NC Literary Hall of Fame

 

 

Online

April 22-24

 
UNC Greensboro  

The North Carolina Writers' Network, the UNC-Greensboro MFA Program in Creative Writing, and the Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County bring you two evenings and one full day of classes, workshops, and conversations on the craft and business of writing fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction—entirely online. 

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FEES AND DEADLINES | SCHEDULE-AT-A-GLANCE | LUNCH WITH AN AUTHOR | MASTER CLASS | FULL CONFERENCE SCHEDULE WITH COURSE DESCRIPTIONS | FACULTY BIOGRAPHIES


Fees and Deadlines

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Registration ends at 9:00 A.M. on Monday, April 19.

Registration Fees: PAY WHAT YOU CAN

Because this will be a Spring Conference like no other, following 12 months like no other, we invite you to pay whatever registration fee makes you comfortable.

Each registration option (see below) will list a suggested fee, but registrants will be able to choose their own amount. Amounts paid above the suggested fee will be considered tax-deductible donations, and will be used to cover conference costs.

Day-of registration will not be available. You must register in advance.

Registration Options:

  • Master Class (Thursday & Friday, April 22 - 23)
    Choose One: _ Creative Nonfiction _ Fiction _Poetry
    Suggested Fee: $50
  • All-Day Conference (Saturday, April 24)
    Suggested Fee: $100

You can join the Network when you register:

$80 standard 1-year membership
$60 reduced membership (senior 65+, full-time student, writers under 30, writers with disabilities)
$140 2-year membership
$110 2-year reduced membership
$140 household 1-year membership

Scholarships

Scholarships are unnecessary for a conference whose registration fee is “pay what you can.” Can you pay $5? $1? $0? Cool, come join us.

Cancellations

Cancellations must be made in writing and arrive at the Network office (via USPS or e-mail) by 4:00 pm, Thursday, April 15, for you to receive a refund, less 25 percent. Send request to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For Writers with Special Needs

Closed captioning will be available for all registrants.

Deadlines

  • April 9: Deadline for Master Class registration (see guidelines)
  • April 15: Deadline to receive a refund for cancellation
  • April 19: Deadline to register
  • April 22-24: Spring Conference in session

E-Packets

The Network will send to all Online Spring Conference 2021 registrants and faculty an E-Packet prior to April 22. The E-Packet will contain all the usual conference packet materials in the form of a PDF that registrants can print or download to a device.

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Schedule-at-a-Glance

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Thursday, April 22
7:00-8:30 pm (Online)

Creative Nonfiction Master Class, Part 1
Creating Presence: Voice in CNF with Eric G. Wilson
**Closed**

Fiction Master Class, Part 1
Writing Effective Dialog with Valerie Nieman
**Closed**
Sponsored by Press 53

Poetry Master Class, Part 1
Poetry with Emilia Phillips
**Closed**

Friday, April 23
7:00-8:30 pm (Online) Creative Nonfiction Master Class, Part 2
Creating Presence: Voice in CNF with Eric G. Wilson
**Closed**

Fiction Master Class, Part 2
Writing Effective Dialog with Valerie Nieman
**Closed**
Sponsored by Press 53

Poetry Master Class, Part 2
Poetry with Emilia Phillips
**Closed**
Saturday, April 24
10:30 am - 12:00 pm (Online)

Session I

Authors as Entrepreneurs (All Genres) with Terry Kennedy and Ross White

Dramatic Tension and the Core of Hope vs. Fear (Fiction) with Zelda Lockhart

How to Read Your Work to Others (Poetry) with Joseph Mills
Sponsored by Press 53

12:00-1:00 pm (Online) Online Picnic Social Hour - for all registrants
1:00-2:00 pm (Online) Faculty Readings
Sponsored by Plottr
2:30-4:00 pm (Online)

Session II

Authors as Entrepreneurs (All Genres) with Terry Kennedy and Ross White

Form and Freedom (Poetry) with Ashley Lumpkin

Writing Trauma (Creative Nonfiction) with James Tate Hill

4:00-5:00pm

Open Mic Readings - Online pre-registration required; no day-of registration

 

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Master Class

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Master Classes offer advanced writers a chance to delve more deeply into a particular genre. Each Master Class will take place on Zoom, over the evenings of Thursday and Friday, April 22 and 23, and will be limited to the first 10 qualified registrants.

While publication credits are not required, Master Class participants should be experienced writers, dedicated to their craft. Registrants will need access to a reliable and stable Internet connection, and a device with a webcam and microphone, in order to participate fully. Applications will be reviewed, and qualified registrants admitted, on a rolling basis, until the deadline of Friday, April 9.

Please submit your current CV, along with the required manuscript (see each Master Class’s course description, below, for its manuscript requirements), to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., on the day you register for the Spring Conference. You cannot be considered for a Master Class until we receive your CV and required manuscript. Again, the deadline to apply for a Master Class is Friday, April 9.

