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NC Literary Hall of Fame




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


Paul Lucas joined Janklow & Nesbit Associates in 2007. He started in the legal department and began representing authors in 2011 and is now eagerly expanding his list. He is looking for literary, commercial, and genre fiction (specifically science fiction, fantasy, and horror), with a nod to the literary. He also loves narrative nonfiction, history, biography, business, political, and popular science. Clients include Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Robert Baer, Richard Phillips, Matthew Mather, and John Burley. He is not looking for, and does not represent, picture books, women’s fiction, cookbooks, screen or stage plays, poetry, memoir, or inspirational. When in doubt, feel free to query him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the synopsis and first ten pages in the body of the e-mail.

During the North Carolina Writers' Network 2013 Fall Conference, Paul will sit on Sunday's "Brilliant at Breakfast Panel Discussion: 'Agents and Editors'" and serve as a reviewer for the Manuscript Mart, which provides writers with the opportunity to pitch their manuscripts and get feedback from an editor or agent with a leading publisher or literary agency. A one-on-one, thirty-minute pitch and Q&A session will be scheduled for attendees who register for the Manuscript Mart.



What’s the last book you bought for someone else?
I bought a literary magazine filled with images and recipes from Japan. I also sent a copy of American Gun to my dad.

Where’s your favorite place in North Carolina?
I’ve only been to Raleigh and Greensboro. In my imagination, I think the Blue Ridge Mountains or Outer Banks is for me.

Why do you write?
Because e-mail never ends. I leave books to the pros.

What book would you take with you to a desert island, if you could take only one?
Lord of The Rings bound trilogy. Or perhaps a survival guide would be more useful.

What advice would you give someone just about to go on stage to read their work for the first time?
Make sure you’ve read it aloud previously, preferably in front of friends/family. You should be your work’s best performer (until someone produces an audiobook).

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

Do you write to discover, or do you write point-to-point (for example, from an outline)?
I was joking above but I really do write e-mails, not books.

Do you think some books should be banned from schools?
Of course, but they’re not Lee, Joyce, or Miller. There’s no reason for a school district to spend money on something that actively teaches hate or intolerance.

What was the first thing you ever published?
The world shall have to wait for that.

If you could be a different author, living or dead, who would you be?
Truman Capote.

Do you read literary journals? What are some of your favorites?
Tin House, One Story, and Granta are fantastic. There are many many more.

If you could have a torrid but guilt-free affair with a fictional character, which one would it be?
My girlfriend is on the faculty as well so…no comment.


Registration for the North Carolina Writers' Network 2013 Fall Conference is now open.


Peter MakuckPeter Makuck grew up in New England and graduated from St. Francis College in Maine where he majored in French and English. He lives on Bogue Banks, one of North Carolina’s barrier islands. His Long Lens: New & Selected Poems was published in 2010 by BOA Editions and nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. In April, Syracuse University Press released a third collection of short stories, Allegiance and Betrayal. His poems and stories, essays and reviews have appeared in The Nation, The Gettysburg Review, The Hudson Review, Poetry, The Sewanee Review, Yale Review, and others. He is Distinguished Professor emeritus from East Carolina University, where he founded and edited Tar River Poetry from 1978 to 2006.

Peter will lead the Master Class in Poetry at the North Carolina Writers' Network 2013 Fall Conference. This class will consider a range of questions that writers must ask themselves before they consider a poem to be “finished.” Among other things, we will consider imagery, structure, line-breaks, sonic-devices, tone, setting, speaker, etc. We will also look at several kinds of poems—letter, list, object, place, persona, and how-to. Peter will distribute examples. The goal is to have writers leave the workshop with the beginnings of at least one new poem.


What was your favorite book as a child?
Read no books as a child. As a teen, I read fishing and hunting magazines. No books. I faked my way through high school, and didn’t get hooked on reading until my freshman English class in college. William Faulkner’s short story “Barn Burning” turned me into an addicted reader. Moral: never too late.

If you weren’t a writer, what kind of job would you like to have?
My father had a service station and I loved working on cars, especially my own high-powered junker. My uncle had a tavern. At this stage of the game, I think I’d rather be a bartender.

What’s one piece of advice no one gave you when you were starting out, that you wished they had?
Well, Saul Bellow said that a writer is primarily a reader moved to emulation. So read, read closely, and reread, and don’t be afraid to steal. An interviewer once told Faulkner that there were remarkable similarities between some of Conrad’s work and his own. Faulkner replied that he had stolen from Conrad, Dostoyevsky, Dickens, Tolstoy, and many more. Then concluded: “And I’d steal from you too if you were a writer.”

Any memorable rejections?
Yes, George Core at The Sewanee Review turned down a short story years ago, one of my very first. In his letter he said the story needed one more scene of about two or three pages for structural balance. And told me where the scene should be. When I reread the story, I realized he was dead on the money. I added a scene of three pages, sent it back, and he accepted it. Only my second story publication. He’s an incredibly generous editor.

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

The Cape Fear Coast is a hotbed for the film industry. In your opinion, what has been the best book-to-screen adaptation?
A River Runs Through It.

What was the worst?
The Long, Hot Summer, an adaptation of Faulkner’s first Snopes book, The Hamlet. Paul Newman as a Snopes? Laughable. No way.

Why do you feel it’s important for writers to attend conferences such as the NCWN Fall Conference?
You get a chance to talk and spend some time with others who are involved in the same kind of struggle with paper and ink. A unique learning opportunity. You have a chance to have others objectively view your work and offer constructive criticism. If such conferences were around when was starting out, I’d have saved myself a lot of time. I’ve never taken a course in fiction or poetry writing and there is nothing slower and more haphazard than teaching yourself how to do something.

Do you have pet peeves as a reader? As a writer?
There should be a moratorium on navel-gazing poems about poetry. As an editor, I’d get five or ten weekly and grew to hate them.

Are you scheduled in the time you set aside to write, or is your writing time more flexible than that?
Once upon a time, I could write anywhere, at any time, as long as I had a cup of coffee to keep my brain revved up. Nowadays, I work mostly in the morning, at home in my study.

Do you write to discover, or do you write point-to-point (for example, from an outline)?
For me writing is an act of discovery. I’m rarely sure of what’s coming, always a surprise. As (Robert) Frost put it, “No surprise for the writer, no surprise for the reader.” Amen.

What was the first thing you ever published?
A long poem about the death of my Polish grandfather, “Dziadek,” and about my discovery of photography, imagery, and the importance of aiming outside the self. It was in The Southern Review, 1970s.

Who is your favorite North Carolina author?
Fred Chappell. He’s done it all—novels, short stories, poetry, essays, reviews. Really a man of letters. Lots of writers today want their books reviewed, but feel no obligation to give back by writing reviews themselves. Not Ol’ Fred.


Registration for the North Carolina Writers' Network 2013 Fall Conference is now open.

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