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NC Literary Hall of Fame




CHARLOTTE—Registration is now open for the North Carolina Writers' Network 2016 Squire Summer Writing Residency, June 23-26, at Queens University of Charlotte.

The Squire Summer Writing Residency offers an intensive course in a chosen genre (fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry), with ten hour-and-a-half sessions over the four days of the program. Registrants work in-depth on their own manuscript samples, as well as their colleagues’, while also studying the principles of the genre with their instructor. Other features include faculty readings, panel discussions, and open mic sessions for residents.

Pulitzer-Prize nominated poet Morri Creech will lead the Poetry workshop. Sarah Creech, author of the novel Season of the Dragonflies—a SIBA OKRA pick for the summer of 2014—will lead the Fiction Workshop. The Charles A. Dana Professor of English at Davidson College, Cynthia Lewis, will lead the Creative Nonfiction workshop.

For the poetry tract, the focus will be on form, which, rather than proving to be a constraint, for many poets helps to generate content, provide a sense of discovery, and liberate the poetic imagination. In this workshop, registrants will analyze poets who compose in a variety of forms, reading published formal poets, and writing original poems using formal techniques—as well as workshopping poems by students in the class. Participants will focus primarily on blank verse, sonnets, villanelles, and triolets. Students will workshop at least one of their submitted poems in class, in addition to generating new material.

In Sarah Creech’s fiction workshop, attendees will begin with the advice given by Elena Ferrante's protagonist in the brilliant “Neapolitan Novels.” The protagonist, who is also named Elena, tells the reader that great writing has three key components: sincerity, naturalness, and mystery.

Students will let this advice guide their discussions as they focus on the most important techniques of fiction (character, conflict, yearning, setting, structure, and language). They will read aloud from professional short stories, and they will write together and share creative exercises that highlight the techniques of fiction they’ve discussed during workshop. They will also workshop short fiction submissions.

In the Creative Nonfiction workshop, led by Cynthia Lewis, conferencegoers will focus on a variety of narrative forms and approaches for use in creative nonfiction. What are the challenges of a sustained narrative and how can they be met? What are some of the ways in which briefer stories—anecdotes or summaries—can enliven and give immediacy to nonfiction? What considerations attend the construction of plot? As a starting point and a bit of common ground, Cynthia will ask everyone in the workshop to do some minimal reading from Keep It Real, by Lee Gutkind and others.

For more information, including full faculty bios and registration details, click here.

The non-profit 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, and to register, visit www.ncwriters.org.


GREENVILLE—The North Carolina Literary Review received a record number of submissions for the 2016 Doris Betts Fiction Prize competition, sponsored by the North Carolina Writers’ Network, the state’s oldest and largest literary arts services organization devoted to writers at all stages of development. "The Anderson Kid" by Anita Collins has been selected for the $250 prize, and “Rhino Girl” by Taylor Brown won Second Place. Both stories will be published in the North Carolina Literary Review in 2017.

Collins lives in Chapel Hill with her husband and two children. The daughter of an Air Force sergeant, she lived in Utah, the Netherlands, Germany, and Florida before her family settled in Tennessee when she was eight. She has a degree in English from Vanderbilt University and works for the University of North Carolina as a Change Management Senior Analyst in the ITS Department. She began writing fiction a few years ago, and this is her first time submitting to the Betts competition. Her winning story will also be her first publication.

Brown was a finalist in the 2014 Doris Betts Fiction Prize competition, and his story “World Without End” was published in NCLR Online 2015. He was raised in Georgia, graduated from the University of Georgia, and now lives in Wilmington. He is founder and editor-in-chief of BikeBound, a website for custom motorcycle enthusiasts. His debut novel Fallen Land was published by St. Martin’s earlier this year.

NCLR Fiction Editor Liza Wieland selected these two stories from twenty finalists, saying of the winning story, “I admire ‘The Anderson Kid’ for its clean and emotionally honest writing. The narrator, a diver who is working to find the body of a drowned swimmer, is both moved by his task and thoroughly businesslike. It’s this mix of compassion and focus that drew me to this story, and to the way the writer creates suspense even though we know what he will find. Through the lens of the diver’s work, literally through his mask, we see the family and friends of Evan Anderson, as well as the rest of the dive team. We become the diver; we experience his absolute need to see, even though we are terrified by what we will find.”

