Short Story Prize and has been nominated three times for the Pushcart Prize. Steve has a deep belief in the primacy of doubt and an abiding conviction that great wisdom informs very bad movies. Currently he talks books, wine, and food at Scuppernong Books in downtown Greensboro.

Robin Miura is co-director of Carolina Wren Press, where she manages and edits the Lee Smith Novel Prize and the Doris Bakwin Award for Writing by a Woman. She also does freelance editing for other publishers and acts as an independent literary agent. She has edited many different kinds of books during her fourteen-year publishing career but now works mainly with fiction and memoir.

Peggy Payne’s most recent novel is Cobalt Blue, kicked off at last year’s Los Angeles Times Festival of Books and published in six countries. Her Sister India was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, and her first, Revelation, was a New York Times Editors’ Choice with screen rights sold to Synergy Films. She is co-author of The Healing Power of Doing Good and has written for publications including Publishers Weekly, Cosmopolitan, Ms., Family Circle, Travel & Leisure, More, and most of the major American newspapers. Peggy works with other writers individually and in groups, giving manuscript feedback and career counsel. A Wilmington native, she lives with her psychologist husband, Bob Dick, in a log house next to a pond in rural Chatham County.

Nancy Peacock’s first novel, Life Without Water, was chosen as a New York Times Notable Book. She has since published stories, essays, and poems, as well two more novels and a memoir. Her latest book, a historical novel titled The Life and Times of Persimmon Wilson, was chosen as the Shelf Unbound Best Indie Book of 2013. Peacock believes in the power of story to transform and heal. She teaches and coaches privately. You may read the first chapters of all her books, and learn more, on her website: www.nancypeacockbooks.com.

Drew Perry is the author of two novels: This Is Just Exactly Like You, which was a finalist for the Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize from the Center for Fiction and an Atlanta Journal Best of the Year pick for 2010, and Kids These Days, just published by Algonquin Books. He teaches writing at Elon University and holds an MFA from the writing program at UNC-Greensboro.

Sharon D. Raynor is a Visiting Associate Professor of English at Wake Forest University and an Adjunct Instructor in the Center for Documentary Studies and Continuing Education at Duke University. She also holds a position as an Associate Professor of English at Johnson C. Smith University. Since 1999, she has written and directed two oral history projects with combat veterans in rural North Carolina, “Breaking the Silence: The Unspoken Brotherhood of Vietnam Veterans” and “Soldier-to-Soldier: Men and Women Share Their Legacy of War.” She is a native of Clinton, North Carolina. Her community scholarship and publications focus on the discourse of trauma, silence, and identity in Vietnam War studies and women's studies. Her publications appear in NC Crossroads, disClosure: A Journal of Social Theory, We Wear the Mask: Paul Laurence Dunbar Collection, Zadie Smith: Critical Essays, College Language Association Journal, Dos Passos Review, and From Around the World: Secular Authors and Biblical Perspectives.

Carol Roan’s most recent books are Speak Up: The Public Speaking Primer (Press 53) and When Last on the Mountain: The View from Writers over 50 (Holy Cow! Press). Her short fiction has won several awards, including those from the 2012 Porter Fleming Literary Competition and the 2013 Arts Council of York County Literary Competition. A past president of Winston-Salem Writers, she currently teaches voice, stage presence, writing, and editing.

Linda Rohrbough has been writing since 1989, and has more than 5,000 articles and seven books to her credit along with national awards for her fiction and nonfiction. She’s worked as a bureau chief for a news network in Los Angeles and in Dallas as well as having her bestselling books published by the big five New York publishing houses. Her books have enjoyed translation into over a dozen languages and she’s been quoted by publications such as the New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. New York Times #1 bestselling author Debbie Macomber said about Linda’s new novel: “This is fast-paced, thrilling, edge-of-the-seat reading. The Prophetess One: At Risk had me flipping the pages and holding my breath.” To date The Prophetess One: At Risk has garnered three national awards: the 2012 International Book Award, the 2011 Global eBook Award, and the 2011 Millennium Star Publishing Award. An iPhone App of her popular “Pitch Your Book” workshop is available in the Apple iTunes store. Visit her website: www.LindaRohrbough.com.

