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.

 

ASHEVILLE—Most visitors to Asheville are already aware that Asheville is a foodie haven and a beer drinker's paradise, boasting more breweries per capita than any other city in the country. They also are likely aware of Asheville's countless outdoor opportunities, from hiking to rafting to rock climbing and more.

What they may not know is that Asheville is a music lover's paradise as well, recently named one of the top 10 music destinations in the country by National Geographic Traveler.

The North Carolina Writers' Network 2019 Fall Conference runs November 8-10 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Asheville-Biltmore. Registration is open.

Saturday night's annual banquet will feature the Asheville-based Pan Harmonia, which has been offering world-class chamber music for twenty years. At Fall Conference, Pan Harmonia will present the premiere of a music and poetry fusion work, "Rubble Becomes Art," a triptych of songs composed by Dosia McKay inspired by poetry by North Carolina writers Sally Atkins, Valerie Foote, and Cathy Larson Sky. 

Pan Harmonia travels widely, bringing different arrangements and musicians depending on the venue and program. They partner with a wide-array of community groups and aim to bring music to people of all ages. In 2008, they became the first chamber music group invited to tour with the North Carolina Arts Council’s cARTwheels program. Pan Harmonia created "Fandango, Tango, Huapango," which brought the vibrancy of Latin music, art, and dance to more than 10,000 children across North Carolina.

Click here to view Pan Harmonia's YouTube channel, where you can watch scores of performances.

For anyone with a family, it can be a challenge to attend a weekend conference, especially if that weekend conference is out of town. But with a locale like Asheville, there is fun to be had for the entire family. A November weekend in the mountains, which should allow visitors to catch the tailend of the stunning autumn foilage, should be an easy sell for family members young and old.

NCWN's Fall Conference venue is only steps from terrific shopping at Biltmore Village and the iconic Biltmore Estate.

Pre-registration for the NCWN 2019 Fall Conference ends November 1.

Register here.

For more ideas on what to do in and around the Asheville area, visit www.exploreasheville.com

Sponsors of the North Carolina Writers’ Network 2019 Fall Conference include the Blue Ridge Level Sponsor, UNC Asheville's Great Smokies Writing Program, as well as Asheville FM 103.3; the Flatiron Writers Room; the North Carolina Arts Council; the North Carolina Humanities Council; Alice Osborn: Author/Book Coach/Editor; Smoky Mountain LivingThe Thomas Wolfe MFA Program in Creative Writing at Lenoir-Rhyne University Asheville; Katie Winkler and Teach.Write.; and WNCW 88.7.

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—The North Carolina Writers’ Network calls this “The Writingest State”—all of it, Manteo to Murphy, Calabash to Crumpler. We find and welcome writers from all parts of North Carolina, with no city or region holding a monopoly on literary talent or output.

But we have to admit: Good writers sure are thick on the rocky ground of the mountains, to which the Network’s Fall Conference returns this year.

The NCWN 2019 Fall Conference runs November 8-10 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Asheville-Biltmore.

Register here.

Asheville and the surrounding mountains offer a true bounty for the literary arts. Authors who led master classes in 2015, the last time the Network held its Fall Conference in Asheville, will be leading single sessions this year, not replaced but graciously making room for other talented instructors. Even with agents and editors, award-winning authors, and a former NC Poet Laureate on faculty, the Fall Conference line-up represents only a sampling of Asheville’s abundant literary culture.

New York Times bestselling author Ron Rash will give the Keynote Address.

Rash is the author of the 2009 PEN/Faulkner finalist and New York Times bestseller Serena and Above the Waterfall, in addition to four prizewinning novels: The Cove, One Foot In Eden, Saints at the River, and The World Made Straight; five collections of poems; and six collections of stories, among them Burning Bright, which won the 2010 Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award, and Chemistry and Other Stories, which was a finalist for the 2007 PEN/Faulkner Award. Twice the recipient of the O. Henry Prize, he teaches at Western Carolina University. 

On Saturday morning, the North Carolina Humanities Council will present the winner of the Linda Flowers Literary Award during the “All Stories Connect” breakfast panel.

In an embarrassment of riches, Saturday’s Luncheon will feature former North Carolina Poet Laureate Joseph Bathanti and a special reading from Brothers Like These. Brothers Like These is comprised of stories and poems written by Vietnam combat veterans in Classroom B, an out-of-the-way room in the basement of the Charles George VA Medical Center in Asheville. Under Bathanti’s guidance, they gathered to write every Wednesday for almost two years. These are stories and poems, large and small, funny and heartbreaking, that only these men can relate in their own inimitable styles—stories and poems not just invaluable to succeeding generations of soldiers, but to every citizen of our country, and beyond.

