White Cross School Blog


NC Literary Hall of Fame




KNOXVILLE, TN—While it can be thrilling to read about a writer's mad adventure on the Neuse River, or brave 100-mph winds on Mt. Mitchell with intrepid writer-climbers, most of us experience nature very close to home and usually without a heightened sense of danger.

For us as writers, then, the nature we encounter every day is ripe for exploration. It can inspire us precisely because it's so local and so personal. If we look closely enough, the familiar elements can reveal greater truths about the universe and ourselves.

On Thursday, June 20, at 7:00 pm, author and editor Kelly Smith Trimble will lead the online class "Nature Writing in Your Own Backyard."

Registration is open.

This course is capped at forty (40) registrants, first-come, first-served. There is a $30 fee to register.

Expanding our concept of “nature” or “environment” also expands opportunities for nature writing. By embracing our backyard gardens, our ingredients for dinner, and even our pets as elements of the natural world, we open up new avenues for writing about nature and our daily experience of it. And just as writing about wild nature urges reflection on larger questions, ascribing meaning to everyday nature can help us consider meaning in our everyday experiences.

In this class, we’ll explore:

  • How we define and can redefine nature
  • Traditional examples and themes of nature writing
  • New examples and themes of nature writing
  • A natural scientist's approach to understanding the world
  • Opportunities for writing about the kind of nature we experience daily

Kelly Smith Trimble is an editor, writer, and gardener living in Knoxville, Tennessee. Her book Vegetable Gardening Wisdom, a collection of seasonal advice and inspiration for edible gardeners, was released in April, 2019. Kelly is currently the digital editorial director for HGTV and Travel Channel, and she has also been a writer and editor for Southern Living, the National Park Foundation, and other lifestyle media. She earned a B.A. in English with Concentration in Environmental Studies from Sewanee: The University of the South, and an M.S. in Environmental Studies with an emphasis in Writing and Communications from Green Mountain College. Her poetry has been published in the online journal Wordpeace.

A master gardener, she grows vegetables, herbs, and flowers in her suburban backyard and loves cooking and preserving.

"Nature Writing in Your Own Backyard" is part of the newly expanded series of online classes offered by the North Carolina Writers' Network.

"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."

Register here.

The online class "Nature Writing in Your Own Backyard" is available to anyone with an internet connection, or who even owns just a telephone. Instructions for accessing the online class on Thursday, June 20, will be sent to registrants no less than twenty-four hours prior to the start of class.

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.


CARY—The North Carolina Writers’ Network will award a second Sally Buckner Emerging Writers' Fellowship, this year to a writer of fiction.

Created in memory of the late Sally Buckner, one of North Carolina’s most beloved poets, editors, and educators, the Buckner Fellowship supports an emerging North Carolina writer, between the ages 21-35, whose work shows promise of excellence and of commitment to a literary career.

The deadline is June 30

NCWN members submit here. Non-members, submit here

Applicants must be in the early stages of their careers and will not yet have achieved major recognition for their work. No specific academic background is required or preferred, but students enrolled in degree-granting programs are not eligible to apply.

The final judges are Michele T. Berger, Chris Tonelli, and former NC Poet Laureate Joseph Bathanti.

Fellowship recipients will use the $500 award to allay the costs associated with the business of writing: paper, printing, writing supplies, submission fees, research expenses, travel, conference registration fees, etc. In addition to the cash award, recipients will receive a complimentary one-year membership in the NCWN, as well as scholarship aid to attend the Network’s annual Fall Conference.

The fellowship winner will be announced and introduced at the Network’s Fall Conference, held this year in Asheville, November 8-10.

To honor and carry on the lifelong generosity displayed by its namesake, the Buckner Fellowship will invite each recipient, during their award year, to help at least one other writer—by mentoring a less-experienced writer, by critiquing another’s work, by writing references or editing applications, or in whatever other way the recipient sees fit.

Applications will be accepted through Submittable.com from May 1 to June 30. Application is free for current NCWN members; for nonmembers, the application fee is $10. A committee appointed by NCWN will review all applications, and invite finalists for interviews with committee members.

