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NC Literary Hall of Fame

 

 

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SOUTHERN PINES—On Sunday, October 7, at 2:00 pm at the Weymouth Center for the Arts & Humanities in Southern Pines, the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame will welcome five new inductees.

James W. Clark, Jr., Randall Kenan, Jill McCorkle, Penelope Niven, and Marsha White Warren will join the sixty inductees currently enshrined.

The North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame celebrates and promotes the state’s rich literary heritage by commemorating its leading authors and encouraging the continued flourishing of great literature. Inductions are held every other year. A list of inductees, as well as samples of their work and video clips of past inductions, can be found online at www.nclhof.org.

The afternoon will include readings of the inductees' work by Lynn Duval Clark, Sharon P. Holland, and Jill McCorkle; remarks by Talmadge Ragan of Weymouth and Ed Southern of the North Carolina Writers' Network; and the annual presentation of the Artist's Award, this year to Madison Geer, a woodworker from Charlotte. J. Peder Zane will serve as the Master of Ceremonies. Light refreshments will be served following the ceremony.

This event is free and open to the public.

Dr. James W. Clark, Jr., is Professor Emeritus of English at North Carolina State University. A native of Vaughan in Warren County, Clark holds degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University, and focused his academic career primarily on the cultural geography and literary history of North Carolina, his native state. He has served as president of The Thomas Wolfe Society, The NC Literary and Historical Association, and won the R. Hunt Parker Award for his contributions. In 2017, he completed a decade as president of The Paul Green Foundation, and still serves as president of The North Caroliniana Society.

Randall Kenan, a native of Duplin County, is the author of a novel, A Visitation of Spirits; two works of nonfiction, Walking on Water: Black American Lives at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century and The Fire This Time; and an award-winning collection of stories, Let the Dead Bury Their Dead. He edited and wrote the introductions for The Cross of Redemption: The Uncollected Writings of James Baldwin and The Carolina Table: North Carolina Writers on Food. Among his awards are a Guggenheim Fellowship, The Whiting Writers’ Award, the North Carolina Award, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters’ Rome Prize. He is professor of English and Comparative Literature at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Jill McCorkle has the distinction of having her first two novels published on the same day in 1984. Since then she has published four other novels and four collections of short stories. Five of her books have been named New York Times notable books, while three of her stories have appeared in Best American Short Stories anthologies. McCorkle has received the New England Booksellers Award, the John Dos Passos Prize for Excellence in Literature, and the North Carolina Award for Literature. She is a member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers. McCorkle has taught at UNC-Chapel Hill, Tufts, and Brandeis where she was the Fannie Hurst Visiting Writer. She was a Briggs-Copeland Lecturer in Fiction at Harvard for five years where she also chaired Creative Writing. She currently teaches creative writing in the MFA Program at NC State University and is a core faculty member of the Bennington College Writing Seminars. A native of Lumberton, she lives with her husband, photographer Tom Rankin, in Hillsborough.

Penelope Niven was the critically acclaimed author of Carl Sandburg: A Biography; Steichen: A Biography, and Thornton Wilder: A Life. She was also co-author, with the actor James Earl Jones, of Voices and Silences. Carl Sandburg: Adventures of a Poet, a biography for children, received a 2004 International Reading Association Prize “for exceptionally distinguished literature for children.” Her memoir Swimming Lessons was published in 2004. Niven received the North Carolina Award for Literature, the state’s highest civilian honor, for her work as a writer and a teacher. She founded and directed the national Carl Sandburg Oral History Project, and was three times a recipient of National Endowment for the Humanities fellowships. She lectured across the United States and in Switzerland, Canada, and Great Britain, and was principal consultant for the PBS film biography Carl Sandburg—Echoes and Silences. She also served as a consultant for television films on Sandburg, Jones, Steichen, and Wilder. At the time of her death in 2014, she lived in Winston-Salem, where she spent twelve years as Writer-in-Residence at Salem College. A native of Waxhaw, she also held two honorary doctorates, among other honors and awards.

Marsha White Warren was an elementary school teacher, poet, and children’s book author when she became Executive Director of the North Carolina Writers’ Network in 1987, only two years after its founding. She would serve in that role until 1996. During those years she helped Sam Ragan develop and open the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame, as well as serving on numerous state and national literary boards and as a consultant to literary centers in Tennessee, Massachusetts, and Idaho. In 1991, she also became director of the Paul Green Foundation and is still with the Foundation after twenty-seven years. In that position, she has overseen $575,000 in grants to nonprofits that support the arts and human rights. Her awards include the John Tyler Caldwell Award for the Humanities, R. Hunt Parker Memorial Award for Lifetime Contributions to Literature, Sam Ragan Award for Contributions to the Fine Arts, and an Honorary Doctor of Letters from St. Andrews College. She lives in Chapel Hill.

