RALEIGH, NC—Whether you want to write hard-nose, investigative journalism or you're working on a buttery memoir about being raised on a dairy farm, rendering truth is the key to writing effective and powerful creative nonfiction. This summer, writers will have the chance to spend fifteen workshop hours with former Piedmont Laureate Scott Huler, refining the key principles of the genre and improving their craft in a focused, residency-style learning environment.
"In nonfiction, good writing begins with good reporting, progresses through rigorous thinking, and comes into being through disciplined writing and fierce, unsentimental revision," says Huler, who will lead the workshop in creative nonfiction. "That doesn’t mean you can’t write an emotional, sepiatone reminiscence of the smell of your Aunt Sophie’s pound cake, it just means you’ll need to understand where your information comes from and what you’re trying to say, and you’ll need to be willing to work hard enough to keep at it until you’ve said exactly what you mean.
"We’ll talk about telling true stories so they engage the reader, satisfy the writer, inform the cultural conversation—and above all remain true. We’ll work on personal memoir, descriptive prose, highly reported documentary-style narrative, and whimsical, voicey short essays. We’ll keep our hands busy in class by doing exercises and sharing them, and we’ll try to emerge with at least one small finished piece by the end of the weekend. Come prepared to write, to read, and to fool around."
Huler has written six books of creative nonfiction, most recently On the Grid (Rodale, 2010), about the infrastructure systems that make our world work. He has written about everything from the death penalty to bikini waxing (he likes to say he is for one and against the other), with his essays and reporting appearing in newspapers like the New York Times, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times; in magazines like ESPN, Backpacker, and Forbes; and on websites like Scientific American and Grist. His radio work has been heard on “All Things Considered” on NPR and “Marketplace” and “The Splendid Table” on PRI. He contributes writing and video regularly to Our State and Walter magazines and was the 2011 Piedmont Laureate in creative nonfiction.
The Squire Summer Writing Residency offers an intensive course in a chosen genre (fiction, creative nonfiction, or poetry), with fifteen hours of workshop sessions over the four days of the program. Registrants work in-depth on their own writing, 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.
Admission is limited to the first fifty registrants. And while workshops are at the heart of the conference programming, the weekend is a “residency” in the sense that attendees will enjoy meals together and have the option of staying overnight in on-campus accommodations. Free WiFi and parking are available.
Plus, conference-goers will benefit from being a short walk from many historical and cultural sites in downtown Raleigh. Karen Wells, Executive Director of ARTS North Carolina, will lead a Table Talk in a special program on Friday night.
Registration for the 2014 Squire Summer Writing Residency is now open.
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 www.ncwriters.org.