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2015 SPRING CONFERENCE

Sponsored by 88.5 WFDD Public Radio and the Greensboro News & Record

MHRA Building (Corner of Spring Garden and Forest Streets)
University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Saturday, April 18, 2015

 

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.

Register Online | Download a Registration Form Pre-registration is closed. On-site registration available 04/18.

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


Fees and Logistics

Register Online | Download a Registration Form Pre-registration is closed. On-site registration available 04/18.

Early registration ends Sunday, April 12. 

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 and Master Classes 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 CV (or a resume detailing your literary experience) 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, Friday, April 10, 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 10 or for no-shows.

Venue and Parking

The 2015 Spring Conference will be held in the Moore Humanities & Research Administration (MHRA) Building on the UNCG campus, 1111 Spring Garden Street, Greensboro, NC, 27403, and in the Curry Auditorium next door.

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.

UNCG’s Creative Writing Department and the Network will provide coffee and bottled water in the MHRA lobby Saturday morning. Vending machines can be found in the student lounge, and several dining options are a short walk from the conference venue. You are welcome (and encouraged) to bring your own snacks and drinks for the breaks between conference sessions.

Nearby Hotels

Accommodations in Greensboro can be found through 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 30. 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.

E-Packets

In an effort to save money, time, and resources, the Network will send to all 2015 Spring Conference registrants, exhibitors, and faculty an E-Packet prior to April 18. The E-Packet will contain all the usual conference packet materials, in the form of a PDF that registrants can print or download to a device to bring with them to the conference.

Name tags, personalized schedules, and copies of the Schedule-at-a-Glance will still be available at the registration table the day of the conference.

If you prefer to receive a traditional printed packet at the conference, please indicate this preference in the space provided on your registration form and pick up your packet at the registration table.

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Schedule-at-a-Glance

Register Online | Download a Registration Form Pre-registration is closed. On-site registration available 04/18.

Saturday, April 18
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 Keynote Address by Jaki Shelton Green
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

  • Poetry Master Class: Changing Stories with Joseph Mills Continued**Closed**
  • Fiction Master Class: A Matter of Interpretation with Valerie Nieman Continued**Closed**
  • Nonfiction Master Class: Creating Presence with Eric G. Wilson Continued**Closed**
  • Conversations in the Lines (Poetry) with Jaki Shelton Green
  • When the Past Isn’t Past: Using History in Fiction with Charlie Lovett**Closed**
  • Narrative Truth vs. Historical Truth (Nonfiction) with Tom Maxwell**Closed**
  • Triggers, Transitions, & Tone (Children’s) with Eleanora E. Tate
  • The Art of Branding for Authors with Faun Finley
4:00-5:00pm

Faculty Readings

5:00-6:00pm

Slush Pile Live!

 

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Master Class

Register Online | Download a Registration Form Pre-registration is closed. On-site registration available 04/18.

Master Classes offer advanced writers a chance to delve more deeply into a particular genre. Each Master Class will take place over the course of Sessions I and II, and will be limited to the first 16 qualified registrants.

While publication credits are not required, Master Class participants should be experienced writers, dedicated to their craft. Applications will be reviewed, and qualified registrants admitted, on a rolling basis, until the deadline of Friday, March 27.

Please submit your current CV or resume detailing your literary experience, along with the required manuscript (see each Master Class’s course description, below, for its manuscript requirements), to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., no later than 4 pm, Friday, March 27.

When you apply for a Master Class, please choose another workshop as a back-up for each session, in case you are not admitted to the Master Class. Application to a Master Class requires a non-refundable $20 processing fee, in addition to the Spring Conference registration fee. If registering for the conference online or by phone, you can pay this processing fee with a VISA, MasterCard, or Discover. If registering by mail, you must include a separate check for $20.

 

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Full Conference Schedule with Course Descriptions

Register Online | Download a Registration Form Pre-registration is closed. On-site registration available 04/18.

