CHARLOTTE—The North Carolina Writers’ Network 2018 Fall Conference, November 2-4 at the Hilton Charlotte University Place, will deliver more programs for more types of writers than ever before.
For the first time, Fall Conference will offer a full slate of sessions designed specifically for writers of stage and screen. In addition, as part of the Network’s ongoing mission to serve writers at all levels of experience, the Charlotte Center for the Literary Arts will sponsor a “Business of Writing” track at Fall Conference for those who feel ready to take their manuscripts to market. And, because of the Hilton’s convenient location, getting to (and parking!) at a Fall Conference in the Charlotte Metro area has never been easier.
Registration is open at www.ncwriters.org.
Randall Kenan, a 2018 inductee to the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame, will give the Keynote Address.
Kenan is the author of the novel A Visitation of Spirits; two works of nonfiction, Walking on Water: Black American Lives at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century and The Fire This Time; and a collection of stories, Let the Dead Bury Their Dead. He edited and wrote the introduction for The Cross of Redemption: The Uncollected Writings of James Baldwin. Among his awards are a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Mrs. Giles Whiting Award, the North Carolina Award for Literature, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters’ Rome Prize. He is a Professor of English and Comparative Literature at UNC-Chapel Hill.
Randall also will lead the Master Class in Fiction, “The Gothic Imagination and Good Fiction,” which will examine Gothic literature as a cornerstone of the Western literary tradition, and its significant impact in forming the American literary tradition.
On Saturday night, the annual Network Banquet will feature an abbreviated production of the play Native by Ian Finley. Native explores the true story of the collaboration between NC native and Pulitzer-winning playwright Paul Green and Native Son author Richard Wright, as they attempt to co-write the 1941 stage adaptation of Wright’s novel. The play highlights discussions between Green and Wright about the realities of systemic racism in America. Finley is the 2012 Piedmont Laureate and the Head of Drama at Research Triangle High School in Durham.
Sessions designed for writers of stage and screen include “Dramatic Structure, or The Story of My Tattoo” with Finley; “Creating Diverse Characters for the Stage, Page, and Screen” with fiction writer, playwright, and screenwriter Paula Martinac; and “From the Page to the Stage” with playwright and television script writer Robert Inman.
Along with an increased presence of programming for playwrights and screenwriters, the North Carolina Writers’ Network will offer the Elliott Bowles Screenwriters Scholarship, which will provide conference registration and two nights’ accommodation for up to four North Carolina-based aspiring screenwriters.
Additional program offerings include Saturday morning’s “All Stories Connect” panel discussion “Does Place Still Matter?” and the Saturday luncheon featuring the winner of the Linda Flowers Literary Award, sponsored by the NC Humanities Council.
Sunday morning will once again feature the popular Brilliant at Breakfast panel discussion “Agents and Editors,” with Kaitlyn Johnson of Corvisiero Literary Agency, Nikki Terpilowski of Holloway Literary, Betsy Thorpe of Betsy Thorpe Literary, and Joanna Volpe of New Leaf Literary & Media.
The Master Class in Creative Nonfiction will be led by Judy Goldman, whose memoir, Together: Memoir of a Marriage and a Medical Mishap, will be published by Nan A. Talese/Doubleday in February, 2019. “How to Get the Words on the Page to Match the Fabulous Vision You Have in Your Head” will focus on structure, pacing, building potent sentences, dialogue strategies, scene vs. summary, and use of reflection to improve the participants’ manuscripts. Judy has received the Hobson Award for Distinguished Achievement in Arts and Letters, the Fortner Writer and Community Award for “outstanding generosity to other writers and the larger community,” and Queens University’s Beverly D. Clark Author Award.
Those who prefer to stick to the absolute truth in their writing also can sign up for nonfiction offerings such as “Write What You Don’t Know” with NCWN trustee Georgann Eubanks, author of the three-volume Literary Trails series commissioned by the NC Arts Council and published by UNC Press; “The Basics of Writing Compelling Personal Essays ” with Patrice Gopo, author of All the Colors We Will See: Reflections on Barriers, Brokenness, and Finding Our Way, an essay collection about race, immigration, and belonging; “Get People Talking” with the Charles A. Dana Professor of English at Davidson College, Cynthia Lewis, whose latest book is “The game’s afoot”: A Sports Lover’s Introduction to Shakespeare; and “Making a Living as a Writer: Freelancing for Magazines” with Jodi Helmer, who has made her living as a full-time writer since 2002.
