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NC Literary Hall of Fame




MHRA Building (Corner of Spring Garden and Forest Streets)
University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Saturday, April 21, 2018

                                 UNC Greensboro 

The North Carolina Writers' Network and the MFA in Creative Writing Program at UNC-Greensboro bring you a full day of workshops, conversations, and more. This year’s Spring Conference again will be in UNCG’s MHRA Building, on the corner of Spring Garden and Forest Streets, and in Curry Auditorium next door, offering classes and discussions on the craft and business of writing and publishing.

In addition, the “lunch” part of Lunch with an Author will be provided for those who register, so writers will be able to spend more time talking and less time waiting in line.

Register Online | Download Registration Form


Fees and Deadlines

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Early registration ends Sunday, April 15. 

Early registration:

  • $99 for members
  • $150 for non-members


Lunch with an Author:

  • $15 for members
  • $25 for non-members


IMPORTANT: Spring Conference attendees MUST register for Lunch with an Author prior to the conference. Lunch with an Author registration will NOT be available on-site.

On-site registration as a walk-in:
  • $135 for members
  • $165 for non-members
  • Lunch with an Author and Master Classes not available to walk-in registrants

You can join the Network when you register, and pay the member rates plus the appropriate member dues:

$75 standard 1-year membership
$55 senior (65+), student, disabled membership
$130 2-year membership
$130 household 1-year membership


If you would like to apply for a scholarship, please send a CV (or a resume detailing your literary experience) and a letter of interest to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. no later than Friday, April 6.


Cancellations must be made in writing and arrive at the Network office (via USPS or e-mail) by 4:00 pm, Thursday, April 12, for you to receive a refund, less 25 percent. Send request to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. No refunds for cancellations received after April 12 or for no-shows.

For Writers with Special Needs

The North Carolina Writers' Network strives to make our programs and services accessible to all writers, including those with special needs. If you require conference materials either in large print or in Braille, or if you require a sign-language interpreter, please register for the conference and submit your request to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. no later than Monday, April 2. If you require any other special assistance, please let us know as soon as possible at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We will do our best to accommodate all reasonable requests.


  • April 2: Deadline for special-needs requests
  • April 6: Deadline for all scholarship applications
  • April 6: Deadline for Master Class registration (see guidelines)
  • April 15: Deadline for early registration
  • April 21: Spring Conference in session; on-site registration available

Venue and Parking

The 2018 Spring Conference will be held in the Moore Humanities & Research Administration (MHRA) Building on the UNCG campus, 1111 Spring Garden St., Greensboro, NC, 27403, and in the Curry Auditorium next door. The MHRA Building is located at the corner of Spring Garden and Forest Streets.

Parking will be available for Spring Conference registrants in the Oakland Avenue Parking Deck, across Forest Street from the MHRA Building (behind Yum Yum Better Ice Cream and Old Town Draught House).

A map of the UNCG campus is available here.

UNCG’s Creative Writing Department and the Network will provide coffee and bottled water in the MHRA lobby Saturday morning. Vending machines can be found in the student lounge, and several dining options are a short walk from the conference venue. You are welcome (and encouraged) to bring your own snacks and drinks for the breaks between conference sessions.

Nearby Hotels

The Greensboro Convention & Visitors Bureau can help you find accommodations in the area. Please visit http://www.visitgreensboronc.com.


In an effort to save money, time, and resources, the Network will send to all 2018 Spring Conference registrants, exhibitors, and faculty an E-Packet prior to April 21. The E-Packet will contain all the usual conference packet materials in the form of a PDF that registrants can print or download to a device to bring with them to the conference.

Name tags, personalized schedules, and copies of the Schedule-at-a-Glance will still be available at the registration table the day of the conference.

If you prefer to receive a traditional printed packet at the conference, please indicate this preference in the space provided on your registration form and pick up your packet at the registration table.

