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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 www.ncwriters.org or by calling 336-293-8844.

 

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC—Registrants for the North Carolina Writers' Network 2013 Fall Conference can book on-site rooms for a low conference rate—but only if they reserve rooms by Friday, October 25.

The 2013 Fall Conference will be held at the Holiday Inn Resort in Wrightsville Beach. A block of rooms has been reserved at an exclusively discounted rate of $99 plus tax per night, or $119 plus tax per night for an ocean view. But these rooms are first-come, first-served. Book now! Use the group code PEN to reserve a room.

The Fall Conference attracts hundreds of writers from around the country and provides a weekend full of activities that include a luncheon, an annual banquet, readings, workshop tracks in several genres, open mic sessions, and an exhibit hall packed with literary organizations, presses, and publishers. Conference faculty includes professional writers from North Carolina and beyond.

Wilmington resident Clyde Edgerton will give the Keynote Address. Edgerton, a North Carolina native, is the author of five New York Times Notable Books and the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship. Master Classes will be led by Philip Gerard (Creative Nonfiction), Rebecca Lee (Fiction), and Peter Makuck (Poetry).

Because publishing is an evolving business offering more opportunities for authors than ever before, several workshops are designed to help writers navigate this rapidly shifting landscape. Ellyn Bache, author of Safe Passage (made into a 1995 movie starring Susan Sarandon), will lead a workshop titled “Presses and Agents and E-Books, Oh My: 40 Years in the Book Biz.” Jen McConnel will lead a workshop on “The Ins & Outs of Indie Publishing,” and Bridgette A. Lacy will help writers learn how to market their books with “From Book to Buzz.”

Registrants will choose from craft-based workshops such as Virginia Holman’s “Getting Started: The Short Personal Essay” and “What’s in Your Attic? Recovering Your Old Poems” with Mark Cox. James Dodson, author of ten books including American Triumvirate: Sam Snead, Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan and the Age of Modern Golf (named one of the top 100 books of 2012 by the New York Times) will lead a workshop titled “Writing a Life—Including Your Own,” and UNCW’s Malena Mörling will lead a workshop on “The Short Poem.”

Wilmington-based Ecotone literary magazine and Lookout Books will lead a panel on Saturday morning titled “How to Work with a Publisher (So They Want to Work with You)”. Lookout Books publisher Emily Louise Smith will also sit on the Sunday panel, “Agents and Editors,” along with literary agents Michelle Brower of Folio Literary Management and Paul Lucas of Janklow & Nesbit Associates, as well as Christine Norris of Press 53. These editors and agents will participate in manuscript and marketing marts, and the critique service, where registrants can have their manuscripts evaluated by professionals. The 2013 Fall Conference offers coastal residents their best chance this year to meet with literary agents and editors, ask questions, and pitch their manuscripts.

Registration for the NCWN 2013 Fall Conference is now open. For a complete list of workshops, to see the weekend's full schedule, or to register, visit www.ncwriters.org.

 

Bridgette A. Lacy is an award-winning writer and publicist. She was a staff features writer for The News & Observer from 1992 to 2008. As a publicist, she represents authors, food entrepreneurs, and small businesses pitching their stories to local and national media as well as trade publications. She also arranges media interviews and events bookings. She has twenty years of experience as a storyteller promoting literary, culinary, and other cultural-related ventures. Her work is featured in 27 Views of Raleigh: The City of Oaks in Prose & Poetry.

At the North Carolina Writers' Network 2013 Fall Conference, Bridgette will lead a workshop titled, "From Book to Buzz." This workshop is designed to help authors pitch, promote and sell their work. The course will offer authors insight on how to gain the competitive edge in the tough bookselling marketplace. Once you’ve published your novel or nonfiction book, you have to make readers aware of your work and then want to buy it. This workshop will help you think about a juicy sound bite that will help you grab the attention of booksellers, media and readers. I’ll also share traditional and innovative marketing strategies including social media campaigns that will help you create buzz.

 

What’s the last book you bought for someone else?
I get so many books for free as a reviewer, I rarely buy books.

Where’s your favorite place in North Carolina?
I love the mountains and the coast. So I’ll have to go with Asheville and Oak Island.

Why do you write?
Life provides so much raw material, you have to use it. Good writers have the uncanny ability to see things others don’t see. We see the irony and lessons in a way others can’t articulate.

What book would you take with you to a desert island, if you could take only one?
Black Writers of America: A Comprehensive Anthology. This is a textbook from my undergraduate days at Howard University in the early 1980s. I still read it. The writing ranges from slave narratives to contemporary poems and prose.

What advice would you give someone just about to go on stage to read their work for the first time?
Take a deep breath and read slowly. Pace yourself. Only read one section. I prefer the first chapter. Always leave the reader on a note of suspense.

What is the ideal time limit when someone is reading from their work?
Ten minutes.

Do you write to discover, or do you write point-to-point (for example, from an outline)?
I write to discover. Whether its fiction or nonfiction, I like to leave room for things I don’t know. I want the research or my imagination to take me places that I didn’t know I wanted to go. I like to reflect and let the work speak to me.

Do you think some books should be banned from schools?
Not really.

What was the first thing you ever published?
I worked for my high school newspaper, The Beacon. I interviewed author James Baldwin when I was a high school student. His book, Just Above My Head, had recently been released. I called the preacher at the church where he was speaking almost every day to line up an interview. I was so nervous but I asked my questions and he answered them.

If you could be a different author, living or dead, who would you be?
Zora Neale Hurston. I love her audacity and spunk as an African-American woman. She didn’t hold back. She spoke her truth without apology.

Do you read literary journals? What are some of your favorites?
North Carolina State University’s Obsidian: Literature in the African Diaspora.

Are you scheduled in the time you set aside to write, or is your writing time more flexible than that?
I write something almost every day but the time can vary. I prefer writing in the morning, when the house and the world around me is still quiet.

If you could have a torrid but guilt-free affair with a fictional character, which one would it be?
Walter Mosley’s Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins. From first glance, I knew he was a man I wanted to know. Easy fears no man. He has plenty of street smarts, and he takes care of business. He is a private detective living in Los Angeles after World War II. He works as both a detective and as a school custodian. He owns a house and knows how to make a good fried bacon and egg sandwich. That’s hot.

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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.

 
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