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2016 SPRING CONFERENCE

Sponsored by the Greensboro News & Record, 88.5 WFDD: Public Radio for the Piedmont, and the MFA Program in Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro

MHRA Building (Corner of Spring Garden and Forest Streets)
University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Saturday, April 23, 2016

 

The North Carolina Writers' Network and the Creative Writing Program at UNC Greensboro bring you a full day of Master Classes, breakout sessions, 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 the Curry Auditorium next door, offering classes 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 a Registration Form**Pre-Registration is now closed. On-site registration opens 4/23**

FEES AND LOGISTICS | SCHEDULE-AT-A-GLANCE | MASTER CLASS | FULL CONFERENCE SCHEDULE WITH COURSES | FACULTY BIOGRAPHIES


Fees and Logistics

Register Online | Download a Registration Form**Pre-Registration is now closed. On-site registration opens 4/23**

Early registration ends Sunday, April 17. 

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

Scholarships

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..

Cancellations

Cancellations must be made in writing and arrive at the Network office (via USPS or e-mail) by 4:00 pm, Friday, April 15, 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 15 or for no-shows.

Venue and Parking

The 2016 Spring Conference will be held in the Moore Humanities & Research Administration (MHRA) Building on the UNCG campus, 1111 Spring Garden Street, Greensboro, NC, 27403, and in the Curry Auditorium next door.

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). Parking is free for conference registrants, courtesy of The Greensboro Review.

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

Accommodations in Greensboro can be found through the Greensboro Convention & Visitors Bureau, http://www.visitgreensboronc.com.

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, March 28. 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.

E-Packets

In an effort to save money, time, and resources, the Network will send to all 2016 Spring Conference registrants, exhibitors, and faculty an E-Packet prior to April 23. 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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Schedule-at-a-Glance

Register Online | Download a Registration Form**Pre-Registration is now closed. On-site registration opens 4/23**

Saturday, April 23
8:00-9:00am Registration
8:30 am - 5:00 pm Exhibit Tables and Book Sales Open
9:00 am - 10:00 am Keynote Address by Michael Parker
10:30 am - 12:00 pm

Session I

  • Fiction Master Class: Make a Scene: Learn How to Use the Emotional Building Blocks of Fiction with Quinn Dalton**Closed**
  • Nonfiction Master Class: Tension in Your Prose with Jim Minick **Closed**
  • Poetry Master Class with Jennifer Whitaker**Closed**
  • Not Set in Stone: The Importance of Place in Fiction with Travis Mulhauser
  • The Ars Poetica: Developing a Personal Vision with Vievee Francis
  • True Character: Crafting Portraits in Creative Nonfiction with Mylène Dressler
  • Getting the Word Out: Marketing Your Book on Your Own or with Your Publisher with Lauren Moseley
12:00-1:30pm Lunch with an Author (or lunch on your own)
1:30-2:30 pm Faculty Readings
2:30-4:00 pm

Session II

  • Fiction Master Class: Make a Scene: Learn How to Use the Emotional Building Blocks of Fiction with (Con't) with Quinn Dalton**Closed**
  • Nonfiction Master Class: Tension in Your Prose with (Con't) with Jim Minick **Closed**
  • Poetry Master Class (Con't) with Jennifer Whitaker**Closed**
  • Writing the Autobiographical Moment in Poetry with Matthew Olzmann
  • Make Something of Nothing (Fiction) with Greg Shemkovitz**Closed**
  • Tween Fiction: Writing Against the Current with Bonnie J. Doerr
  • The Facebook Advantage with Karen M. Alley
4:00-5:00pm

Open Mic Readings - Sign up at registration table

5:00-6:00pm

Slush Pile Live!

 

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Master Class

Register Online | Download a Registration Form**Pre-Registration is now closed. On-site registration opens 4/23**

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 14 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 8.

Please submit your current CV, along with the required manuscript (see each Master Class’ 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 same 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 4 p.m., Friday, April 8.

When you register for the Spring Conference, if applying for a Master Class, please choose another class 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

Register Online | Download a Registration Form**Pre-Registration is now closed. On-site registration opens 4/23**

8:00–9:00 am Registration

8:30 am – 5:00 pm Exhibits & Book Sales Open

9:00 am–10:00 am Keynote Address by Michael Parker

10:30 am – 12:00 pm Session I

Fiction Master Class: Make a Scene: Learn How to Use the Emotional Building Blocks of Fiction with Quinn Dalton**Closed**
What is a scene? What should scenes do—and not do? How do you get into and out of them? How do you assess whether a scene is doing the work you want it to do for the story? Through exercises, prompts and discussion, you’ll learn to create scenes that propel your stories and keep your readers engaged until the final line. Then we’ll apply this perspective to your own in-progress work.