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Register Online | Download Registration Form

Saturday, April 21
8:00-9:00am Registration Open (MHRA Lobby)
8:30 am - 5:00 pm Exhibit Tables and Book Sales Open (MHRA Lobby)
9:00 am - 10:00 am Keynote Address by Jill McCorkle (Curry Auditorium)
10:30 am - 12:00 pm

Session I

12:00-1:30 pm Lunch with an Author (if pre-registered; lunch on your own if not)
1:30-2:30 pm Faculty Readings (Curry Auditorium)
2:30-4:00 pm

Session II


Open Mic Readings - Sign up at registration table (MHRA 1214 and 1215)


Slush Pile Live! (MHRA 1214 and 1215)


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Master Class

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Master Classes offer advanced writers a chance to delve more deeply into a particular genre. Each Master Class will take place over the course of Sessions I and II, and will be limited to the first 10 qualified registrants.

While publication credits are not required, Master Class participants should be experienced writers, dedicated to their craft. Applications will be reviewed, and qualified registrants admitted, on a rolling basis, until the deadline of Friday, April 6.

Please submit your current CV, along with the required manuscript (see each Master Class’s course description, below, for its manuscript requirements), to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., on the day you register for the Spring Conference. You cannot be considered for a Master Class until we receive your CV and required manuscript. Again, the deadline to apply for a Master Class is Friday, April 6.

When you register for the Spring Conference, if applying for a Master Class, please choose another workshop as a back-up for each session, in case you are not admitted to the Master Class. Application to a Master Class requires a non-refundable $20 processing fee, in addition to the Spring Conference registration fee. If registering for the conference online or by phone, you can pay this processing fee with a VISA, MasterCard, or Discover. If registering by mail, you must include a separate check for $20.


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Full Conference Schedule with Course Descriptions

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8:00–9:00 am Registration Open (MHRA Lobby)

8:30 am – 5:00 pm Exhibits and Book Sales Open (MHRA Lobby)

9:00 am–10:00 am Keynote Address by Jill McCorkle

10:30 am – 12:00 pm Session I

Fiction Master Class: Cracking Character: Voice, Choice, and Inner Life with Naima Coster**Closed**
Many of us turn to writing fiction because we are drawn to character. We want to create characters and claim to know them completely, and yet the most compelling characters must possess the ability to surprise even us, their creators. How do we push beyond what we know to go deeper into character? What questions should we ask ourselves besides the essential but hardly sufficient, “What does my character want?” What greater potential for story emerges once we’ve discovered more about our characters?

Our work together in this master class will focus on voice, agency, and interiority as critical elements of character development. Participants should be prepared to collaborate with classmates and generate unpolished and exploratory writing in class. The second session of the class will be devoted to workshopping participants’ submissions.

Please submit up to 1,500 sequential words from a single work, along with your current CV in a separate attachment, on the same day that you register for the conference. Submissions should be saved in a single MS Word document, using double-spaced 12-point Times New Roman font, with numbered pages, and sent as an attachment to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The title of the work and your name should appear on the submission. The sample you submit will be the work discussed in class, and accepted registrants will be asked to circulate their drafts to others in the class prior to the conference.

Each registrant should be ready to handle the intensive instruction and atmosphere of the Master Class.

Creative Nonfiction Master Class: Images, Lists & Fragments in Creative Nonfiction with Cynthia Nearman
This workshop invites writers to explore and enhance their process of working with vivid images from the earliest drafting stages to making decisions about an essay’s structure and organization. The workshop is designed to engage and invigorate participants’ approaches to the smallest yet most essential elements of nonfiction storytelling: sensory images and concrete details, objects & actions. We’ll look briefly at vivid scenes from nonfiction works published online and in print, paying careful attention to the connection between concrete details & characters’ desires, and between descriptions of actions & objects and larger meanings or ideas. We’ll also consider together how and why image-driven essays work in conventional narrative forms as well as more experimental forms (e.g., lists, lyrics, braids, etc.). Our main focus will be on what it means to imagine and create from within images as we generate & revise nonfiction prose. We’ll practice strategies for discovering and selecting images that do ‘double duty’—i.e., concrete detail & sensory information that work organically to create living, moving pictures resonant with meaning.