Maureen Ryan Griffin will lead the Poetry Master Class, “The Art and Craft of Polishing a Poem,” which will offer registrants the opportunity to learn and practice specific revision tactics, as well as get detailed feedback/critique on at least one of their poems. Maureen has taught the art and craft of writing for twenty-five years. She is the author of three poetry collections and a recipient of the 2018 Irene Blair Honeycutt Legacy Award honoring a community member who has contributed outstanding service in support of local and regional writers.
Additional poetry classes include “Imagery: Source and Function in Poetry” with NCWN trustee Julie Funderburk, author of the poetry collection The Door That Always Opens (LSU Press); “Principles of the Verse Line” with Pulitzer-nominated poet Morri Creech; “The Prose Poem: Hybrid Genre or Structural Choice?” with NCWN trustee Terry L. Kennedy, author of the poetry collection New River Breakdown and editor of The Greensboro Review and storySouth; and “Nobody Writes Alone: How to be a Well-Versed Citizen of the Poetry World” with Lisa Zerkle, author of Heart of the Light and a former editor of Kakalak.
Fiction writers seeking a wider variety of offerings or who don’t quite feel prepared to tackle the intensive atmosphere of a Master Class can also choose from stand-alone sessions including “Dialogue from the Ground Up: Amplifying Place and the Sensory World” with Bryn Chancellor, author of the novel Sycamore (Harper/HarperCollins 2017), which was a Southwest Book of the Year, an Indie Next pick, an Amazon Editors’ Best Book of 2017; “’You Talking to Me?’ How Less Really Can Mean More When Writing Dialogue” with Susan Rivers, whose debut novel, The Second Mrs. Hockaday, was a finalist for the Center for Fiction First Novel Award 2017 and for the SIBA Southern Book Prize 2018 for Southern Fiction; “Scene Sequencing in Novel Structure” with the 2017 recipient of the Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction, Kim Wright; and “Worldbuilding: Making Your Setting Come Alive!” with bestselling speculative fiction author Gail Z. Martin.
Those registrants hoping for feedback on their manuscripts should consider additional special options.
By pre-registering for either the Critique Service or the Manuscript Mart, writers receive in-depth literary critique of their fiction, nonfiction, or poetry by a seasoned writer or editor (Critique Service) or the chance to get feedback from an editor or agent with a leading publisher or literary agency (Manuscript Mart). While either of these programs might lead to publication, conferencegoers will get more out of these half-hour sessions if they approach them as an opportunity to, above all else, learn to write better.
While writing well is an end unto itself, the NCWN 2018 Fall Conference offers several sessions designed to help attendees take the next step on their path to publication and beyond. The “Business of Writing” track is sponsored by Charlotte Lit, which engages Charlotte Metro community members through classes, community conversations, explorations in creativity and culture, and more.
In “The Perfect Pitch,” novelists Kim Boykin, Kim Wright, and Erika Marks—who have collectively published twelve books with Big Five publishers—will offer tips on what makes an effective pitch and how to break your big idea down into a few potent paragraphs. “The Passion Project: Writing & Selling a Book that Matters” with Kathy Izard, whose self-published memoir was recently re-released by publisher Thomas Nelson, will offer tips on how to turn that passion project into a successful book; Paul Reali, founder of Charlotte Lit, will lead “Technology Toolkit: Software and Tech Stuff for Writers”; NCWN trustee and speculative fiction author Michele T. Berger will lead the first-ever program offering of “Shut Up and Write!” sponsored by Freedom.to, a session that will ask registrants to do exactly that: shut up, and write; Tracy Crow, NCWN Regional Rep for Randolph County, will teach “Finding Our Stories from Photographs and Art,” an ekphrasis session; and “Understanding the Players in the Book World” with Betsy Thorpe will walk registrants through the ins and outs of queries, agents, publishers—traditional and hybrid—and much more.
Bryn Chancellor, author of the prize-winning novel Sycamore and a professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, will lead the Pre-Conference Tailgate on Friday. Once again, the Network will offer Mary Belle Campbell Scholarships, which send up to three poets who teach full-time to the Fall Conference.
2018 Fall Conference sponsors include the Arts & Science Council; the Charlotte Center for the Literary Arts (Charlotte Lit); the English Department at Davidson College; Freedom.to; Chatham-Lee Counties NCWN Regional Rep Al Manning; the North Carolina Arts Council; the North Carolina Humanities Council; Odin Law & Media; Alice Osborn: Editor/Book Coach/Author; and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte Department of English.
For more information, and to register, visit www.ncwriters.org.