WINSTON-SALEM—While the NCWN Writingest State Online Conference 2020 offers a variety of pricing options to suit almost any budget—including the opportunity to take just one single class—a select number of scholarships are available.

A limited amount of general scholarship aid is available to deserving writers who otherwise could not take part in the NCWN 2020 Writingest State Online Conference.

In addition to our general scholarship aid, Mary Belle Campbell Scholarships are available to full-time K-12 teachers who write poetry.

These scholarships will honor the memory of the late Mary Belle Campbell and the legacy of her many contributions to North Carolina’s literary traditions. Each scholarship will cover the cost of a standard registration fee. Teaching poets who live in North Carolina and adjacent states (VA, TN, GA, SC) are eligible.

Scholarship recipients will be able to attend all WSOC programs, including sessions, the Agents & Editors panel, the Prompt Party, and more.

Applications will include a curriculum vita or resume, proof of employment with a public school system or accredited school, a statement of written intent describing both what the applicant hopes to accomplish as a poet and what the applicant hopes to learn at the Writingest State Online Conference.

A committee created by the NCWN Board of Trustees, which will include published poets and/or editors of poetry journals, will review all applications and award available scholarships. Applications will be reviewed without regard to gender, race, ethnicity, religious or political affiliation, or sexual orientation.

For application instructions, and to apply, click here.

The Network’s Writingest State Online Conference will be a five-day festival for writers, November 10-14 at an Internet connection near you. The WSOC will feature classes and conversations on the craft and business of writing, as well as a keynote address by North Carolina Poet Laureate Jaki Shelton Green, a Pre-Conference Tailgate and a Prompt Party to get creative juices flowing, online Open Mic readings and Happy Hour virtual gatherings, and an Agents & Editors panel discussion.

Registration is open.


MEBANE—Jaki Shelton Green is the current Poet Laureate of North Carolina. Appointed by the governor, Jaki is the first African-American to serve, and only the third woman.

She'll give the Keynote Address at the North Carolina Writers' Network 2020 Writingest State Online Conference (WSOC) on Friday, November 13. Registration is open.

Despite being the author of eight poetry collections; despite being widely acclaimed for her talks and readings; despite being inducted into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame in 2014; Jaki continues to push herself as an artist. On Juneteenth 2020, she released her first poetry LP album, The River Speaks of Thirst, produced by Soul City Sounds and Clearly Records.

"The album manifests the music that is always inherent in Green's award-winning verse as she performs it with instrumentation," says INDY Week.

The Washington Post says, "Jaki Shelton Green's voice is now forever within me, showing us again how art has the ability to transform individual hearts and minds. I have only gratitude to this beloved cultural icon for her gift to us." 

The Writingest State Online Conference is a five-day festival of classes, panels, and programs on the craft and business of writing. Jaki's Keynote Address is among the free programs open to all registrants. Participants have more options in terms of what they register for: full-conference, half-conference, or even single sessions are available. Registering for any session will give attendees access not only to the Keynote Address but also the online Happy Hours; Open Mics; a celebration of the Carolina African-American Writers' Collective; and more.

When Governor Roy Cooper appointed her Poet Laureate of North Carolina, he said, "Jaki Shelton Green brings a deep appreciation of our state’s diverse communities to her role as an ambassador of North Carolina literature. Jaki’s appointment is a wonderful new chapter in North Carolina’s rich literary history.”

She also is the recipient of two NC Emerging Artist Grants, the African-American Writers' Collective Distinction Award, NC Writers Network Blumenthal Award, 2002 Omega Iota Finer Womanhood Award (Zeta Phi Beta Sorority) Delta Arts Award (Delta Sigma Theta Sorority).

On The River Speaks of Thirst, one poem in particular has drawn attention and praise: "Oh My Brother," a "powerfully prescient" poem that stands in solidarity with grieving families across the United States whose loved ones are being murdered by law enforcement. (See video above.)

Registration for the Writingest State Online Conference is open. Space is limited. 

The WSOC is available to anyone with an internet connection, or who even owns just a telephone. Some sessions will be archived and made available to registrants for repeated viewings.

Register now!


Greenville, NC—The 2020 Doris Betts Fiction Prize is now open for submissions. After a brief, planned hiatus, the North Carolina Writers’ Network and North Carolina Literary Review have moved this Network-sponsored competition to the fall.

The deadline is October 31.

The competition is for previously unpublished short stories up to 6,000 words and is open to any writer who is a legal resident of North Carolina or a member of the North Carolina Writers’ Network. North Carolina Literary Review subscribers with North Carolina connections (lives or has lived in NC) are also eligible, even if they live out of state.

Find the full submission guidelines, and submit, here.

The winner receives $250 and publication in the North Carolina Literary Review. Thanks to a donation from a Network board member, there is also prize money now available for any other stories accepted for publication in NCLR through this competition.

This year’s final judge is Josephine Humphreys, author of the North Carolina-set Nowhere Else on Earth, an historical novel inspired by Henry Berry Lowrie and his wife Rhoda Strong Lowrie.

Humphreys was born and raised in Charleston, SC. Nowhere Else on Earth received the Southern Book Award for Fiction. Her other novels include Dreams of Sleep, winner of the PEN/Hemingway Award for Best First Novel; Rich in Love, which was adapted into a feature film, and Fireman’s Fair, which takes place in the aftermath of Hurricane Hugo. A recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship and the Lyndhurst Prize, she served as the final judge of the 2012 Thomas Wolfe Prize. She is a graduate of Duke and Yale University and taught at Charleston Southern University.

Katey Schultz of Cleo won the 2019 Doris Betts Fiction Prize for her story “Something Coming,” published in NCLR 2020, released in June.

For over twenty years, East Carolina University and the North Carolina Literary & Historical Association have published the North Carolina Literary Review, a journal devoted to showcasing the Tar Heel State’s literary excellence. Described by one critic as “everything you ever wanted out of a literary publication but never dared to demand,” NCLR has won numerous awards and citations.

Doris Betts was the author of three short-story collections and six novels. She won three Sir Walter Raleigh awards, the Southern Book Award, the North Carolina Award for Literature, the John Dos Passos Prize, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters Medal for the short story, among others. Beloved by her students, she was named the University of North Carolina Alumni Distinguished Professor of English in 1980. She was a 2004 inductee of the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame.

Submit here.

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


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