8:00–9:00 am Registration

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

9:00–10:30 am Workshop Session I

Poetry Master Class: Changing Stories with Joseph Mills **Closed**
In his “Tiffany Aching” series, Terry Pratchett writes, “There’s always a story. It’s all stories, really. The sun coming up every day is a story. Everything’s got a story in it. Change the story, change the world.” In this workshop, we will consider the power of changing the stories we live among. This may be a matter of re-telling a story, turning it, or tearing it apart. We may consider fairytale retellings (such as Anne Sexton’s Transformations), changes in perspective (such as Gregory McGuire’s Wicked), or examples of ekphrasis (such as W.H. Auden’s “Musee des Beaux Arts” or Billy Collins’ “The Brooklyn Museum of Art” in which the narrator walks into a painting by Frederick Edwin Church). In doing so, the emphasis will be on practical exercises to generate material. In addition to looking at submitted poems, we will be taking advantage of the workshop’s two-part structure to generate material and then return to it.

Please submit three poems, along with your current CV or resume detailing your literary experience, no later than March 27. Poems should be saved in a single MS Word document, using single-spaced, 12-point, Times New Roman font, and sent as an attachment to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Accepted registrants will also be asked to circulate their drafts to others in the class prior to the conference.

Fiction Master Class: A Matter of Interpretation with Valerie Nieman **Closed**
Characters are presented through their appearance, actions, and words—yet what is evident to other characters within the story may not be accurate, and the reader likewise must often ferret out the truth behind the surface. We'll explore how a story may hinge on the difference between a character's apparent reality and the hidden truth, and how the counterpoint between differing elements of a character's depiction can power the story. We will do a “two versions” exercise based on a scar or tattoo.

Please submit up to 1,500 words from a single work, along with your current CV or resume detailing your literary experience, no later than March 27. Submissions should be saved as an MS Word document, using double-spaced, 12-point, Times New Roman font, with numbered pages, and sent as an attachment to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Accepted registrants will also be asked to circulate their drafts to others in the class prior to the conference.

Creative Nonfiction Master Class: Creating Presence with Eric G. Wilson**Closed**
Without a strong voice, prose—no matter how stylistically felicitous—feels generic, institutional, and bloodless. Animated with an engaging persona, the same words spring into an essay: idiosyncratic, imaginative, vibrant. But while essential for powerful creative nonfiction, voice is notoriously difficult to define. Sure, we say it’s the personality of the writer, the unique presence, the controlling consciousness, the point of view, the constructed “I” behind the “eye,” and so on. These traditional definitions, however, are almost as vague as the term they are meant to clarify. In this workshop, we will do our best to understand voice conceptually and practically. We will discuss how important writers have understood voice as well as how it works in selected essays (including those submitted for this workshop). We will also complete exercises designed to strengthen your voice. You should come away from the sessions with strategies for creating a more captivating verbal presence.

Please submit up to 1,500 words from a single work, along with your current CV, no later than March 27. Submissions should be saved as an MS Word document, using double-spaced, 12-point, Times New Roman font, with numbered pages, and sent as an attachment to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Accepted registrants will also be asked to circulate their drafts to others in the class prior to the conference.

Excavating Artifacts: Poetry and Documentary Forms with Rachel Richardson
How can a poem confront and engage history, politics, place, and myth? For poetry that seeks to explore the past, or witness the present, or speak out of a deeply-rooted landscape, it is easy to revert to comfortable modes of telling. How do we make these stories live, without slipping into nostalgia or polemic? To shake loose our stories and invigorate language and form, it can be helpful to borrow from the documentarian's tools. This workshop will explore ways of writing and revising using primary source documents, such as newspaper articles, family photographs, transcribed interviews, court cases, letters, keepsakes, and more. Participants should bring a couple of "documents" (to be interpreted as loosely as you like) that interest you to work with—anything that has a story to tell. We will spend workshop time discussing published “documentary poems” and their strategies, and doing generative writing exercises that will spark your own poems.

Sentence Aesthetics: Using Micro-Poetics to Create Rhythm in Prose with Jacob Paul
This workshop will focus on how writers can leverage sentence syntax, lexicon, and length to build and release tension in prose. We’ll begin by studying several examples, then outline general principles, create a sample scene, and end in a discussion about application.