Please submit up to 1,500 words from a single work, along with your current CV, when you register for the Spring Conference, and no later than April 8. Submitted work 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 and your name should appear on the submission. CVs should be sent as a separate attachment. 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.

Nonfiction Master Class: Tension in Your Prose with Jim Minick **Closed**
Tension causes headaches and family breakups, yet without it, your prose is dead. This workshop will focus on revision—from word choice and sentence rhythm to scene selection and character creation—to analyze how best to create tension that pulls readers in and keeps them reading. We’ll read a few masters and spend most of our time with each other’s drafts, figuring out what to cut and what to keep as we work toward creating art.

Please submit up to 1,500 words from a single work, along with your current CV, when you register for the Spring Conference, and no later than April 8. Submitted work 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 and your name should appear on the submission. CVs should be sent as a separate attachment. 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.

Poetry Master Class with Jennifer Whitaker**Closed**
In Margaret Atwood's The Blind Assassin, she writes: "Perhaps I write for no one. Perhaps for the same person children are writing for when they scrawl their names in the snow." Central to this workshop will be questions of audience, intention, and craft. Of course, the poet's intention matters insomuch as it is played out on the page, so our discussion will aim to focus (in part) on poetic form: How is the poem built? What is its strength? Is it most interesting for its tone, diction, metaphor, shape, narrative, movement? What makes a poem successful and memorable?

Please submit three poems, along with your current CV, when you register for the Spring Conference, and no later than April 8. 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. CVs should be sent as a separate attachment. 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.

Not Set in Stone: The Importance of Place in Fiction with Travis Mulhauser
This will be a focused discussion on the craft of setting your fiction—particularly, the importance of place. A critical, often overlooked element of our stories, setting too often stands flat—like bad background props in a low budget play. Setting can be the soil your story grows from, but it can also move fluidly through the narrative and impact our stories on every level—ultimately creating a multi-dimensional, immersive experience for the reader. And perhaps most importantly, a fully rendered place can often be the key to the universal in our fiction.

This workshop will look at contemporary master works, incorporate student questions and input, and talk about specific strategies for creating vibrant, realized “places.”

The Ars Poetica: Developing a Personal Vision with Vievee Francis
At some point we have all written a poem on writing poems. Sometimes such poems are written simply to explore or expose our own processes as we write, or to vent our frustrations over the challenges of writing poetry. The poem is made as much by the way we think (about poetry and at large) as how well we negotiate craft. We will do a writing exercise and take a close look at various examples of the ars poetica. Further, we will discuss how we might ultimately develop and articulate a larger aim, cultivating our attitudes, concepts and the contextualization of our work “twig by twig” (as Archibald MacLeish wryly notes in his poem, "Ars Poetica") toward a comprehensive personal vision.

True Character: Crafting Portraits in Creative Nonfiction with Mylène Dressler
In this active workshop, we'll explore how to vividly portray the reality of others in our nonfiction. We'll study both traditional and lyric models, drawing on examples as we craft our own portraits and experiments. Writers at any level of experience with creative nonfiction are welcome. If you have questions about this workshop, or would like to contact your workshop leader, visit www.mylenedressler.com.

Getting the Word Out: Marketing Your Book on Your Own or with Your Publisher with Lauren Moseley
Whether you have self-published a book or signed a contract with a Big Five publisher, there’s much you can do to market your own work, and it’s never too early or too late to get started. Join the Marketing Manager of Algonquin Books for an in-depth course on what you can do to bring your book to a wider audience, from one year before your book’s publication date to well after its release. We’ll discuss examples from successful campaigns for books currently in the marketplace and tips that have proven effective for a variety of authors and genres. The final part of the course will focus on advice for how to best work with a publisher on a marketing campaign, practical dos and don’ts, and a Q&A session. Please come with questions!

12:00–1:30 pm Lunch with an Author (or lunch on your own)
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.
Pre-registration is required to participate in Lunch with an Author; you will not be able to sign up on-site.

1:30–2:30 pm Faculty Readings

2:30–4:00 pm Session II

Fiction Master Class: Make a Scene: Learn How to Use the Emotional Building Blocks of Fiction with Quinn Dalton**Closed**
Continued; see above for description.

Nonfiction Master Class: Tension in Your Prose with Jim Minick**Closed**
Continued; see above for description.

Poetry Master Class with Jennifer Whitaker**Closed**
Continued; see above for description.

