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CINCINNATI, OH—Writers of creative nonfiction face a daunting challenge. Not only must they deliver facts, they must deliver those facts in a compelling way that keeps readers engaged and turning pages.

Then there are questions, such as what research to include; how to structure the narrative once the research is complete; and more.

On Thursday, October 17, at 7:00 pm, author and award-winning journalist Dani McClain will lead the online class "Creating the Structure to Carry the Story" (Creative Nonfiction). 

Registration has now closed.

This course is capped at forty (40) registrants, first-come, first-served. There is a $45 fee to register.

This class offers strategies for organizing your book, long essay, or reporting project so that readers are carried along by a seamless narrative. We'll also touch on how to combine memoir with research and how to choose sources whose storytelling and insights add depth to your work.

Dani McClain reports on race and reproductive health. She is a contributing writer at The Nation and a fellow with Type Media Center (formerly the Nation Institute). McClain's writing has appeared in outlets including Time, Slate, Talking Points Memo, Colorlines, EBONY.com, and The Rumpus. In 2018, she received a James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism. Her work has been recognized by the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association, the National Association of Black Journalists, and Planned Parenthood Federation of America. McClain was a staff reporter at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and has worked as a strategist with organizations including Color of Change and Drug Policy Alliance.

McClain’s book, We Live for the We: The Political Power of Black Motherhood, was published April, 2019, by Bold Type Books (formerly Nation Books).

McClain has a B.A. in history from Columbia University and a master’s degree from Columbia’s journalism school.

"Creating the Structure to Carry the Story" is the North Carolina Writers' Network's first offering in their 2019-2020 series of online classes.

"This program is a great way for writers from all over North Carolina to connect without having the hassle of driving somewhere and finding parking," said NCWN communications director Charles Fiore. "Online classes offer top-shelf instruction for a fraction of the cost, and the software itself is very intuitive and easy to use."

The online class "Creating the Structure to Carry the Story" is available to anyone with an internet connection, or who even owns just a telephone. Instructions for accessing the online class on Thursday, October 17, will be sent to registrants no less than twenty-four hours prior to the start of class. The class will be archived and made available to registrants for repeated viewings.

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.

 

ASHEVILLE—At the North Carolina Writers' Network 2019 Fall Conference, Anne Fitten Glenn will lead the session "Creative Ways to Promote Your Book (and Yourself)."

Fall Conference runs November 8-10 at the Doubletree by Hilton Asheville-Biltmore. Registration is now open.

Award-winning author and journalist Anne Fitten Glenn has been writing about and working in the beer business since the 1990s. She is the author of two books,Western North Carolina: A Mountain Brew History (2018) and Asheville Beer: An Intoxicating History of Mountain Brewing (2012), both published by Arcadia/The History Press. She was the national public relations director and east coast marketing manager for Oskar Blues Brewery for three years. Currently, she consults to breweries across the country in the arenas of communications and public relations as well as writing for both beverage trade and consumer magazines. She pens a regular “Mountain Brews” article for Edible Asheville and has written for numerous other publications, including All About Beer, Smoky Mountain Living, Edible Aspen, WNC Magazine, Asheville Citizen-Times,  and www.CraftBeer.com. She's lived in and written about the Asheville area since 1997.

This year, NCWN has been celebrating libraries, so we asked Anne to give us her best library memory.

Here's what she wrote:

“You must have a two documents verifying your permanent address,” said the librarian in her posh British accent. She looked at me through reading glasses that barely hung on the tip of her nose.

I wondered if I’d stepped into a Monty Python skit. But no, I was in the foyer of The British Library. And the woman who epitomized the forbidding librarian stereotype in my head was not an actor.

I felt, not for the first time, that being an American in London was a disadvantage. As a Southerner, I know folks who are bitter about a war that took place decades before they were born. In the UK, I’d engage with those still angry over one that ended centuries ago.

“If you want me to act the part of a brash revolutionary, disdainful of king and country, I will do so, ma’am.” I didn’t say that out loud, of course.

I’d moved to the U.K. on a whim after graduate school. After twenty-six years in the state of Georgia, I was desperate to live somewhere different for a spell. That's when I learned I could get a six-month post-graduate visa to work abroad.

I knew no one in London. I didn’t have a job lined up. But I kind of could speak the language.

I figured I could sling beer or work in a bookstore. Turned out my sister’s roommate’s uncle offered me the pull-out couch in his living room in exchange for house-sitting while he traveled. He worked in television and introduced me to a friend who was starting a small documentary production company. I had journalism and English degrees, some newspaper writing experience, an American passport, and most importantly, a bit of computer knowledge (who else remembers MS-DOS?). Thus began an adventure that would last more than two years.

The offices I worked in were located a few blocks from King’s Cross/St. Pancreas Station. My job was a typical entry-level position in the field. I spent workdays either bored out of my mind or chasing around a stressed-out director on deadline. On the dull days, I’d take a long lunch and wander around the city.

Like most writers, I have multitudinous happy library memories from my childhood and university days. When I discovered that the largest national library in the world was next to my Tube station, I was thrilled. Until that librarian stonewalled me.