Stories Worth Telling with Marianne Gingher**Closed**
We know what they are. They keep happening to us. If we live long enough, our personal histories pile up the drama. How do we make sense of all the stories we’ve lived? Which of them demand to be told, and why? How do we make personal experience make sense to others in such a way that readers connect and identify? This is a workshop in the “personal” narrative or “writing from life.” Participants should bring a “time line” of their lives, documenting dates and a “headline” summary of the five or six most significant events/turning points of their lives. We will discuss techniques for making memoir writing come alive and include a brief in-class writing exercise with feedback. Two personal narratives that workshop participants might want to read before they attend the class are “The Fourth State of Matter” by Jo Ann Beard and “The Lamb Roast” by Rosemary Hamilton. Both were published in the New Yorker and should be accessible online.

Don’t Forget the Small Stuff with Kevin Morgan Watson **Closed**
You are a writer with a novel or memoir to sell, and you are looking for an agent, and preferably a large publisher for your book. Where do you begin? In this talk, we’ll discuss the many small steps a writer can take that could eventually lead to a book deal—steps a writer can (and should) be taking long before the novel or memoir is finished.

11:00 am – 12:00 pm Keynote Address by Jaki Shelton Green

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

Poetry Master Class: Changing Stories with Joseph Mills
Continued; see above for description.
**Closed**

Fiction Master Class: A Matter of Interpretation with Valerie Nieman
Continued; see above for description.
**Closed**

Creative Nonfiction Master Class: Creating Presence with Eric G. Wilson
Continued; see above for description.
**Closed**

Conversations in the Lines, or Eavesdropping on Yourself with Jaki Shelton Green
What are the relationships you have with your poems that inspire or inhibit your voice from “telling” or showing up? Bring poems that you have strong relationships with. We will explore where these relationships, like kinships and friendships, intersect, collide, marry, divorce, confront, and unite in our poetics. How do these relationships limit or help to push the territory of language? How do these relationships inform, demand, dominate, or suppress? (Secrets, lies, fantasies . . .) There will also be a focus on selected poems that illustrate “what we talk about when we look at ourselves.”

When the Past Isn’t Past: Using History in Fiction with Charlie Lovett**Closed**
Charlie Lovett’s multi-strand novels explore the often complex relationship between past and present. In this workshop he will help participants examine ways to incorporate the past into narratives, regardless of when those narratives happen to be set. A little bit of a lecture, a little bit of an in-class exercise, and lots of Q & A.

Narrative Truth vs. Historical Truth with Tom Maxwell **Closed**
Memoir writing is, by needs, the art of navigating a strange terrain. How does one turn real people into characters? How does a messy, non-linear story get hammered into a narrative arc? What gives one the right, ultimately, to do this? Let’s discuss the manifold issues of objective truth, characterization, and emotional authenticity.

Triggers, Transitions and Tone, Oh My! Using Literary Devices in Children’s Literature with Eleanora E. Tate
In this workshop, author Eleanora E. Tate will lead participants in discussions about selected literary devices they might not be familiar with, how to identify them in manuscripts, and how to apply them in their own work.

The Art of Branding for Authors: How to Sell Your Books by Selling Yourself with Faun Finley
Martha Stewart, Oprah Winfrey, Stephen King. They are incredibly famous. But it wasn’t always that way. You know who they are, what value they bring to their audience and what to expect from them—all thanks to masterful branding. What has that got to do with you as an author? Everything. When you effectively present yourself in the market, your book sales––and any other products you may have––will increase. And that’s what you want, right?

This workshop will show you how to discover your authentic personal brand based on who you are and what you write. It will also give you tips for capitalizing on it. Branding, like writing, takes discovery, strategy, and planning. It is not something that “just happens.” But it is also a fun and exciting process that will help you further clarify your goals and better connect with your readers. With changes in the publishing industry and the ever increasing trend toward self-publishing, knowing how to brand yourself as an author is more important today than ever.

