NC Literary Hall of Fame




ASHEVILLE—Alli Marshall is the author of the novel How to Talk to Rockstars and the arts editor for Asheville's alt-weekly, Mountain xPress.

She's also a performance poet: her most recent collaborative show, “Flyer in a Dark Chamber,” debuted at Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center in August. She has performed theatrical spoken word at Asheville Fringe Arts Festival, Asheville Percussion Festival, and the {RE}Happening. In May, she curated the inaugural Dear Satyr: An Evening of Erotic Spoken Word. Alli was the 2016 winner of the Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize for her short story “Catching Out.” She holds an MFA from Goddard College.

At the North Carolina Writers' Network 2019 Fall Conference, Alli will moderate the panel "Writing Out Loud" with Kevin Evans, Lockie Hunter, and Steve Shell

The NCWN 2019 Conference runs November 8-10 at the Doubletree by Hilton Asheville-Biltmore. Registration is open.

This year, NCWN has been celebrating libraries. As part of this year-long appreciation, Alli generously allowed us to print her poem, "Petaluma Regional Library." As follows:  


In the endlessness of ’91 I — who had only
just arrived to Northern California, to
the West Coast, to college — longed for escape.

Sometimes I’d skip class to hitchhike
into town, dreaming down dusty roads
of the future to which I’d eventually wake. Dreaming

of a California that was already slipping
through my hands. I only knew
of the sunflower farms and the cliffs

of Big Sur and the drugs I’d take, maybe,
in Golden Gate Park, if I could scrape together
bus fare. In the library I’d pore over books

on macrame and permaculture. Treehouse
design. How to renovate a VW camper. How
to live off the land (though I was still living

off my parents). A picture was taking
shape. The hazy, over-exposed Polaroid
of it, edges blurred, blond bleached

to white. Thinking if I could read up
on Sonoma County, circa 1972, I could somehow
will it back into being. An education in fiction,

in the nonfiction section. I studied bead craft
and the brief-but-irrefutable rise of Janis Joplin
like a senior seminar, like an extra-credit course.

My library card was a litany of fantasy,
a catalog of childhood intersecting
real life. Autumn only grew more golden, the coast

more restless, the bay trees more
perfumed. Everything was calling. Everything
was a dissertation on desire and how to name it.

During the panel discussion "Writing Out Loud," Asheville-based writers will discuss the adventures, challenges, and best practices of performative work, such as live readings, poetry slams, radio appearances, and the theatrical applications of spoken word. The conversation will also include thoughts on curating literary events, from the selection process to marrying diverse voices onstage, to marketing the event. Panelists have worked in radio, print media and education. Their combined experiences include organizing and performing at events such as The Moth StorySLAM, the Asheville-Biscuithead Slam Poetry Series, WordPlay Radio Show, the Juniper Bends Reading Series, Asheville Poetry Cabaret, and HomeWord Youth Poetry open mic. 

Fall Conference attracts hundreds of writers from around the country and provides a weekend full of activities that include lunch and dinner banquets with readings, keynotes, tracks in several genres, open mic sessions, and the opportunity for one-on-one manuscript critiques with editors or agents. Master Classes will be led by Nickole Brown and Jessica Jacobs (Poetry) and Jeremy B. Jones (Nonfiction). Ron Rash will give the Keynote Address.

Register here.

The nonprofit North Carolina Writers’ Network is the state’s oldest and largest literary arts services organization devoted to all writers, in all genres, at all stages of development. For additional information, visit


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