Writing the Autobiographical Moment in Poetry with Matthew Olzmann
Dinty W. Moore says, “It is not what happens to us in our lives that makes us into writers; it is what we make out of what happens to us.” This class will examine how the autobiographical moment is most effectively presented in poetry and how that moment can be expanded to transform the speaker’s private experience into a personal experience for the reader as well. Through close readings of several poems, we’ll discuss successful strategies, and consider how those same strategies can be applied to our own writing. This will be a generative workshop. We’ll be writing in class with the goal of producing drafts for at least two new poems.

Make Something of Nothing with Greg Shemkovitz**Closed**
This workshop will look at how writers can enhance a narrative by bringing gravity to the ordinary. By letting the concrete bear the weight of the abstract—whether through symbolism, metaphor, simile, or even through gesture—a simple narrative moment can take on a whole new layer of tension. We will look at how to identify existing unutilized objects in a scene and how to complicate a moment by giving attention to an otherwise overlooked element, always in the hopes of bringing depth to the narrative and enhancing the emotions we feel for these characters. Workshop attendees will participate in short writing activities and should be prepared with a pen or pencil.

Tween Fiction: Writing Against the Current with Bonnie J. Doerr
Thinking of writing for young readers who are not quite ready for edgy books? Want to try something other than the current trends of dark fantasy, science fiction, post apocalyptic, dystopian, and the like? To get books into the hands of 10–14 year-old (tween) readers it helps to hook the gatekeepers. Rather than discussing techniques of the craft itself, this session will inspire ways to do just that with realistic fiction. How can you draw librarians, teachers, and parents to your work? Offer them practical applications of your fiction’s components. This workshop will present specific examples of such applications. Examples include activities to enhance a variety of subjects in any school’s curricula; to enliven a reading/signing event; as well as those that entertain, inform, engage, and encourage audience interaction during school visits and presentations. Though these examples concentrate on realistic fiction, the concepts can be applied to all genres. Time will be devoted to discussion and sharing ideas.

The Facebook Advantage with Karen M. Alley
In this day and age, if you are a published author, a writer hoping to be published one day, or someone just looking for an audience for your writing, you can’t deny the power of Facebook and other social media. These platforms serve as a way to build relationships and expand your audience. In this course we will talk about the growing importance of Facebook and other social media sites such as Pinterest and Twitter in the publishing sphere, how they benefit writers, how best to use them to build your own relationships with your readers, and how to increase followers.

4:00–5:00 pm Open Mic
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 second 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

Register Online | Download a Registration Form**Pre-Registration is now closed. On-site registration opens 4/23**

 