Please submit up to 1,500 sequential words from a single work, along with your current CV in a separate attachment, on the same day that you register for the conference. Submissions should be saved in a single MS Word document, using double-spaced 12-point Times New Roman font, with numbered pages, and sent as an attachment to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The title of the work and your name should appear on the submission. The sample you submit will be the work discussed in class, and accepted registrants will be asked to circulate their drafts to others in the class prior to the conference.

Each registrant should be ready to handle the intensive instruction and atmosphere of the Master Class.

Poetry Master Class: Walk the Line: Syntax and the Poetic Line with Emilia Phillips
We will consider the relationship between poetry's vehicles of meaning: the line and the sentence. In doing so, we'll investigate the ways in which these structures support, nuance, and deny one another to achieve resonance, depth, and subtext within a poem. This course will be generative, with exercises that rely on close reading and formal manipulation of texts, as well as the drafting of new pieces. Whether you want to learn more about what your favorite poets are doing with their poems or discover how to break lines in your own, this course will insist that poetry is a craft, honed by exercises and study.

Please submit three poems, along with your current CV in a separate attachment, on the same day that you register for the conference. Poems should be saved in a single MS Word document, using single-spaced, 12-point, Times New Roman font, and sent as an attachment to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Your name and the title of each poem should appear on the submission. Accepted registrants will also be asked to circulate their drafts to others in the class prior to the conference.

Each registrant should be ready to handle the intensive instruction and atmosphere of the Master Class.

Prose Poems with Charmaine Cadeau
Prose poetry suggests disorder from its very name, being a little of this, and a little of that. Its fluidity, folding in drama, nonfiction, fiction, and other poetries, insists on writers and readers engaged in thinking about how we read, what we read, and how it all connects. Beyond being just poems without line breaks, or narratives written by poets, prose poetry folds in conventions from other genres to push at the limits of form. In this workshop, we will look at a few models and generate some new writing.

Essentials of Scene-Crafting (fiction) with Heather Bell Adams
A good scene does a lot of heavy lifting by immersing the reader in the fictional world, introducing characters and their innermost concerns, and propelling the story forward. What essentials should we keep in mind to ensure our scenes are as powerful as possible? In this workshop, we’ll look at scenes from novels or short stories to see what makes them successful. Then we’ll engage in prompt-driven exercises to craft our own story-building blocks.

Cinematic Storytelling Techniques for All Writers with Susan Emshwiller
Whether you write novels, short stories, memoirs, poems, or plays, the tools and tricks of screenwriting can enrich your storytelling dramatically. We'll see film clips, do prompt writing, and learn tips on effective exposition, dialogue, theme, the power of reactions, creating mystery by withholding information, show-don’t-tell, how to hide setups for surprising payoffs, writing with “shot-sizes” to invigorate your work, and more.

Basic Law for Writers with Brandon Huffman
In this legal overview seminar, Brandon will discuss the fundamentals of the law of written works. Specifically, the presentation will cover basics of copyright for writers, copyright infringement, trademark, libel, slander and privacy and other content concerns. After an overview, the floor will be open to questions and the course will take an interactive approach to diving deeper into issues about which the audience has specific questions. This course is intended to leave writers with a sense of what legal issues they should consider as they begin creating their works.

12:00–1:30 pm Lunch with an Author (if pre-registered; lunch on your own if not)
Sign up to have lunch with a small group of fellow registrants and one of our conference instructors. This is a great opportunity to talk shop with an experienced writer in a relaxed, informal setting. A selection of boxed lunches and beverages will be provided to those who pre-register. Pre-registration by Sunday, April 15, is required to participate in Lunch with an Author; you will not be able to sign up on-site.