“I do have a U.K. address,” I said. “But it’s not in my name. I’m house sitting. I have a passport, of course.”

She didn’t look impressed.

“Two forms of identifications with matching permanent addresses are required,” she said. “And you need to submit a form with your research project.”

“I can’t just read books that I want to read? What kind of library is this?” Again, feeling intimidated, I didn’t say this aloud.

The librarian had refocused on her desk—a not-so-subtle dismissal.

“Wait,” I said. “I work for a television production company, and we’re making a series of documentaries for the BBC, and I need to do research.”

This was a stretch as most of our research was done online through paid archives. However, I’d already learned that dropping “the BBC” into conversations increased my status.

“Bring me a note from your director. On company letterhead. And your passport. And an envelope addressed to you where you are living now.”

I waited a few days before taking my case to one of my bosses. I choose the more literary of the two—the man who was working on a screen adaptation of Hamlet. Even so, he was confounded. “You want to spend your lunch hour in The British Library?”

“That’s exactly what I want to do,” I replied.

And that's what I did, at least once a week for most of the next two years. I browsed the stacks, sat quietly in one of the reading rooms, and, despite the library’s research directive, read whatever I wanted to read.

Long gone are the days of publisher-organized book tours, press junkets, and author travel per diems. In "Creative Ways to Promote Your Book (and Yourself)," we’ll talk about the tried and true ways to promote your book and yourself as an author as well as exploring creative options that cost next to nothing. We’ll cover how to best use various social media outlets, how to engage regional and national media, how to solicit reviews and testimonials, and how to launch your book and organize a tour. We’ll discuss the least time-consuming things you can do to promote your book without losing your mind! While this class will focus on book promotions, if you haven’t written a book yet, it will help you learn how to find a wider audience for your writing. 

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 Abigail DeWitt (Fiction), Jeremy B. Jones (Nonfiction), and Nickole Brown and Jessica Jacobs (Poetry).

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 www.ncwriters.org.

 

ASHEVILLE—At the North Carolina Writers' Network 2019 Fall ConferenceJeremy B. Jones will lead the Master Class in Nonfiction "Exploding Your Drafts."

Fall Conference runs November 8-10 at the Doubletree by Hilton Asheville-Biltmore. Registration is now open.

Jeremy B. Jones is the author of Bearwallow: A Personal History of a Mountain Homeland, which was awarded Gold in "Memoir" in the 2015 Independent Publisher Book of the Year awards and named the 2014 Appalachian Book of the Year in Nonfiction. His essays appear in Oxford American, Brevity, The Iowa Review, and frequently in Our State magazine. Jeremy is an associate professor of English at Western Carolina University and the co-editor of In Place, a literary nonfiction book series from Vandalia Press.

This year, NCWN has been celebrating libraries, so we asked Jeremy to give us his best library memory.

Here's what he wrote:

"When I was a boy, my grandmother volunteered at the library down the road. She had worked in the high school library until she retired, and then she became the minder for my cousins and me in the summers. We were wild animals, and she kept us fed and safe whenever we stepped indoors briefly. When we started back to school, she drove down Chimney Rock Road to the tiny Edneyville branch library (a singlewide trailer above a creek) to shelve books and file cards. Later, we sometimes went with her, especially once the card catalog became a computer and she needed our help. I remember reading books in her house, pulling novels off shelves in that library, but as a boy, I only wanted to be outside. Books seemed too small, too slow. So I blurred past everything.

"A year after my book Bearwallow came out, a memoir that is dedicated to my grandparents, I had the chance to read from my book at an event in that small library above the creek. Before the reading started, I walked the stacks (three rows of them) and couldn’t shake the impossibility of it all: finding my own book on those shelves I’d rushed through as a boy, where Grandma straightened all spines. In truth, I’d only written my book because I finally learned to ask my grandparents to tell me stories. I’d learned to sit still (sometimes) and listen to them talk to me about their lives, about the far-off world that is the past. I’d started sorting out who I was, who I might become, by listening to all the tales of the people who’d come before me.

"My grandmother has passed on now, and when I take my sons to the library every week for the next Boxcar Children mystery or Pete the Cat, I imagine everything that those rows of books might mean for them. For who they might become. And whether they know it or not, I know this: wherever they go, my grandma and that singlewide library are taking them there."

No matter the form—memoir, personal essay, lyric, biography—a draft often benefits from an explosion: making the material more ambitious, rangier, and, sometimes, messier. Jeremy's Master Class will explore the seams of your material to see where we might place a charge and blow things open. What’s the story under the story? Could a counter thread create unexpected meaning? Where could we dig deeper into memories to discover bigger questions? We will read excerpts of complex, ambitious nonfiction and try numerous exercises to build our writerly muscles. Then we’ll put those muscles to work, as we workshop our drafts and consider where they might go next, how they might blow wide open.

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. Additional Master Classes will be led by Abigail DeWitt (Fiction) and Nickole Brown and Jessica Jacobs (Poetry). 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 www.ncwriters.org.

 

 
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