White Cross School Blog


NC Literary Hall of Fame



GREENSBORO, NC—The North Carolina Writers' Network 2014 Spring Conference will offer registrants two workshops on how to pitch and promote their books.

Spring Conference happens Saturday, April 12, at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. (Registration is now open.) For those writers with manuscripts ready or near-ready to be sent on submission, or anyone who's simply curious about how the process works, these workshops, led by bestselling and award-winning authors, offer proven strategies for pitching your next book and gaining readership through imaginative marketing.

In the morning session, Carrie Knowles and Peggy Payne will lead a workshop titled, "Market Your Book—with Imagination." 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.

In the afternoon, Linda Rohrbough will teach registrants "How to Make an Elevator Pitch." 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. This workshop 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 career-long skill of pitching their books.

"How to Make an Elevator Pitch" is highly encouraged for anyone who signs up for the Speed Pitch special session at the end of the day, where registrants have a chance to pitch their manuscripts to four literary professionals. (See conference page for full details.)

Carrie Knowles is the 2014 Piedmont Laureate. She 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.

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 many national publications and most of the major American newspapers. Peggy works with other writers individually and in groups, giving manuscript feedback and career counsel.

Linda Rohrbough 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. Her novel 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:

All three instructors also are available for the "Lunch with an Author" program, where attendees can sign up in advance to have lunch with a faculty member. This allows attendees to spend less time waiting in line and more time in conversation with conference faculty outside the classroom.

The nonprofit North Carolina Writers’ Network is the state’s oldest and largest literary arts services organization devoted to writers at all stages of development. For additional information, visit


NORTH CAROLINA—Chapel Hill writer Laura Herbst won top honors in the 2014 Rose Post Creative Nonfiction Competition for her essay “Breast Cancer: A Love Story.”

Author Hannah Dela Cruz Abrams, the judge of this year’s contest, said, “I found ‘Breast Cancer: A Love Story’ an elegy for the body that reminds us of how our very identities are tangled up in painful physicalities. The writer sketches for us her own architecture and where in its design she has discovered fault lines and fulcra.

“In the end, the essay demonstrates that the barricades most difficult to break down are interior and intensely private. It reveals the unceasing struggle to countermand the secrets that, in becoming manifest, threaten to expose—as the writer acknowledges—the core of us.”

After being diagnosed with breast cancer, Herbst left her job teaching news writing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to write what she calls “soulful women's stories.” She is at work on a novel, set among village women in West Africa, where she once lived. Her fiction has appeared in The Sun magazine, and her nonfiction in The New York Times, the News and Observer in Raleigh and Indy Week (for which she received an investigative reporting award from the North Carolina Press Association last year).

Sponsored by the North Carolina Writers’ Network and administered by the creative writing department at UNC-Wilmington, the Rose Post Creative Nonfiction Competition encourages the creation of lasting nonfiction work that is outside the realm of conventional journalism. The contest is open to any legal resident of North Carolina or member of NCWN. First-, second-, and third-place winners receive $1,000, $300, and $200, respectively, and the winning entry is considered for publication in the magazine Southern Cultures.

Jason Hess of Wilmington won second place for his essay “The Adopted Person.” Hess, a native of Scappoose, Oregon, holds a BA in Spanish and English from the University of Idaho, and has lived in Costa Rica, Idaho, Spain, and now North Carolina.

“The essayist has a compelling voice that nimbly moves from humor to grief, all the while pursuing labyrinthine questions concerning origins, family, and isolation,” Abrams said.

Chapel Hill’s Joanna Catherine Scott won third place for her essay “How I Went to Adult Prison as a Child,” based on interviews with a prisoner in Central Prison.

“‘How I Went to Adult Prison as a Child’ is essay as reportage, documentary, a lone lens trained on a subject with the writer vanished,” Abrams said. “The strength of the piece is perhaps in this stepping back of the author, so the voice of imprisoned can have the space necessary to testify.”

Scott is the author of the novels Child of the South, The Road from Chapel Hill, The Lucky Gourd Shop, Charlie: a novel of war, and Cassandra, Lost; the nonfiction Indochina's Refugees: Oral Histories from Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam; and the prize-winning poetry collections An Innocent in the House of the Dead, Breakfast at the Shangri-la, Fainting at the Uffizi, and Night Huntress. A graduate of the University of Adelaide and Duke University, Joanna was born in England, raised in Australia, and now lives in Chapel Hill.

Abrams won the 2013 Whiting Writers’ Award of $50,000, one of the richest prizes in American literature, for her novella The Man Who Danced with Dolls. She holds an MFA (’07) from UNC-Wilmington, where she now teaches in the English Department. She is the recipient of a North Carolina Arts Council Fellowship, a Rona Jaffe Writer’s Award, a Hartshook Fellowship, and a Byington Award. Born on Guam, Abrams is currently at work on her memoir, The Following Sea, about growing up on a cutter that made port throughout the South Pacific.


NORTH CAROLINA—The announcement of this year’s inductees into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame will bring to a close the 2014 North Carolina Literary Festival on Sunday, April 6.

The announcement and subsequent panel discussion, scheduled for 5:00 pm in the Multipurpose Room of the James B. Hunt Jr. Library, will be the grand finale of the four-day-long celebration of past, present, and future of the written word.

Four North Carolina writers will be inducted into the NCLHOF in a ceremony on Sunday, October 12, at the Weymouth Center for the Arts & Humanities in Southern Pines. They will join the fifty-three inductees currently enshrined. Inductions are held every other year; the 2012 inductees were Maya Angelou, Kathryn Stripling Byer, and John Lawson.

A list of inductees, as well as samples of their work and video clips of past inductions, can be found online at

“This is a fitting time and place to announce the 2014 inductees,” said Ed Southern, the executive director of the North Carolina Writers’ Network, which oversees the NCLHOF. “The festival’s theme is ‘The Future of Reading,’and it’s proper to honor the past when you’re examining the future. We’re excited to honor these writers.”

The North Carolina Literary Festival will take place April 3–6 at the James B. Hunt Jr. Library on the Centennial Campus of North Carolina State University. Participating authors will include current NCLHOF inductees Allan Gurganus, Lee Smith, and Elizabeth Spencer, as well as NCWN members Kim Church, Angela Davis-Gardner, Jaki Shelton Green, Marjorie Hudson, Scott Huler, Zelda Lockhart, Kelly Starling Lyons, Jill McCorkle, Sheila Smith McKoy, Elaine Neil Orr, Drew Perry, and Stephanie Powell Watts.

The North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame was founded in 1996, under the leadership of poet laureate Sam Ragan, and is a program of the North Carolina Writers’ Network. Since 2008, the Network and the Weymouth Center collaborate with the North Carolina Center for the Book, the North Carolina Humanities Council, and the North Carolina Collection of the Wilson Library at UNC-Chapel Hill to produce the induction ceremony and to promote the NCLHOF and North Carolina’s literary heritage.


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