Choose from the following authors:

  • Heather Bell Adams
  • Anne Anthony
  • Charmaine Cadeau
  • Naima Coster**Closed**
  • Susan Ermshwiller
  • David Halperin
  • Brandon J. Huffman
  • Jill McCorkle**Closed**
  • Valerie Nieman
  • Emilia Phillips

1:30–2:30 pm Faculty Readings (Curry Auditorium)

2:30–4:00 pm Session II

Fiction Master Class with Naima Coster**Closed**
Continued; see above for description.

Nonfiction Master Class with Cynthia Nearman
Continued; see above for description.

Poetry Master Class: A Poem that Sings with Emilia Phillips
Continued; see above for description.

What Work Is: Poetry from Our Working Lives with Valerie Nieman
Work provides “our daily bread,” but also shapes the daily substance of our lives, whether that work takes place in the home, in the mall shop or mill, on the farm or behind a desk in a corporate tower. It is the framework for the story of our communities and ourselves. In this workshop, suitable for all writers, we will look at ways to tap into the history and culture of work to create new writing. Poetry about work will get us started, followed by a writing exercise to help stimulate memory and imagination. Participants are asked to bring photographs of a family member at work, as well as a tool or some other memento of the workplace. Handouts will provide further inspiration and resources to help writers.

Writing the Character You Know Best: The Strengths and Pitfalls of Autobiographical Fiction with David Halperin
Beginning fiction writers often start out with stories that are fictionalized versions of experiences they’ve actually had. This can give your work a compelling solidity and authenticity; it also can impose shackles from which your writing needs to be freed. In this workshop, we’ll share about our experiences writing in this way, and explore strategies for keeping the strengths without the pitfalls.

Opening Well: Strategies and Possibilities for Starting a Personal Essay with Thomas Mira y Lopez
This class will explore how to begin a personal essay or work of creative nonfiction. What makes an effective or engaging opening? What different strategies are available and how might writers work towards their own style and voice within these tropes? The class will examine examples of different openings in works of creative nonfiction before writing their own openings that reflect and develop on these openings.

How to Start Submitting with Anne Anthony
You’ve worked hard. First draft. Edits. Reviews. More edits. Second and third and more-than-you-can-count drafts. You’re ready to publish your short stories, flash fiction, non-fiction essays or poems. Now all you have left to do is submit your work to journals or magazines. Simple, right? In today’s ever-changing publication landscape, figuring out where and how to send your work can be confusing and overwhelming. This workshop covers the submissions process from beginning to end with the overall goal towards publication.

You will learn:

  • How to research markets to find the right journal for your poems and prose.
  • How to submit your work to publications using Submittable.
  • How to track your submissions using Duotrope.
  • How to consider alternative markets like Medium or other writing platforms.
  • How to interpret rejection responses received from editors.

This workshop is for writers new to the submissions process or more seasoned writers who want to learn more about online tools. Note: This workshop does not cover submissions to agents or publishers for novels or other longer form fiction or nonfiction.

4:00–5:00 pm Open Mic (MHRA 1214 and 1215)
Sign up at the conference registration table if you would like to share your work. Only twenty-four reading slots, of five minutes each, will be available, first-come, first-served.

5:00–6:00 pm Slush Pile Live!
The fourth annual Slush Pile Live! will offer both poetry and prose in two rooms so that more attendees have a chance to receive feedback on their writing. Have you ever wondered what goes through an editor's mind as he or she reads through a stack of unsolicited submissions? Here's your chance to find out.

Beginning at 4:00 pm, attendees may drop off either 300 words of prose or one page of poetry in the room of their choice (prose and poetry will be read in both MHRA rooms 1214 and 1215). The author’s name should not appear on the manuscript.

Then, at 5:00 pm, a panel of editors will listen to the submissions being read out loud and raise their hand when they hear something that would make them stop reading if the piece were being submitted to their publication. The editors will discuss what they did and did not like about the sample, offering constructive feedback on the manuscript itself and the submission process. All anonymous—all live! (Authors can reveal themselves at the end, but only if they want to.)