Poet Zachary Lunn of Hoke County won the inaugural Buckner Fellowship. Lunn, originally from Las Vegas, served two tours in Iraq as a medic with the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment. After the Army, he graduated from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke and then earned his MFA in Creative Writing at North Carolina State University, where he was awarded an Academy of American Poets Prize. His writing appears or is forthcoming in Oxford American, Carve, CONSEQUENCE, Pedestal Magazine, and other literary journals.

For more information about the Sally Buckner Emerging Writers’ Fellowship and NCWN, visit www.ncwriters.org, or contact Charles Fiore, NCWN Communications Director, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


GREENVILLE—The North Carolina Writers' Network 2019 Squire Summer Writing Workshops run Thursday-Sunday, July 18-21, on the campus of East Carolina University in Greenville.

Registration is open.

The Squire Summer Writing Workshops offer an intensive course in a chosen genre (fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry), with ten ninety-minute sessions over the four days of the program. Space in each workshop is limited, so that registrants can work in-depth on their own manuscript samples, as well as their colleagues’, while also studying the principles of the genre with their instructor.

This year's instructors are Alex Albright (Creative Nonfiction); Emily Colin (Fiction); and Dr. Lenard D. Moore (Poetry).

Other features include faculty readings, panel discussions, and open mic sessions—and training sessions—for registrants.

Alex Albright will lead "Dramatic Plot Not Required: Creative Nonfiction."

Good creative nonfiction is an immersion into another world. It needn’t be plot driven: It’s always more than a record of what happened, and much more than simply writing from an "I" point-of-view. Its definition, in fact, sometimes seems fluid and subjective. This session will begin with a brief historical overview of how the newest literary genre came to be before, and of how it’s variously defined. Writers will soon settle on personal goals of CNF that match their interests in writing nonfiction prose: memoir? travel, history, review or opinion piece? biography? Primary emphasis is on how writers at any stage in their career can employ the techniques usually common to writing fiction—setting, dialog, and character development especially—to better authenticate their creative nonfiction work, with a special emphasis on developing settings and a narrator’s identity appropriate to both your story and the time and place in which it occurs. Participants should bring to class introductory paragraphs for two or three of their favorite nonfiction pieces by other writers.

"Writing Fiction that Resonates with Your Readers" will be led by Emily Colin.

The core of this workshop, to which we will return again and again, will be your own work. We will explore the crucial elements that make readers want to keep turning pages, including stellar character development, a tightly-knit plot, and vivid descriptions that give insights into your characters and storyline. We’ll discuss what makes readers care about characters, how to include details that drive the story rather than bogging it down, and what to do when writer’s block strikes. Through the lens of your own writing as well as that of others, we will pay attention to what makes certain authors so good at what they do . . . and then sharpen your prose to reflect these discoveries. We’ll try our hand at new, short fiction in response to what we’ve discussed over the course of the workshop, then cap off the weekend with a conversation about the business of publishing, and how to find your niche in an ever-evolving industry.

Dr. Lenard D. Moore will lead "Form & Texture: Poetry."

In this workshop, participants will write new poems in poetic forms, particularly ghazal, kwansaba, sestina, and jazz poetry. We will read and discuss poets who write in these forms. We will encourage one another to take risks in his or her poetry. We will focus on various literary elements, such as imagery, simile, metaphor, and rhythm. The workshop will emphasize creating texture in poetry. At least one of the participants’ poems will be workshopped in class.

For full conference details, including faculty bios, click here.

This year’s workshops and on-campus housing will be in the same facility, Gateway Hall in the College Hill part of campus. Gateway Hall is the hub for the school’s Living Learning Community programs, and opened just a few weeks after the last Squire Summer Writing Workshops held at East Carolina, only four years ago.

Registrants will take most of their meals together in the nearby Todd Dining Hall, except for Thursday evening dinner on your own and the traditional Squire Saturday evening picnic.

Register now.

The non-profit North Carolina Writers’ Network is the state’s oldest and largest literary arts services organization devoted to all writers at all stages of development. For additional information, visit www.ncwriters.org.


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