4:00–5:00 pm Faculty Readings

5:00–6:00 pm Slush Pile Live!
Have you ever wondered what goes through an editor's mind as he or she reads through a stack of unsolicited submissions? Here's your chance to find out. Over the course of the day, attendees will drop off either 300 words of prose or one page of poetry (40-line max) at the registration table. At 5:00 pm, these anonymous submissions will be read out loud for a panel of editors. The editors will raise their hands when they come across something in the text that would make them stop reading. When each hand has been raised, the editors will discuss what they did and did not like about the piece, offering constructive feedback on the manuscript itself and the submission process. As many submissions as we can get to in an hour, that's how many we'll read: all anonymous—all live! (Authors can reveal themselves at the end, but only if they want to.)

Those interested in having their anonymous submission read should submit a hard copy of up to 300 words of prose from a single work or one page of poetry (40-line max) at the registration table between the hours of 8:00 am and 4:00 pm. Submissions should be double-spaced, 12-point, Times New Roman font. No names should appear on the submissions.

 

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Faculty Biographies

Register Online | Download a Registration Form Pre-registration is closed. On-site registration available 04/18.

 

Spring Conference Faculty

Faun Finley is an award-winning copywriter with more than a decade of experience in marketing and advertising. During her tenure at the News & Record, she has won two national awards for her online work, The Pet Shop blog, and Bargain Sense, a video show she created, co-wrote, and co-hosted. Faun has also won ten regional awards for her print ad work and is responsible for creating the brands Life Captured, Thrifty Living, Williams on Wine, and Ice Castle, among others. Contact Faun at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or www.faunfinley.com.

Marianne Gingher is the author of a novel, Bobby Rex’s Greatest Hit, which was made into an NBC movie, and many short stories. Her nonfiction includes two memoirs, A Girl’s Life: Horses, Boys, Weddings and Luck (about growing up in a functional family) and Adventures in Pen Land (about the writing life). She is also the editor of Long Story Short, a collection of “flash fiction” by North Carolina writers, and the forthcoming Amazing Place: What North Carolina Means to Writers. She is a Bowman and Gordon Gray Distinguished Term Professor at UNC-Chapel Hill where she teaches creative writing.

Jaki Shelton Green was inducted into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame in 2014, was the 2009 NC Piedmont Laureate, and in 2003 received the North Carolina Award for Literature for her fine poetry and "inveterate championing of the underdog." Her poetry collections and chapbooks include Feeding the Light, breath of the song, Dead on Arrival, Conjure Blues, and singing a tree into dance. Her poetry has appeared in The Crucible, The African-American Review, Obsidian, Ms., and Essence. She lives in Mebane.

Charlie Lovett is the New York Times bestselling author of The Bookman’s Tale (2013), First Impressions (2014), and The Further Adventures of Ebenezer Scrooge (forthcoming). A Winston-Salem native, he served more than a decade as writer-in-residence at the Summit School where he wrote plays for children that have since been seen in more than 3,500 productions worldwide. He is a former antiquarian bookseller and an avid book collector. He and his wife, Janice, split their time between Winston-Salem and Kingham, Oxfordshire, in England. Visit www.charlielovett.com.

Tom Maxwell is a writer and musician. He was a member of the Squirrel Nut Zippers between 1994 and 1999, and his song “Hell” peaked at Number 13 on the Billboard Hot 100, propelling the band to multi-platinum status. Tom’s songs have appeared in dozens of movies and television shows, a Super Bowl commercial, an Academy Award-nominated documentary, and a Tony Award-winning soundtrack. He has also scored for movies, television, and commercials. His short memoir of the Squirrel Nut Zippers’ strange rise, Hell, was published by Oyster Point Press in 2014, simultaneous with the release of his latest album, Tom Maxwell & The Minor Drag, produced by longtime Zippers colleague Mike Napolitano and featuring two duets with Ani DiFranco. A contributor to Al Jazeera America, Maxwell’s writing has also appeared in Salon, The Oxford American, Our State Magazine, College Music Journal, and Southern Cultures.

A faculty member at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Joseph Mills holds an endowed chair, the Susan Burress Wall Distinguished Professorship in the Humanities. He has published five collections of poetry with Press 53, most recently This Miraculous Turning. More information about his work is available at www.josephrobertmills.com, and he blogs somewhat regularly at www.josephrobertmills.blogspot.com.