Saturday Night’s Annual Banquet features Asheville’s home-grown music collective, Pan Harmonia, who, in celebration of their 20th season, will offer the premiere of a music and poetry fusion work, “Rubble Becomes Art,” a triptych of songs composed by Dosia McKay inspired by poetry by North Carolina writers Sally Atkins, Valerie Foote, and Cathy Larson Sky.

Sunday morning will once again offer the popular “Agents & Editors” panel. The weekend also features beloved programming such as faculty readings, open mics, and an exhibit hall packed with vendors, including the official conference booksellers, Malaprop’s.

There might be some classes happening too.

Master Classes will be led by Abigail DeWitt, Jeremy B. Jones, and the poets Nickole Brown and Jessica Jacobs.

Abigail DeWitt, who will lead “Body & Soul—Studies in Character Development: Fiction,” is the author of three novels including News of Our Loved Ones, chosen as an Editor’s Choice by BookBrowse and the Historical Novel Society.

Other fiction sessions include “Pre-Writing Is a Matter of Pre-Trusting” with Kevin McIlvoy; “Thievery, Loss, & Scars: A Fiction Workshop” with Heather Newton; and “If You’re Afraid to Write About It, Write About It” with NCWN trustee Tommy Hays.

Jeremy B. Jones will lead the Master Class in Creative Nonfiction, “Exploding Your Drafts.” Jones is a professor at Western Carolina University and 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.

In addition, creative nonfiction writers may take “Power Up the Truth You Tell” with Christine Hale and “The Limits of Perception: Invention & Speculation in CNF” with Tessa Fontaine.

The Master Class in Poetry, “Coming Back to Your Senses,” will be led by Nickole Brown and Jessica Jacobs.

Brown teaches at the Sewanee School of Letters MFA Program and is the author of two poetry collections and the chapbook To Those Who Were Our First Gods, winner of the 2018 Rattle Chapbook Prize. Jacobs is the author of Take Me with You, Wherever You’re Going (Four Way Books) and Pelvis with Distance(White Pine Press), winner of the New Mexico Book Award in Poetry and a finalist for the Lambda Literary and Julie Suk Awards.

Poets may also register for sessions including “Write with the Wolfe—a Poetry/Prose Poetry Rebellion” with Laura Hope-Gill; “Capturing the Persona Poem” with Keith Flynn; "Ekphrasis: Growing Art from Art" (poetry) with Eric Tran; “It Looks Like a Hairball” with Catherine Carter; and “Freedom & the Imagination” with Mildred Barya.

For those who write across genres, or betwixt genres—or for those just looking for more generalized writing sessions—Dale Neal will lead “Why Not Ask?” and Meta Commerse will lead “Story Medicine 2.0.” Also, Alli Marshall, Kevin Evans, Lockie Hunter, and Steve Shell will sit on the panel, “Writing Out Loud.”

If you feel you’ve got a manuscript ready to take to market, or you’ve already published and want to know how to maximize sales, plenty of sessions will focus on the business of books. Gold Leaf Literary Services will walk registrants through “The Elements of the Industry”; Meg Reid, the director of Hub City Press, will let authors know “What Writers Should Know about Book Design”; Catherine Campbell will teach how to “Write Your Best Agent Query Letter”; Luke Hankins, founder and editor at Orison Books, will lead “The Ins and Out of Small Press Publishing”; and Anne Fitten Glenn will offer “Creative Ways to Promote Your Book (and Yourself).”

Writers for stage and screen can sign up for “Screenplay: Fake vs. Fiction” with Maryedith Burrell and “Improv’s Increasing Role in Comedy Writing” with Tom Chalmers.

Screenwriters may also apply for the Elliot Bowles Screenwriters Scholarship, which the Network will again offer in 2019. This scholarship will allow up to four screenwriters to attend the NCWN 2019 Fall Conference, provide two-nights’ lodging at the conference, and give each recipient a complimentary one-year membership with the Network. Any North Carolina resident who has written an unproduced/unoptioned screenplay may apply for the Elliott Bowles Screenwriting Scholarship.

The Network also will offer again the Mary Belle Campbell Scholarships to poets who teach, which will cover conference registration for up to three poets who teach full-time.

Sponsors of the North Carolina Writers’ Network 2019 Fall Conference include a Blue Ridge Level Sponsor, UNC Asheville's Great Smokies Writing Program, as well as Asheville FM 103.3; the Flatiron Writers Room; the North Carolina Arts Council; the North Carolina Humanities Council; Alice Osborn: Author/Book Coach/Editor; Smoky Mountain LivingThe Thomas Wolfe MFA Program in Creative Writing at Lenoir-Rhyne University Asheville; Katie Winkler and Teach.Write.; and WNCW 88.7.

Pre-registration closes November 1. 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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