The North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame was founded in 1996, under the leadership of poet laureate Sam Ragan, and is a program of the North Carolina Writers’ Network. Since 2008, the Network and the Weymouth Center collaborate with the North Carolina Center for the Book, the North Carolina Humanities Council, and the North Carolina Collection of the Wilson Library at UNC-Chapel Hill to produce the induction ceremony and to promote the NCLHOF and North Carolina’s literary heritage.

For more information, visit the NC Literary Hall of Fame at www.nclhof.org or the North Carolina Writers’ Network at www.ncwriters.org.

 

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CHARLOTTE—At the North Carolina Writers' Network 2018 Fall ConferenceDannye Romine Powell will serve as a panelist on Saturday morning's panel "All Stories Connect: Does Place Still Matter?", sponsored by the Arts & Science Council.

Fall Conference runs November 2-4, at the Hilton Charlotte University Place. Registration is now open.

Dannye Romine Powell is the author of four poetry collections, the most recent from Press 53, Nobody Calls Me Darling Anymore. She has twice won the Brockman Campbell Award, as well as the Randall Jarrell Poetry Competition in 2011. She has won fellowships in poetry from the NEA, the NC Arts Council, and Yaddo. She has served as book editor and local news columnist of the Charlotte Observer and is the author of Parting the Curtains: Interviews with Southern Writers.

This year, NCWN has been celebrating publishers based in North Carolina, so we asked Dannye 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 Dannye said:

"I've inherited a large fortune. Hooray! I'm opening a bookstore.

"Here's what I want to carry.

"Lots of cookbooks, which allow me to carry dozens of poetry collections, especially those of NC writers.

"Lots of mysteries, particularly John Grisham, which will allow me to carry such literary treats as those of Ron Rash, Travis Mulhouser, Kim Church, David Payne, Kathryn Schwille, David Joy, Raymond Barfield, Angela Davis-Gardner.

"For every Jan Karon and Pat Conroy, I could include a shelf of NC history books.

"I would keep a pot of coffee brewing. I would include couches and wing chairs, and I would cater to neighborhood cats."

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.

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.

 

CHARLOTTE—At the North Carolina Writers' Network 2018 Fall ConferenceBetsy Thorpe of Betsy Thorpe Literary Services will lead the business track session "Understanding the Players in the Book World" and serve as a reviewer for Manuscript Mart.

Fall Conference runs November 2-4, at the Hilton Charlotte University Place. Registration is now open.

Betsy Thorpe has been in the book publishing business since graduating from college. She has worked as an editor at Atheneum Publishers (Simon & Schuster), HarperCollins, Broadway Books (Random House), and John Wiley & Sons. She opened up her own literary services company in 2000, where she has guided many authors to publication, and ghost-written many books, some of which have appeared on Oprah, People magazine, and The New York Times. Betsy lives in Charlotte with her two teenage daughters and rescue dog, Charlie.

This year, NCWN has been celebrating publishers based in North Carolina, so we asked Betsy 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 Betsy said:

"It’s my dream to start my own publishing house, as well as open a bookstore. I work with so many talented authors, many of who have come this close to getting a publishing deal, so I tell them, 'When I win the lottery, I will publish your book.' (Of course it would help if I actually played the lottery, but my mom raised me to be very thrifty… .) These books are so worthy of a larger audience and more review attention.

"I would call my house The Writer’s Cottage, and would publish pretty much everything a large house publishes: memoir, fiction, nonfiction (health, parenting, cookbooks, self-help), YA, middle grade, and the occasional picture book. I would hire a great staff, and we would have such amazing things like health care benefits, paid vacation time, and 401K matches (freelancers dream of such things).

Oh, and so long as we’re working with a large fortune, I would hire an on-staff therapist, because book publishing is such a stressful business for authors, to not only create books but then to sell them, that we would walk them through the process and encourage good mental health along the way."

You want to get published but have no idea how the industry works. How does a book get picked up by a big publisher? Do you need an agent? What happens if your book is not right for a big publisher—are there alternatives? Regional publishers, university presses? What about these “hybrid” book publishers you might have heard of—what does that even mean? Betsy Thorpe has played a role in many of these places—from working at four out of the five “Big Five” publishers, to working ever-so-briefly as a literary agent (who still gets queries fourteen years later) and helping out regional publishers as well as with self-publishing. Please join her as she gives you an introduction to the industry.

Manuscript Mart provides writers with the opportunity to submit their manuscripts and get feedback from an editor or agent with a leading publisher or literary agency. A one-on-one, thirty-minute session will be scheduled for those who pre-register.

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.

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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