Valerie Nieman writes across a wide range of genres. Her most recent novel, Blood Clay, was a story of the New South that won the Eric Hoffer Award in General Fiction and was a finalist for the John Gardner Fiction Book Prize. Her 1988 novel Neena Gathering was returned to print by Permuted Press as a classic in the post-apocalyptic genre. She recently completed revisions on a fourth book, Backwater, a coming-of-age/crime novel set in North Carolina, and is working on a three-book historical fantasy as well as a novel-in-verse. A graduate of West Virginia University and Queens University of Charlotte, she was a newspaper reporter and editor for many years. She is a two-time winner of the Elizabeth Simpson Smith Fiction Prize for the best story from a writer in the Carolinas. She now teaches creative writing at North Carolina A&T State University and is the poetry editor of Prime Number magazine.

Jacob Paul’s 2010 debut novel, Sarah/Sara, was named one of that year’s five best first fictions by Poets & Writers. His second novel, A Song of Ilan, is forthcoming from Jaded Ibis Press in 2015. His collaboration with Adam Moser and Sarah Martin led to an art book, Home for an Hour, released December 2014, and was developed into an hour-long performance by the Flying Bobcat Theatrical Laboratory. His work has also appeared or is forthcoming in Hunger Mountain, Western Humanities Review, Green Mountains Review, Massachusetts Review, Seneca Review, Mountain Gazette, and USA Today’s "Weekend Magazine" as well as on www.therumpus.net, www.fictionwritersreview.com, and www.numerocinqmagazine.com. He holds an MFA from the Vermont College of Fine Arts and a Ph.D from the University of Utah. A former OppenheimerFunds product manager, he currently teaches creative writing at High Point University. More on www.jacobgpaul.com/bio.

Rachel Richardson is the author of Copperhead (2011) and Hundred-Year Wave (forthcoming, 2016), both from Carnegie Mellon University Press. Her poems have appeared recently in the New England Review, Slate, Guernica, Southern Review, and in Ted Kooser’s “American Life in Poetry” column, and her critical essays in the Kenyon Review, The Rumpus, and at the Poetry Foundation online. She is a Contributing Editor at Memorious, and a 2013-14 National Endowment for the Arts Fellow.

Eleanora E. Tate has conducted creative writing workshops in schools, libraries, and universities for children and adults for over forty years, and is the author of eleven novels for young readers. Her most recent is Celeste's Harlem Renaissance, an AAUW-NC Book Award Winner for Juvenile Literature, and an IRA Teachers' Choice winner. Her acclaimed “South Carolina” trilogy—The Secret of Gumbo Grove; Thank You, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.!, and A Blessing in Disguise—continues to attract readers. Tate’s awards include the Parents Choice Gold Seal Award, a California Young Reader Medal finalist, and the 1999 Zora Neale Hurston Award, the highest award given by the National Association of Black Storytellers, of which she is a former president. Her latest essay, “Harking Back to Hargett Street,” is in 27 Views of Raleigh.

Kevin Morgan Watson is the founding editor and publisher of Press 53, a publishing house in Winston-Salem that focuses on poetry and short fiction. Since 2005, Press 53 has published around 150 books and has earned almost forty awards. A few Press 53 authors have signed book deals with the larger New York City publishers, which Kevin considers a victory.

Eric G. Wilson is a professor of English at Wake Forest University and author of three works of creative nonfiction: Everyone Loves a Good Train Wreck, The Mercy of Eternity: A Memoir of Depression and Grace, and Against Happiness. His essays have appeared in the Georgia Review, the Virginia Quarterly Review, the Oxford American, The New York Times, the LA Times, Our State, and the Chronicle of Higher Education. He has also published a volume for Muse Books: The Iowa Series in Creativity and Writing, My Business Is to Create: Blake’s Infinite Writing. His most recent book, Keep It Fake: Inventing an Authentic Life, is coming out with Farrar, Straus, and Giroux this May.

 


 

The 2015 Spring Conference is made possible with support from the Creative Writing Department at UNC-Greensboro, 88.5 WFDD Public Radio, the Greensboro News & Record, and the North Carolina Arts Council.


UNC GreensboroNC Arts Council

                     

 

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