CHARLOTTE—At the North Carolina Writers' Network 2018 Fall Conference, Patrice Gopo will serve as a panelist on Saturday morning's panel "All Stories Connect: Does Place Still Matter?", sponsored by the Arts & Science Council.
Patrice also will lead the creative nonfiction session "The Basics of Writing Compelling Personal Essays."
Fall Conference runs November 2-4, at the Hilton Charlotte University Place. Registration is now open.
Patrice Gopo’s essays have appeared in a variety of literary journals and other publications, including Gulf Coast, Creative Nonfiction, Full Grown People, and online in The New York Times and The Washington Post. Her writing has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and she is the grateful recipient of a North Carolina Arts Council Fellowship in Literature. She is the author of All the Colors We Will See: Reflections on Barriers, Brokenness, and Finding Our Way, an essay collection about race, immigration, and belonging. Please visit www.patricegopo.com to learn more.
This year, NCWN has been celebrating publishers based in North Carolina, so we asked Patrice to answer the following prompt:
"Congratulations! You've inherited a large fortune, on the condition that you use it to start your own publishing house. What kind of books are you going to publish?"
Here's what Patrice said:
"Sometimes I think back to the girl I once was, a child who spent much of the weekend curled up on the loveseat beneath the large picture window in her family’s living room. In this tiny patch of couch that I still think of as mine, I lived the story that so many children who love books live: I left my home and traveled across time and history and traveled across the world. In the stories, I saw so much of what it means to live and breathe and exist and dream.
"But what is true is that when I look back on those books—many that I’ve kept into adulthood—I know it was a rare day when I read a book with a character that mirrored me, a black girl. It was a rare day that I read a book with a character that mirrored other aspects of my experience, the child of immigrants, a person of color grappling with identity formation in this racialized American culture.
"These are aspects of my identity. My stories are not unique stories, but they are stories that often aren’t portrayed in our literary world. With my own publishing house, I would seek to add more of these stories to our world. I would work to publish work by writers of color across the genres of fiction and personal essay, memoir and children’s books so that we could continue to build an increasing abundance of representations, perspectives, and points of view. And as I publish this work, I would dream of a little girl curled up on a loveseat beneath a picture window, reading words about a character that reminded her of herself."
Personal essays are a popular and important way to share deeper thoughts and insights about our lived experience. But how do we write a compelling personal essay? In Patrice's workshop, participants will learn the basics of writing an effective and satisfying personal essay. Through examples and writing exercises, attendees will learn how to write about their lived experience in a way that unearths deeper meaning and connects with readers and the broader world.
During the panel "Does Place Still Matter?", participants will discuss whether or not, in our global, hyperconnected world—a world with satellites and Google Street View—a sense of place still matters. What does “place” mean when people are more mobile than ever before? Four Charlotte writers—Julie Funderburk, Patrice Gopo, Dannye Romine Powell, and Kim Wright—each of whom took a different path to the Queen City, bring their perspectives to the question.
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 Judy Goldman (Creative Nonfiction), Maureen Ryan Griffin (Poetry), Randall Kenan (Fiction), who, as a 2018 inductee into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame, also will give the Keynote Address.
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 www.ncwriters.org.