The second-place story also includes a “tough and compassionate” character, according to Wieland, who calls “Rhino Girl” “a real achievement, a story that explores a cause but does not sacrifice character for politics. In lush, evocative language (and in less than twenty pages), the writer accomplishes the depth and breadth of a novel, mixing present and past, dreams and vivid reality, danger, suspense, and the complications of love and lust. Malaya, a Filipino raised in America and an Iraq veteran, is on the trail of men poaching rhino horns in a starkly beautiful Mozambique. She is deeply compelling, part Lizbeth Salander, but mostly a thoroughly original creature.”

A record 185 stories were submitted to this year’s competition, “That’s 20 percent more than last year, about 50 percent more than the preceding several years,” reports NCLR Editor Margaret Bauer, who attributes the increase to “the networking skills of the North Carolina Writers’ Network.” She adds, “Receiving regular announcements about opportunities for writers is just one of the many benefits of membership. We are proud to be affiliated with the Network and happy to manage this competition for them. We have gotten the majority of the fiction published in our pages through this competition since 2006.”

The other finalists are Phil Bowie of New Bern for “Pocket Dream,” Tess Boyle of Burlington for “Manzanar and The Coincidences,” Mason Boyles of Carolina Beach for “Aid Station,” Sheryl Cornett of Chapel Hill for “Summer Solstice,” Kathryn Etters Lovatt of Camden for “Hatchlings,” Anne Felty of Davis for “Relics,” Paul Kurzeja of Charlotte for “To Relieve the Pain,” Vicki Lane of Marshall for “On the Coast of You Are Here,” Monica (Nikki) Leahy of Charlotte for “Making Beds,” Ray Morrison of Winston-Salem for “Return to Harmony,” Stephany Newberry-Davis of Biltmore Lake for “The Seahorse,” Rayford Norman of Fancy Gap for “Sea Change,” Brian Ownbey of Raleigh for “Lucky,” Patricia Poteat of Asheville for “Swimming Lessons,” Sherry Shaw of Gastonia for “Hyacinth Drive,” Denise Sherman of Raleigh for “The Circle is Unbroken”, and Chris Verner of Salisbury for “White Christmas.”

Fiction Editor Liza Wieland is the author of three collections of short stories and four novels, the most recent one, Land of Enchantment, published in 2015. The annual Doris Betts Fiction Prize honors the late novelist and short story writer Doris Betts. For additional information about the North Carolina Writers’ Network, visit www.ncwriters.org.

Published since 1992 by East Carolina University and the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association, the North Carolina Literary Review is publishing its twenty-fifth print issue this summer.

A two-year subscription to NCLR will include the 2016 issue, featuring the winner from the 2015 Betts competition, as well as the 2017 issue, featuring the winning story from this year’s competition. For more information, go to http://www.nclr.ecu.edu and click on SUBSCRIPTIONS.


GREENSBORO—If you missed pre-registration for the North Carolina Writers' Network 2016 Spring Conference, attendees can register on-site Saturday, April 23, beginning at 8:00 am in the lobby of the Moore Humanities and Research Administration Building on the UNCG campus.

Spring Conference offers a full day of instruction and camaraderie including small classes led by top writing faculty in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, writing for tweens, building your career, and the Facebook Advantage. Other features include faculty readings, publisher exhibits, Slush Pile Live!, and an open mic for conference participants.

Michael Parker will give the Keynote Address. Michael is the author of six novels, including All I Have in This World, and two collections of short stories. He has received fellowships in fiction from the North Carolina Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as the North Carolina Award for Literature. A graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill and the University of Virginia, he is the Vacc Distinguished Professor in the MFA Writing Program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and since 2009 has been on the faculty of the Warren Wilson Program for Writers.

Slush Pile Live! returns for its second year, with one important change: 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.

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. As many submissions as the panelists can get to in an hour, that's how many they'll read: all anonymous—all live! Authors can reveal themselves at the end, to thunderous applause, befitting their bravery, but only if they want to.

The Open Mic is first-come, first served (sign up at the registration table).

For details on the exhibitors who'll be waiting to chat with you, click here, here, and here.

The NCWN 2016 Spring Conference is sponsored in part by the Greensboro News & Record; WFDD 88.5 FM: Public Radio for the Piedmont; and UNCG’s Creative Writing Program, which will provide free parking 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). For directions, click here.

The non-profit 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, and to register, visit www.ncwriters.org.


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