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NC Literary Hall of Fame




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Greensboro, NC – More than one hundred writers from across North Carolina (and beyond) came together at the North Carolina Writers’ Network’s annual Spring Conference last Saturday.

Held once again at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, the 2009 Spring Conference featured ten workshops in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, playwriting, and public speaking, as well as readings by instructors and attendees, a panel discussion with magazine and small press publishers, and a keynote address by bestselling novelist Sharyn McCrumb.

“I was well fed,” one metaphorically inclined attendee said. “I’m grateful that I was given the opportunity to partake of this banquet.”

The 2009 Spring Conference offered attendees a chance to study fiction with Quinn Dalton, Valerie Nieman, and Jack Riggs; nonfiction with Marianne Gingher, Ed Southern, and Lee Zacharias; poetry with David Roderick and Carolyn Beard Whitlow; playwriting with Alan Cook; and public speaking with Carol Roan.

Attendees also had the chance to get to know these authors and their fellow registrants better at “Lunch with an Author,” in which small groups signed up to take a faculty member to lunch.

“I loved (my) session,” an attendee said. “I learned how to better get inside a character’s head, what questions to ask them, and what drives them.”

Another attendee described the conference as “time well spent. This was my first conference of this type. I will attend more!”

David McGuirtDavid McGuirt of Charlotte is the winner of the 2009 Doris Betts Fiction Prize for his story “Blind Faith.” McGuirt will receive a prize of $250 from the North Carolina Writers’ Network.

Noted for honorable mention are Marjorie Hudson’s “The High Life,” Melanie Raskin’s “Waiting for Azrael,” and Kuruvilla Verghese’s “A Life in the Shadow.” Of these three and the winning story, final judge Kat Meads said, “I thought the characterizations were solid, the descriptions economical but resonant, and the image linkage – whether symbolic or no – very well done.”

Meads says of McGuirt’s winning story, “‘Blind Faith’ is fiction that mercilessly observes and indicts by the means by which all good fiction indicts: plot, pacing, powerful imagery, and characters who stay with the reader long after the reading is finished.” She describes Verghese’s “A Life in the Shadow” as “an economical, dexterous tale of the plight of a Brahmin widow, age twenty-two, whose life is at the mercy and whim of others until she takes back control by the only means at her disposal: suicide.” Meads’ description for “The High Life” praises Hudson’s “hardscrabble story of a wise-beyond-his-years ‘thrown-away’ teen who manages to construct for himself something like a second family with the members of a traveling carnival … Dip’s angst, longing, and discoveries are effectively delivered in the staccato rhythms of lessons learned quickly – and painfully.” Of “Waiting for Azrael,” Meads “appreciates and applauds the humor of Raskin’s story and its characterizations, particularly brother Adrian.” Meads also noted Steve Mitchell’s “Platform,” “with its ‘I am the terrorist’ twist,” and Gregg Cusick’s “ambitious” “A Sensitive Dependence on Initial Conditions.”

Meads, an eastern North Carolina native now living in California, is the author of the short story collections Not Waving and Little Pockets of Alarm and the novels Sleep and The Invented Life of Kitty Duncan Benedict Roberts. She chose the winning stories from finalists selected by the North Carolina Literary Review from the original 106 submissions, up from 62 in 2008. Meads noted that she “was impressed by the quality of many of the finalists.”

The winning story will be published in the 2010 issue of the North Carolina Literary Review. Some of the finalists will also be invited by the NCLR editors to revise and resubmit for publication consideration. The 2008 Betts first- and second-place stories, as well as a play by and an interview with Kat Meads, will be in the 2009 issue of NCLR, due out this summer. For information on subscribing to NCLR, go to

Sharyn McCrumbGreensboro, NC – New York Times bestselling author Sharyn McCrumb will discuss “Keepers of the Legends: Writing about North Carolina” at  the 2009 North Carolina Writers’ Network Spring Conference, which takes place Saturday, April 25, from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. in the Elliott University Center at the University of North Carolina–Greensboro.

The annual event draws more than 100 writers for intensive workshops in fiction, creative nonfiction, playwriting, poetry, publishing, and public speaking, led by distinguished writing faculty from across the nation. This year’s conference will also feature a Publishing Panel with book and journal editors, a Faculty Reading, an Open Mike Reading for conference attendees, and “Lunch with an Author,” in which attendees share lunch and personal conversation with one of the authors on the faculty.

McCrumb is an award-winning Southern writer, best known for her Appalachian “Ballad” novels, set in the North Carolina/Tennessee mountains, including the New York Times Best Sellers She Walks These Hills and The Rosewood Casket. Her novels have won the Wilma Dykeman Award for Literature, the AWA Book of the Year Award, and the AWA Best Appalachian Novel.  A North Carolina native and a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, McCrumb has been named a “Virginia Woman of History” for literary achievement and has won the AWA Outstanding Contribution to Appalachian Literature Award.  A film of her novel The Rosewood Casket is currently in production.

Conference participants may select from a variety of half- and full-day workshops, including “Nowhere to Hide,” a creative nonfiction workshop with Sir Walter Raleigh Award-winning writer Lee Zacharias; “Local Atmospheres,” a poetry workshop with renowned poet David Roderick; “Writing Life Stories” with author Marianne Gingher, the former director of the Creative Writing Program at UNC-Chapel Hill; and “Playwriting Improv” with playwright Alan Cook. 

Other instructors include Quinn Dalton, Jack Riggs, and Valerie Nieman on fiction; Carolyn Beard Whitlow on poetry; Carol Roan on reading and speaking for an audience; and NCWN executive director Ed Southern on nonfiction.

Registration for the conference—made possible with support from the Center for Creative Writing in the Arts, UNC-Greensboro, and the North Carolina Arts Council—is $100 for Network members, $150 for non-members.

For more information and to see a full schedule click here

To register online via our secure server click here, or call (919) 251-9140 for more information.
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