NC Literary Hall of Fame




GREENVILLE—Alex Albright will lead the Creative Nonfiction workshop at the NCWN 2019 Squire Summer Writing Workshops, July 18-21, at East Carolina University, in Greenville.

He's a lauded writer and beloved educator. He's also the owner of the R.A. Fountain General Store in downtown Fountain.

Described as a "regional cultural hub," the store sells vinyls, books, and other "knick-knacks," but it doesn't keep regular hours. Instead, it often serves as a musical venue for a range of genres, primarily bluegrass. Albright, along with his wife Elizabeth, purchased the general store and re-opened it in 2004. The hope was to bring people back to the downtown. Now the venue has an international reputation.

According to a profile on the website of the NC Folklore Society, Albright was on his way back to Greenville in the mid-1990s when he passed through Fountain and noticed "For Sale" sign on the eighty-year-old Smith-Yelverton building, which had been on the market so long that the realtors had given up sales promotion a dozen years before. Upstairs in the 110 by 35 foot space, Alex saw sunlight flooding from tall windows across 'the most gorgeous sight—all that old wood.' He thought, 'If the roof is okay in this building, then my life is going to somehow change.'"

Although the economy has changed since the early nineties, and the price of gas has gone up and come down and gone up again, the store persists as a "combination of antique store, bookstore, music store, cafe, and concert hall, with salvaged church pews and theater seats, and a varied collection of chairs. The rolling ladder for stocking shelves [is] still there, now with the mostly local current stock of music recordings, NC-authored books, jams and jellies, honey, homemade ice cream, glass-bottled sodas, and crafts."

It's this commitment to community that has kept at the forefront of North Carolina's literary scene: he founded the North Carolina Literary Review in 1991 and retired from ECU in 2018.

At the NCWN 2019 Squire Summer Writing Workshops, Albright will lead the class, "Dramatic Plot Not Required."

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.

Each registrant should be ready to handle the intensive instruction and atmosphere of the workshop.

The Squire Summer Writing Workshops offer a limited number of attendees the chance to spend fifteen hours studying one genre with one instructor in a small-group setting, along with ample time to attend programs and readings, write, reflect, and dine with one another. In other words, the chance to live a literary life, at least for one long weekeend.

More info here.

Attendance is capped at forty. Pre-registration ended on July 3.

Alex Albright developed one of the first creative nonfiction curriculums in the U.S. while teaching at East Carolina University, where he also founded the North Carolina Literary Review. A Graham native, he earned degrees in English and journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an MFA from UNC Greensboro, where he studied with Fred Chappell. His book The Forgotten First: B-1 and the Integration of the Modern Navy was a 2014 Montaigne Medal finalist. In 2015, the NCLR established the Alex Albright Award for Creative Nonfiction. His recent publicatons include “Langston Hughes in Reno” in Nevada Magazine; “Carolina Bluegrass Band: Getting Good Grades from Russell Johnson” in Bluegrass Unlimited; “On Bohemian Bluegrass, Beer, Some Barbecue and a Few Weeks in Prague” in storySouth; and “Mose McQuitty’s Band and Minstrel Days, 1899-1937” in Bandwagon, which won the 2017 Stuart Thayer Prize for Best Publication on Circus History. He lives in Fountain and with his wife, Elizabeth, operates Fountain General Store; they were co-recipients of the 2012 Brown-Hudson Award from the NC Folklore Society.

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


GREENVILLE—"I teach because writing isn’t easy, and I wish I’d had someone to mentor me when I started out," says Emily Colin, who'll lead the fiction workshop at the North Carolina Writers' Network 2019 Squire Summer Writing WorkshopsJuly 18-21, on the campus of East Carolina University in Greenville.

"I teach because my first creative writing professor was cruel, and discouraged me from writing fiction for over a decade," she says. "I vowed to do everything I could to help other writers, so they’d never have to feel the way I did in his class: As if their voice didn’t matter."

The Squire Summer Writing Workshops offer a limited number of attendees the chance to spend fifteen hours studying one genre with one instructor in a small-group setting, along with ample time to attend programs and readings, write, reflect, and dine with one another. In other words, the chance to live a literary life, at least for one long weekeend.

Register here.

Emily Colin will lead the fiction workshop, "Writing Fiction that Resonates with Your Readers."

The core of this workshop, to which attendees will return again and again, will be their own work. They 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. They’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 their own writing as well as that of others, participants will pay attention to what makes certain authors so good at what they do . . . and then sharpen your prose to reflect these discoveries. They'll try their hand at new, short fiction in response to what they’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 their niche in an ever-evolving industry.

Each registrant should be ready to handle the intensive instruction and atmosphere of the workshop.

"I teach because it gives me joy to share what I’ve learned with others—and to learn from them along the way," Emily explains. "I teach to create a safe space for students to share their ideas, to listen and to be heard, to create community and confidence. As the great Albus Dumbledore once said, 'Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open.'"

Emily Colin is The New York Times bestselling author of The Memory Thief, selected as a Target Emerging Authors Pick, and The Dream Keeper’s Daughter (Ballantine Books), which Publisher's Weekly called "a splendid mix of romantic yearning, time travel, and moving on after grief." She is also the editor of the young adult anthology Wicked South and the author of the upcoming Seven SinsYA trilogy, both from Goldenjay Books.

A former independent bookseller, Emily has served as an editor for both magazines and small presses. She was the co-founder of Carolina Women's Partnership, an imprint of Coastal Carolina Press through which she published two books featuring women leaders throughout North Carolina. Emily is a recipient of the 2018 GFWC-NC Lucy Bramlett Patterson Award for Excellence in Creative Writing and the 2017 North Carolina Sorosis Award for Excellence in Creative Writing. A fervent believer in paying it forward, Emily served as a 2017 Pitch Wars Writing Mentor and is a 2019 TeenPit Mentor. Her diverse life experience includes organizing a Coney Island tattoo and piercing show, hauling fish at the Dolphin Research Center in the Florida Keys, and roaming New York City as an itinerant teenage violinist. When she’s not writing, you can find her reading anything with a good love story; traveling; drinking too much coffee; and hanging out with her son, whose hair changes color as regularly as his moods.

Additional workshops include Creative Nonfiction led by Alex Albright and Poetry led byLenard D. Moore.

Registration for the Squire Summer Writing Workshops is open. Register now.


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