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Jonathan FarmerGREENSBORO, NC—“Whenever you feel an impulse to perpetrate a piece of exceptionally fine writing, obey it—whole-heartedly,” said Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch in his 1913-1914 collected lectures, On the Art of Writing, “and delete it before sending your manuscript to press. Murder your darlings.”

The first cut is the kindest cut—as are the second and third (and fourth). That's the theme of this year’s Two-Part Creative Nonfiction Workshop at the North Carolina Writers’ Network 2014 Spring Conference, led by Jonathan Farmer, titled “The Kindest Cut: Writing Energetic Nonfiction.” Registration is now open.

Two-part workshops meet twice during the conference, once during Workshop Session I (in the morning) and again for Workshop Session II (in the afternoon). Farmer, Editor-in-Chief and Poetry Editor of At Length magazine and the poetry critic for Slate, describes his course as follows:

When we’re working from reality, the need to say what happened puts a lot of pressure on our style. In this workshop, we’ll experiment with cutting a surprising number of words from our own and each other’s writing in order to uncover some of the possibilities we’ve already woven into our prose. We’ll also look at examples of efficient nonfiction writing for models of the ways we can answer the pressure to say everything with language that carries the weight and vitality of our reckoning. All participants should bring at least five copies of a double-spaced excerpt from a nonfiction project—ideally one that you’re currently working on—that’s between 500 and 750 words long. (It’s fine if it cuts off suddenly.)

In addition, Steve Mitchell and Carol Roan will lead a workshop titled “Writing from Experience.”

Steve MitchellWriting is more than something that happens in our heads. Every element of our selves has a voice we might use. How do we engage this wealth of experience in our writing? This workshop will use short exercises and prompts to open up the question. This workshop will be great for those interested in creative nonfiction—but also for fiction writers and poets as well.

Carol RoanSteve Mitchell is the Pushcart-Prize nominated author of the short-story collection, The Naming of Ghosts (Press 53). Award-winning writer Carol Roan’s most recent books are Speak Up: The Public Speaking Primer (Press 53) and When Last on the Mountain: The View from Writers over 50 (Holy Cow! Press).

The North Carolina Writers’ Network 2014 Spring Conference will be held Saturday, April 12, in the MHRA Building at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. 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


Russ HatlerNORTH CAROLINA—Welcome to the new website of the North Carolina Writers’ Network! Things are grouped a little differently now than they were on our old site, so here are a few tips to help you get oriented:

At the top of the page is a menu bar. If you’re looking for any information about the Network, including contact info, it’s under “About Us.”

If you’re looking for information about conferences, competitions, or hunting for our events calendar, that’s under “Programs and Services.”

Hats Off!, Book Buzz, and other sections that showcase our members are under “Our Members.”

And if you’re a member of NCWN, you can sign in and then access the “Members Only” section, which includes “Opportunities” and contacts for “Literary Agents and Editors.” But you must be a current member, and you must sign in, to access this section.

Below the menu bar are graphics which link to our White Cross School Blog, the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame, and one of our current contests, the 2014 Doris Betts Fiction Prize.

A bit farther down the right-hand side of the page is a menu of links. In redesigning our site, we decided there are other organizations who keep much better databases of things like funding opportunities, literary magazines, and publishers than we ever could. So most of these menu items link to trustworthy, outside sites. Enjoy!

Another major change is that, in order to submit your news to Hats Off! or Book Buzz, or submit an event for an inclusion in our events calendar, there’s no longer any need to e-mail us. Simply click on the link(s) provided, fill out the appropriate form, and we’ll take care of the rest.

Can’t find something? See a typo? Something not working right? E-mail Charles Fiore, Communications Director, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


NORTH CAROLINA—The 2014 Randall Jarrell Poetry Competition is now open for submissions. This contest awards the first-place winner $200 and publication in storySouth.

The 2014 Randall Jarrell Competition is open to any writer who is a legal resident of North Carolina or a member of the North Carolina Writers’ Network. Submissions should be one poem only (40-line limit). The contest deadline is March 1.

The final judge is Jillian Weise, author of The Book of Goodbyes (BOA Editions, 2013), which received the 2013 James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets, which recognizes a superior second book of poetry by an American poet. Her debut poetry collection, The Amputee’s Guide to Sex, was published by Soft Skull Press in 2007. Weise is also the author of the novel The Colony (Counterpoint/Soft Skull Press, 2010). Her other honors include a Fulbright Fellowship and the 2013 Isabella Gardner Poetry Award from BOA Editions. She teaches at Clemson University and lives in Greenville, South Carolina.

storySouth is an online literary journal dedicated to showcasing the best poetry (and fiction and creative nonfiction) that writers from the "new south" have to offer. Facilitated by the Graduate Program in Creative Writing at UNCG, storySouth aims to prove that "the internet is not just a medium of flash and style; that excellent writing can attract attention without programming gimmicks and hard-to-read fonts." storySouth believes the American South today is a "mix of traditional and new, regional and international." Published poets include Cathy Smith Bowers, Al Maginnes, Dannye Romine Powell, and Elizabeth Swann.

This competition honors the work and legacy of the poet and critic Randall Jarrell, who taught at what is now the University of North Carolina at Greensboro for nearly eighteen years. The competition is administered by Terry L. Kennedy and the Graduate Program in Creative Writing at UNCG.

Alan Michael Parker won the 2013 Randall Jarrell Poetry Competition for his poem, "The Ladder." Joseph Mills, Katherine Soniat, and Ross White received honorable mentions.

Here are the eligibility requirements and guidelines:

  • The competition is open to any writer who is a legal resident of North Carolina or a member of the North Carolina Writers’ Network.
  • Submissions should be one poem only (40-line limit).
  • Poem must be typed (single-spaced) and stapled in the left-hand corner.
  • Author's name should not appear on the poem. Instead, include a separate cover sheet with author's name, address, e-mail address, phone number, and poem title.
  • Poem will not be returned. Include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a list of winner and finalists. The winner and finalists will be announced in May.
  • An entry fee must accompany the poem. Multiple submissions are accepted, one poem per entry fee: $10 for NCWN members, $15 for nonmembers.
  • You may pay member entry fee if you join the NCWN with your submission. Checks should be made payable to the North Carolina Writers’ Network.
  • Send submissions to:

Terry L. Kennedy
MFA Writing Program
3302 MHRA Building
UNC Greensboro
Greensboro, NC 27402-6170

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