NC Literary Hall of Fame




CHICAGO, IL—What exactly is the power of persuasion? Different from an argument, persuasive writing doesn't try to prove someone else wrong as much as it seeks to build consensus and bring others around to a new point of view. 

Whether we're writing an op-ed for a media outlet; a speech to deliver in front of city council; or an essay for an anthology, there are tools that can help us write persuasively to engage our audience from the very first line and, through the power of persuasion, effect real change.

On Tuesday, October 20, at 7:00 pm EDT, publisher and organizer Gregory F. Augustine Pierce will lead the online class "Persuasive vs. Argumentative Writing" (or "How to Write Nonfiction that is Persuasive and Publishable").

Registration is closed.

The cost for the class is $35 for NCWN members, $45 for non-members. Space is limited.

In this class, we'll talk about capturing and keeping your reader’s engagement from start to finish; making your point without turning off the reader; and incorporating stories and examples into your nonfiction writing. We will use a couple of exercises, read a couple of examples of persuasive writing, and talk about where and how to get nonfiction persuasive writing published. 

"Writers—journalists, essayists, bloggers, poets, playwrights—can disturb the social oppression that functions like a coma on the population, a coma despots call peace," says Toni Morrison in her essay, "Peril," found in Burn this Book: Notes on Literature and Engagement. "A writer's life and work are not a gift to humankind; they are a necessity."

Greg Pierce is the longtime editor and publisher of ACTA Publications in Chicago. He has also worked with the Industrial Areas Foundation for 50 years as an organizer, supervisor, mentor, trainer, and leader. His publishing house has developed a line of books and booklets on organizing. He is currently compiling a book of 50 essays titled Reveille for a New Generation: Organizers and Leaders Reflect on Power, which will be published on November 3, 2020 (national Election Day in the United States).

"Persuasive vs. Argumentative Writing" is part of the North Carolina Writers' Network's 2020-2021 series of online classes.

"The Network has offered online programming since 2016," said NCWN communications director Charles Fiore. "We're proud to already have the educational framework in place that allows us to continue to serve the writers of North Carolina, and beyond, during this time of social distancing."

The online class "Persuasive vs. Argumentative Writing" is available to anyone with an internet connection, or who even owns just a telephone. Instructions for accessing the online class on Tuesday, October 20, 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


WINSTON-SALEM—True, the Writingest State Online Conference likely will not be as fun as the Network’s traditional Fall Conference.

Also true: the Writingest State Online Conference will not be as likely to kill you.

This November, the North Carolina Writers’ Network will offer its first-ever Writingest State Online Conference, a five-day festival for writers, November 10-14

Registration is open.

The WSOC will feature classes and conversations on the craft and business of writing, as well as a keynote address by North Carolina Poet Laureate Jaki Shelton Green, a Pre-Conference Tailgate and a Prompt Party to get creative juices flowing, online Open Mic readings and Happy Hour virtual gatherings, and an Agents & Editors panel discussion.

“This will be the first year since 1985 that the North Carolina Writers’ Network has not offered its Fall Conference, and we hope it will be the last,” NCWN executive director Ed Southern said. “We’re very excited to offer the Writingest State Online Conference, though, and suspect this will not be its last year. We prefer, though, that in years to come we offer an online conference in addition to the Fall Conference, not in place of it.”

The WSOC will begin Tuesday evening, November 10, with an Online Happy Hour, followed by a Pre-Conference Tailgate featuring writing exercises, led by author and USMC veteran Tracy Crow, on the theme of “Awaken Our Sixth Sense.”

The conference will resume on Wednesday evening, November 11, with an Opening Conversation on “The Place & the Past” between North Carolina novelists Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle and Therese Anne Fowler. Fowler’s 2020 novel A Good Neighborhood explores gentrification and displacement. Clapsaddle is a Network trustee whose debut novel Even As We Breathe came out this summer, making her the first enrolled member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians to publish a novel.

After this conversation, novelist, memoirist, Army veteran, and Wake Forest University graduate Matt Gallagher will lead a class on “Imagination and History” for writers in all genres.

The WSOC will continue into the weekend, with a celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Carolina African-American Writers' Collective (originally planned for the 2020 Spring Conference), a check-in for writers participating or interested in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), Green’s keynote address, and three sessions offering two classes each.

Instructors include poet Allison Adelle Hedge Coke, mystery writer Art Taylor, editors Lyndsay Hall and Betsy Thorpe, multi-genre author Mathieu Cailler, and debut author Leah Hampton, a past winner of the NCWN’s Doris Betts Fiction Prize.

Saturday’s sessions will begin with the Agents & Editors panel discussion, and end with online Open Mics and a “One More On & In the House” Happy Hour.

Full details and a registration form are available on


WINSTON-SALEM—“How do I get a book published?”

If that’s not the most common question Network staff hears, then it’s “How do I get my book in bookstores?” or maybe “How do I sell more books?”

The most honest and tempting answers* we could give would not be very helpful. A helpful and thorough answer would take hours to share, and would be full of caveats and exceptions.

Now, NCWN staff can direct members to our new webpage, Book Business Basics, on

This webpage is filled with links to materials and resources on the publishing process, from starting to submit short work to journals to advice on conducting a successful author tour.

These materials all come from classes taught at recent NCWN conferences, and are available only to current NCWN members.

“Learning all the ins and outs of the book business is the work of a lifetime, but these resources are a great place to start,” the webpage’s introductory text says. “They will give you an overview of the literary industry and community, introduce you to key players and terminology, and cover the basics of how to approach publishing like the business it is.”

The Book Business Basics web address is You must be logged in as a current NCWN member to reach the page.

“Publishing isn’t every writer’s goal, nor should it be,” NCWN Executive Director Ed Southern said. “But for writers who do want to see their work in print, this new resource will give them essential information and guidance.”


* “Nobody really knows for sure: If you figure it out, please tell us,” and “Write better.”


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