Those interested in having their anonymous submission read should bring a hard copy of up to 300 words of prose from a single work or one page of poetry (40-line max) to one of the Slush Pile Live! rooms. Submissions should be double-spaced, 12-point, Times New Roman font. No names should appear on the submissions.


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Faculty Biographies

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Spring Conference Faculty

Heather Bell Adams is the author of Maranatha Road (Vandalia Press, 2017). Her short fiction appears in The Thomas Wolfe Review, Pembroke Magazine, The Petigru Review, Clapboard House, Broad River Review, and elsewhere. Winner of the James Still Fiction Prize and the Carrie McCray Literary Award, Heather lives in Raleigh, where she practices law.

Anne Anthony lives in North Carolina and works as a full-time writer. She holds a Masters in Social Work from the University of Maryland and a Masters in Professional Writing from Carnegie Mellon University. She’s been published in the North Carolina Literary Review, Dead Mule School for Southern Literature, Poetry South, Tell Us a Story, The Mused Literary Review, and elsewhere. In 2017, she was a cast member in the farewell performance of the Raleigh-Durham show Listen to Your Mother, in which she read her essay “In My Bones.” Her flash fiction, “Bathroom Break,” placed third in a Brilliant Flash Fiction themed contest. She is the co-editor of an anthology of flash fiction intended for readers with memory impairments, The Collection: Flash Fiction for Flash Memory (March, 2018). Visit the author at http://anneanthony.weebly.com.

Charmaine Cadeau grew up in Toronto, Ontario. She earned her MA at the University of New Brunswick, and her Ph.D at the University at Albany (SUNY). Her collections of poetry include What you used to wear (Goose Lane Editions) and Placeholder (Brick Books). Placeholder received the ReLit Award and the Brockman-Campbell Award. She is an Associate Professor of English at High Point University, where she edits Apogee Magazine and co-directs the Community Writing Center, an organization that builds the love of learning through creative writing. She now resides in Winston-Salem.

Naima Coster
is the author of Halsey Street, a story of family, loss, and renewal, set in a rapidly gentrifying Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Arts & Letters, Catapult, The Rumpus, Aster(ix), A Practical Wedding, Guernica, and has been anthologized in The Best of Kweli and This Is the Place: Women Writing About Home. Naima is the recipient of numerous awards, most recently the 2017 Cosmonauts Avenue Nonfiction Prize, judged by Roxane Gay. Naima studied creative writing at Yale, Fordham University, and Columbia University, where she earned her MFA. She is a teacher of writing and has worked with students in prisons, youth programs, and universities. She currently teaches at Wake Forest University and is a Senior Fiction Editor at Kweli. Naima tweets about literature, culture, and justice as @zafatista. She also writes a newsletter, Bloom How Must.

Susan Emshwiller is a produced screenwriter (co-writer of the film Pollock), filmmaker, published playwright, and short-story writer. For years her “day job” was as a set decorator, often working with Robert Altman (she was a featured actress in The Player). Publications include plays at Dramatists Play Service and Playscripts, short stories at Furious Gazelle, Independent Ink Magazine, Gone Lawn, Anchala Studios Anthology, Black Heart Magazine, and Smoky Blue Literary and Arts Magazine. She lives in Durham and teaches screenwriting at North Carolina State University. Website: http://www.susanemshwiller.com.

David Halperin is the author of Journal of a UFO Investigator: A Novel (Viking Press, 2011) and five nonfiction books on Jewish messianism and mysticism. Formerly a professor of religious studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he lives in Durham with his wife Rose and continues to write both fiction and nonfiction. He blogs on religion and mythology—particularly the intricate, powerful, often profound modern myth of the UFO—at www.davidhalperin.net.