Carin Siegfried has been in the book business for 20 years, since starting work in the Davidson College library. She was an editor for Thomas Dunne Books at St. Martin’s Press in New York for five years, acquiring 25 books, including a New York Times bestseller, a Kelly Ripa Book Club selection, and a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection. In addition, she worked on more than 100 books on behalf of Tom Dunne, including numerous bestsellers and award winners. More recently she was the New England independent bookstore sales rep, and then a national account manager, for book wholesaler Baker & Taylor. In 2009 she founded the Charlotte chapter of the Women’s National Book Association and served as its first President. She currently runs her own editorial service, where she enjoys helping writers make their books the very best.

Mark Smith-Soto is Professor of Spanish and editor of International Poetry Review at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He has published three prize-winning chapbooks and two full-length poetry collections to date, Our Lives Are Rivers (University Press of Florida, 2003), and Any Second Now (Main Street Rag Publishing Co., 2006). His poetry, which has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and won him an NEA Fellowship in Creative Writing (2006), has appeared in Antioch Review, Kenyon Review, Literary Review, Nimrod, Rattle, The Sun, and many other publications. In 2010, Unicorn Press brought out his work of translation Fever Season, the selected poetry of Costa Rican writer Ana Istarú. His most recent works are Berkeley Prelude: A Lyrical Memoir (Unicorn Press, 2012) and the chapbook Splices (Finishing Line Press, 2013).

Paul Stroebel is a six-year U.S. Army veteran. He was with the 82d Airborne Division and has served in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He recently graduated from Methodist University with a B.A. in Writing. He is currently living outside the Fort Bragg area with his wife and three children. His work is featured in Tapestry and Press 53’s Home of the Brave: Somewhere in the Sand.

Betsy Thorpe has been in the book business fortwenty years, working in the adult trade departments as a developmental and acquisitions editor at Atheneum, HarperCollins, Broadway Doubleday, Macmillan, and John Wiley & Sons. Since leaving New York, she founded Betsy Thorpe Literary Services, an independent book consultancy, where she works with authors on their book projects, helps with pitches and finding agents, and pulls together independent editorial teams and designers for self-publishing. She has co-written four books, three of which have been featured in The New York Times.

Kevin Morgan Watson is the founding editor of Press 53, a Winston-Salem-based publishing company with a focus on poetry and short story collections. As a publisher and editor, Kevin has worked with writers ranging from first-time published authors to winners of the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. Press 53 titles have earned more than twenty awards, including the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Award for Fiction, the Library of Virginia Award for Fiction, and finalist and honorable mentions from PEN/USA and the PEN/Hemingway Award for first fiction. Kevin also serves as an advisor for short story adaptation to screenplay with the screenwriting faculty at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, School of Filmmaking.

Jacinta V. White is a North Carolina Arts Council Teaching Artist and the recipient of numerous awards and scholarships. She was the first to receive the Press 53 Open Award in Poetry, in 2008, and Finishing Line Press published her first chapbook of poetry, broken ritual, in 2013. Most recently, she has been published in Prime Number Magazine and the Jacar Press anthology What Matters. After completing her MPA degree at Georgia State University in 2000, Jacinta founded The Word Project (www.poetryheals.com), a company dedicated to using poetry as a catalyst for personal and community healing. Through The Word Project, Jacinta has facilitated numerous workshops and trainings, and has developed the curriculum and training for LifeVerse—a nationally recognized community-based project sponsored by the Greensboro Public Library.

John Thomas York grew up in Yadkin County in northwestern North Carolina. He has four poetry collections, including Cold Spring Rising, published by Press 53 in 2012. In 2011, he won the first annual James Applewhite Poetry Prize from North Carolina Literary Review. His work has recently appeared in Appalachian Journal, North Carolina Literary Review, Tar River Poetry, and Kenyon Review Online.

 


 

The 2014 Spring Conference is made possible with support from the Creative Writing Department at UNC-Greensboro, the Greensboro News & Record, the North Carolina Arts Council, and Self Employment in the Arts (SEA).


UNC GreensboroNC Arts Council

           

 

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