White Cross School Blog


NC Literary Hall of Fame


 NetWest Writers' Conference


Virginia HolmanVirginia Holman is the author of Rescuing Patty Hearst (Simon & Schuster), a memoir of her mother's untreated schizophrenia. It was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Authors Selection, and received the Outstanding Literature Award from the National Alliance on Mental Illness. She's published essays and articles in DoubleTake Magazine, Redbook, Women's Health, Prevention, Glamour, Self, O Magazine, More, the Washington Post, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and elsewhere. Her work has been reprinted in Pushcart Prize series, broadcast on This American Life, and she's received fellowships and awards from the North Carolina Arts Council and The Carter Center. An avid kayaker and outdoorsy type, she also writes the monthly "Excursions" column for Salt Magazine in Wilmington. She teaches at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

Virginia will lead a workshop at the North Carolina Writers' Network 2013 Fall Conference titled, "Getting Started: The Short Personal Essay." The short personal essay (750-1,500 words) can be an end in itself, or it can serve as a portal to longer work. We'll discuss the form and its possibilities, and do some in-class exercises to help you identify your obsessions and clarify your intent. In addition, we'll look at several markets that routinely publish short essays.


What was your favorite book as a child?
Little Women.

If you weren’t a writer, what kind of job would you like to have?
Professional sea kayaker.

What’s one piece of advice no one gave you when you were starting out, that you wished they had?
Exercise vigorously for an hour five times a week no matter what.

Any memorable rejections?
The acceptances are more memorable than the rejections.

Hemingway wrote standing up; Truman Capote wrote lying down. What posture do you write in?

The Cape Fear Coast is a hotbed for the film industry. In your opinion, what has been the best book-to-screen adaptation?
I thought Bill Forsyth's adaptation of Marilynne Robinson's novel, Housekeeping, was lovely.

What was the worst?
I'm sure I've seen bad adaptions, but like rejections, they tend to fade from memory.

Why do you feel it’s important for writers to attend conferences such as the NCWN Fall Conference?
Writing can be isolating. The NCWN conference offers writers community, instruction, and hope. It's a big reason that North Carolina is a great place for writers.

Do you have pet peeves as a reader? As a writer?
I find exclamation points and italics annoying.

Do you own an electronic reading device?
I don't like reading books on electronic devices.

Are you scheduled in the time you set aside to write, or is your writing time more flexible than that?
I prefer a schedule, but I can force myself to be flexible.

Do you write to discover, or do you write point-to-point (for example, from an outline)?

What was the first thing you ever published?
A poem in a high-school literary magazine.

Who is your favorite North Carolina author?
There are too many great North Carolina authors to choose one favorite. I'm sad there will be no more novels from Doris Betts. Her novels are smart, funny, and fierce. I'm also looking forward to the new Allan Gurganus novella collection, Local Souls. His short story "Blessed Assurance" (in the collection White People) should be required reading for all North Carolina politicians. How I love that story.


The North Carolina Writers' Network Fall Conference will be held November 15-17 at the Holiday Inn Resort in Wrightsville Beach. Registration is now open.


Michael White was educated at the University of Missouri and the University of Utah, where he received his Ph.D. in English and Creative Writing in 1993. His poetry books are This Water, The Island, Palma Cathedral (winner of the Colorado Prize), Re-entry (winner of the Vassar Miller Prize), and the forthcoming Vermeer in Hell (winner of the Lexi Rudnitsky Editors Prize). He also has a memoir, Travels in Vermeer, forthcoming from Persea Books. He has published poetry and prose in The Paris Review, The New Republic, The Kenyon Review, The Best American Poetry, and dozens of other magazines and anthologies. White is currently chair of the Department of Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

Michael will lead a workshop at the North Carolina Writers' Network 2013 Fall Conference titled, "Companion Books: Poetry & Prose, Fiction & Nonfiction." In this workshop, we will consider the phenomenon of companion books, defined here as a pair of inextricably linked yet freestanding books. We’ll discuss pairings such as Twain’s Life on the Mississippi and Huckleberry Finn, Evan S. Connell’s Mrs. Bridge and Mr. Bridge, Mary Karr’s Lit and Sinner’s Welcome, as well as the instructor’s own forthcoming companion books, Travels in Vermeer and Vermeer in Hell. One question we will consider is how a writer can benefit from looking at one subject through the lens of two different genres. Another is how the lessons one learns in one form can translate to success in another. We’ll wind up our session with writing exercises that will explore different approaches to a given subject.


What’s the last book you bought for someone else?
Bobcat, by Rebecca Lee.

Where’s your favorite place in North Carolina?
Any undeveloped island off the Cape Fear coast.

Why do you write?
Some try to perfect their painting or singing or cooking to express their love for humanity: I write.

What book would you take with you to a desert island, if you could take only one?
The Tempest.

What advice would you give someone just about to go on stage to read their work for the first time?
Breathe easy and go a little slower than you think you should.

What is the ideal time limit when someone is reading from their work?
Twenty to forty minutes.

Do you write to discover, or do you write point-to-point (for example, from an outline)?
Always to discover.

Do you think some books should be banned from schools?

What was the first thing you ever published?
A terrible poem in an undergrad magazine. I have blocked the title from memory.

If you could be a different author, living or dead, who would you be?
I'd like to be Blake when God talks to him.

Do you read literary journals? What are some of your favorites?
Yes. The Missouri Review, The Iowa Review, and The Kenyon Review are favorites.

Are you scheduled in the time you set aside to write, or is your writing time more flexible than that?

If you could have a torrid but guilt-free affair with a fictional character, which one would it be?
At first I was tempted to list Anna Karenina or Madame Bovary, but on second thought I can and do have guilt-free affairs with characters and their authors on a daily basis.


The North Carolina Writers' Network 2013 Fall Conference will be held November 15-17 at the Holiday Inn Resort in Wrightsville Beach. Registration is now open.


WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC—Columnist and author Celia Rivenbark will speak at the North Carolina Writers' Network annual banquet during the 2013 Fall Conference.

Rivenbark was an award-winning journalist before becoming the award-winning author of Bless Your Heart, Tramp; We’re Just Like You, Only Prettier; Stop Dressing Your Six-Year-Old Like a Skank; Belle Weather: Mostly Sunny With a Chance of Scattered Hissy Fits; You Can’t Drink All Day If You Don’t Start in the Morning; You Don’t Sweat Much for a Fat Girl; and Rude Bitches Make Me Tired.

“I’m assuming Celia will deliver a sober, serious-minded disquisition on the Large Hadron Collider,” said NCWN executive director Ed Southern. “But I don’t know that for sure. She hasn’t told me.”

Rivenbark’s books have won the SEBA Award for Nonfiction Book of the Year and appeared on the New York Times and other bestseller lists. She lives in Wilmington with her husband, a hospital executive and true-crime author, and their teenage daughter.

The banquet is open only to Fall Conference registrants, though a registrant may bring one guest for a fee of $50. Guests must be registered with the Network in advance of the conference.

The NCWN Fall Conference is open to writers at all levels of skill and experience, from all across North Carolina, and beyond. Writers can register at or by calling 336-293-8844.

Joomla Templates: from JoomlaShack