Brandon J. Huffman is the founding attorney at Odin Law and Media, a law firm dedicated to helping creative clients in traditional, digital, and interactive media and entertainment industries with their legal issues. Brandon has assisted individual authors with agency agreements, publishing contracts, subsidiary rights licenses, and content review. He also works with bloggers, PR/advertising professionals, and influencers. He serves on the board of Triangle ArtWorks, a non-profit dedicated to building the arts economy of the Triangle, and chairs its lawyers outreach program. He is treasurer of the North Carolina Bar Association’s Sports and Entertainment Law Section, engagement editor for the American Bar Association’s Business Law Today, and general counsel to the International Game Developers Association.

Jill McCorkle has the distinction of having her first two novels published on the same day in 1984. Since then she has published four other novels and four collections of short stories. Five of her books have been named New York Times notable books, while three of her stories have appeared in Best American Short Stories anthologies. McCorkle has received the New England Booksellers Award, the John Dos Passos Prize for Excellence in Literature, and the North Carolina Award for Literature. She is a member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers. McCorkle has taught at UNC-Chapel Hill, Tufts, and Brandeis, where she was the Fannie Hurst Visiting Writer. She was a Briggs-Copeland Lecturer in Fiction at Harvard for five years where she also chaired Creative Writing. She currently teaches creative writing in the MFA Program at NC State University and is a core faculty member of the Bennington College Writing Seminars. A native of Lumberton, she lives with her husband, photographer Tom Rankin, in Hillsborough.

Thomas Mira y Lopez is the author of The Book of Resting Places (Counterpoint, 2017). His work has appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, The American Scholar, and The Georgia Review, among others, and he has received fellowships from The MacDowell Colony and Colgate University’s Olive B. O’Connor Fellowship. He is the 2017-2018 Kenan Visiting Writer at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Cynthia Nearman is chair of the Department of English and Creative Writing at Guilford College in Greensboro. Since 2009, she’s served as creative nonfiction editor for storySouth. She writes flash nonfiction, cultural commentary (rants, really), and experiments with lyric essays that sometimes turn into poems or works of speculative fiction.

Valerie Nieman’s second poetry collection, Hotel Worthy (2015), had work nominated for the Pushcart Prize and cited in Best Small Fictions 2016. Her awards include the Greg Grummer, Nazim Hikmet, and Byron Herbert Reece poetry prizes, and her work has been selected for several anthologies including Eyes Burning at the Edge of the Woods: Fiction and Poetry from West Virginia and Ghost Fishing: An Eco-Justice Poetry Anthology, forthcoming from University of Georgia Press. Her poetry recently was published in Ireland and translated into Greek. She has held fellowships from the North Carolina Arts Council, the NEA, the West Virginia Commission on the Arts and Humanities, and the Kentucky Foundation for Women.

Nieman is the author of three novels, the most recent being Blood Clay, which won the Eric Hoffer Prize. She also has a collection of short stories and co-authored a history of North Carolina A&T State University, where she teaches creative writing. She graduated from West Virginia University and Queens University of Charlotte and was a founding editor of two literary magazines, Prime Number and Kestrel. Her work life includes time as a dog sitter, cleaner, factory worker, doughnut maker, waitress, public relations writer, bait shop assistant, small farmer, reporter, editor, and college professor.

Emilia Phillips is the author of two poetry collections from the University of Akron Press, Signaletics (2013) and Groundspeed (2016), and three chapbooks, most recently Beneath the Ice Fish Like Souls Look Alike (Bull City Press, 2015). Her poems and lyric essays appear widely in literary publications including AGNI, Boston Review, Ploughshares, Poetry, and elsewhere. She’s an assistant professor in the MFA Writing Program and the Department of English at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Her third book, Empty Clip, will be published by the University of Akron Press in Spring, 2018.



The 2018 Spring Conference is made possible with support from The MFA in Creative Writing Department at UNC-Greensboro and the North Carolina Arts Council.

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