Spring Conference Faculty

Karen M. Alley is a freelance writer and editor who has been working in the publishing industry for about twenty years. In that time she has served as editor of the IGA Grocergram, editor of Carolina Gardener Magazine, and web editor for Piedmont Parent. Her varied background has given her the chance to gain experience in everything from building a social network to editing a wide range of writing, both fiction and nonfiction. Her own work has been published in O’Henry magazine, Charlotte and Carolina Parent magazines, and various business publications.
Quinn Dalton is the author of a novel, High Strung, and two story collections, Bulletproof Girl and Stories from the Afterlife. Stories, essays, and articles on publishing and the writing craft have appeared in literary and commercial publications such as Glimmer Train, One Story, Poets & Writers, Mediabistro.com, and New Stories from the South: The Year’s Best. Midnight Bowling, a novel, is forthcoming from Carolina Wren Press in March. The Infinity of You & Me, a novel co-written with the novelist and poet Julianna Baggott under the pen name J.Q. Coyle, is forthcoming from Harper Collins in the fall of 2016.
Bonnie J. Doerr, an educator, gardener, and wildlife enthusiast, is the author of eco-mystery novels for tweens. Her work, which features endangered or threatened wildlife and the real-life heroes who rescue, rehab, and release them, has been described as a “mashup of Jean Craighead George and Carl Hiaasen” by some and as a “teen detective series inspired by Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, and Lassie” by others. Island Sting (Leap Books 2010) won the 2011 EPIC Children’s eBook award, and Stake Out (Leap Books 2011) was a 2012 Green Earth YA Book Award finalist. Third in the series, Tangled Lines, is scheduled for release summer of 2016. Visit the author at http://bonniedoerrbooks.com.
Mylène Dressler work has been praised by the New York Times as “splendid” and by Library Journal as the writing of a “natural-born storyteller.” She is the critically-acclaimed author of books including The Wedding of Anna F., The Medusa Tree, The Deadwood Beetle, and The Floodmakers, and her stories and nonfiction have appeared in the Kenyon Review, Creative Nonfiction, and The Massachusetts Review, among others. She has been a faculty member or a visiting writer at the University of Texas at Austin, the National Autonomous University of Chiapas, Rice University, and the University of St. Thomas. Her honors include the Fulbright Fellowship and the Paisano Fellowship in Literature as well as writing residencies at Hedgebrook and the Carson McCullers Center. She is the current director of the Sherwood Anderson Creative Writing Program at Guilford College, where she teaches fiction and creative nonfiction.
Vievee Francis is the author of three books of poetry, Blue-Tail Fly (Wayne State University Press, 2006), Horse in the Dark (winner of the Cave Canem Northwestern University Press Second Book Prize), and the recently released Forest Primeval (Northwestern University Press), which has been long listed for the PEN Open Book Award. She is the recipient of the Rona Jaffe Prize and a Kresge Fellowship. Her work has appeared in numerous publications including Best American Poetry (2010, 2014), Poetry Magazine, and Angles of Ascent: A Norton Anthology of Contemporary African American Poetry, among others. She is currently an Associate Editor for Callaloo and a Visiting Poet at North Carolina State University.
Jim Minick is the author of four books, the most recent, The Blueberry Years, a memoir that won the Best Nonfiction Book of the Year from Southern Independent Booksellers Association. His novel, Fire Is Your Water, is due out in 2017. His work has appeared in many publications including Oxford American, Shenandoah, Orion, San Francisco Chronicle, and The Sun. Currently, he is Assistant Professor at Augusta University and Core Faculty in Converse College’s low-residency MFA program.
Lauren Moseley is the Marketing Manager at Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, which has been publishing literary fiction and nonfiction since 1983. She has worked on campaigns for scores of books since joining Algonquin in 2011, including regional, national, and New York Times bestsellers. Lauren received an MFA from UNCG in 2008 and continues to write and publish poetry. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Copper Nickel, Pleiades, Narrative magazine, BOAAT, Mississippi Review, the anthologies Best New Poets and Women Write Resistance, and elsewhere. She has been a recipient of an artist’s grant from the Money for Women/Barbara Deming Memorial Fund and a fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She lives in Durham.
Travis Mulhauser is from Petoskey, Michigan. He is the author of two works of fiction, most recently the novel Sweetgirl from Ecco/Harper Collins. He lives in Durham with his wife and two children.
Matthew Olzmann is the author of two collections of poems: Mezzanines (Alice James Books, 2013) and Contradictions in the Design, which is forthcoming from Alice James Books in November, 2016. He’s received scholarships and fellowships from Kundiman, the Kresge Arts Foundation and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. His poems, stories, and essays have appeared in Kenyon Review, New England Review, Necessary Fiction, Brevity, Southern Review and elsewhere. He’s currently the 2015-16 Kenan Visiting Writer at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Michael Parker is the author of six novels—Hello Down There, Towns Without Rivers, Virginia Lovers, If You Want Me To Stay, The Watery Part of the World, All I Have In This World—and two collections of stories, The Geographical Cure and Don’t Make Me Stop Now. His short fiction and nonfiction have appeared in various journals including Five Points, the Georgia Review, The Southwest Review, Epoch, the Washington Post, The New York Times Magazine, Oxford American, Shenandoah, The Black Warrior Review, Trail Runner, Runner’s World, and Men's Journal. He has received fellowships in fiction from the North Carolina Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as the Hobson Award for Arts and Letters, and the North Carolina Award for Literature. His work has been anthologized in the Pushcart, New Stories from the South, and O. Henry Prize Stories anthologies. 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. He lives in Greensboro, North Carolina and Austin, Texas..
Greg Shemkovitz lives in North Carolina and teaches writing and literature at Elon University. He holds an MFA from UNC-Greensboro. His fiction has appeared in Foundling Review, Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, Prick of the Spindle, and elsewhere. His debut novel, Lot Boy (Sunnyoutside Press 2015) was a finalist for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award: www.gregshemkovitz.wordpress.com.
Jennifer Whitaker is the author of The Blue Hour, winner of the Brittingham Prize and forthcoming from the University of Wisconsin Press in 2016. Her poems have appeared in journals including Radar Poetry, New England Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, and Four Way Review. Originally from Midlothian, Virginia, Jennifer earned her MFA from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She is an assistant poetry editor at storySouth. She currently lives in Greensboro, where she is Director of the University Writing Center at UNCG.

 


 

The 2016 Spring Conference is made possible with support from the Creative Writing Department at UNC-Greensboro, 88.5 WFDD Public Radio, the Greensboro News & Record, and the North Carolina Arts Council.


UNC GreensboroNC Arts Council

                     

 

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