 

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Full Conference Schedule with Course Descriptions

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Thursday, April 22
Online

7:00–8:30 pm Master Classes

Creative Nonfiction Master Class, Part 1
Creating Presence: Voice in Creative Nonfiction
with Eric G. Wilson
**Closed**
Without a strong voice, prose, no matter how stylistically felicitous, feels generic, institutional, and bloodless. Animated with an engaging persona, the same words spring into an essay: idiosyncratic, imaginative, vibrant. But while essential for powerful creative nonfiction, voice is notoriously difficult to define. Sure, we say it is the personality of the writer, the unique presence, the controlling consciousness, the point of view, the constructed “I” behind the “eye,” and so on. These traditional definitions, however, are almost as vague as the term they are meant to clarify. In this workshop, we will do our best to understand voice conceptually and practically. We will discuss how important writers have understood voice as well and how it works in selected essays (including those submitted for this workshop). We will also complete exercises designed to strengthen your voice. You should come away from the session with strategies for creating a more captivating verbal presence and thus more powerful essays.

Please submit up to 1,200 sequential words from a single work, along with your current CV in a separate attachment, on the same day that you register for the conference. Submissions should be saved in an MS Word document, using double-spaced 12-point Times New Roman font, with numbered pages, and sent as an attachment to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The Word document’s file name should include your own last name, and the title of the work and your name should appear on the submission itself. If accepted into the Master Class, your submitted work will be shared with other Master Class registrants.

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

Fiction Master Class, Part 1
Writing Effective Dialog
with Valerie Nieman
**Closed**
Sponsored by Press 53
Does your dialog crackle? Sing? Does it have the pungency of people chatting or chewing the fat or conversing in real life? We’ll use exemplars of realistic, dramatic, and downright startling dialog, from True Grit to A Clockwork Orange, Hamilton to The Good Lord Bird. We will discuss the uses and abuses of regional accent and dialect, and issues around emulating historical speech. Participants should be prepared to create and share exploratory writing. The second portion of the class will be devoted to workshopping participants’ submissions.

Please submit up to 1,200 sequential words from a single work, along with your current CV in a separate attachment, on the same day that you register for the conference. Submissions should be saved in an MS Word document, using double-spaced 12-point Times New Roman font, with numbered pages, and sent as an attachment to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The Word document’s file name should include your own last name, and the title of the work and your name should appear on the submission itself. If accepted into the Master Class, your submitted work will be shared with other Master Class registrants.

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

Poetry Master Class, Part 1
The Autobiography of the Imagination: Transforming Personal Experience into Dynamic Poetry
with Emilia Phillips
**Closed**
“I am not the ‘I’ / in my poems. ‘I’ / is the net I try to pull me in with,” writes Toi Derricotte. In this class, we’ll go over a brief history of the self as a poetic character, from Dante to 20th-century Confessionalism to the present day, examining closely a few works by poets who have transformed the personal into compelling, multi-layered art through various poetic techniques, especially those related to form and music. We’ll ask ourselves a number of context questions, including “How American is the first person?” and “How can the imagination recast personal experiences?” All writers have probably heard the old writing aphorism, “Show, don’t tell.” We’ll interrogate the universality of such a statement, pondering the situations in which telling has been used to great effect. Participants will scrutinize their own use of the first person, as well as try their hands at writing exercises meant to make their autobiographical poems less journalistic, and more elastic and dynamic.

Please submit three poems, totaling no more than five pages, on the same day that you register for the conference, along with your current CV in a separate attachment. Poems should be saved in a single MS Word document, using single-spaced, 12-point, Times New Roman font, and sent as an attachment to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The Word document’s file name should include your own last name, and your name and the title of each poem should appear on the submission. If accepted into the Master Class, your submitted work will be shared with other Master Class registrants.

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


Friday, April 23
Online

7:00–8:30 pm Master Classes

Creative Nonfiction Master Class, Part 2
Creating Presence: Voice in Creative Nonfiction
with Eric G. Wilson
**Closed**
Continued: See Above

Fiction Master Class, Part 2
Writing Effective Dialog
with Valerie Nieman
**Closed**
Continued: See Above
Sponsored by Press 53

Poetry Master Class, Part 2
The Autobiography of the Imagination: Transforming Personal Experience into Dynamic Poetry
with Emilia Phillips
**Closed**
Continued: See Above


Saturday, April 24
Online

10:30 am Session I

Authors as Entrepreneurs (All Genres) with Terry L. Kennedy and Ross White
With the business models of traditional publishing changing, authors are increasingly being asked to act entrepreneurially. But a publisher’s only concern will be selling books, and there are many other ways authors can build a sustainable living by developing creative businesses and services that serve other writers and change the world. In this session, two arts entrepreneurs will look at business model developed by writers and discuss best practices for starting businesses that benefit both the individual writer and the larger literary community.

Dramatic Tension and the Core of Hope vs. Fear (Fiction) with Zelda Lockhart
In this session, Zelda will lead participant through a fun and enlightening writing exercise from The Soul of the Full-Length Manuscript. This workshop will help you build realistic, authentic dramatic tension for your fictional characters.

How to Read Your Work to Others (Poetry) with Joseph Mills
Sponsored by Press 53
Why does listening to some readers help us more fully understand their work while others make us wish we were anywhere else, even the dentist? What are the elements of a “good reading”? What should someone consider when giving a reading? In this workshop, we’ll talk about what it means to have an audience and what, if any, are your obligations to them. Some topics will include delivery, “poet voice,” poem selections and sequences, forums, and, yes, Zoom.

12:00–1:00 pm Online Picnic Social Hour
A Zoom social hour for all registrants.

1:00–2:00 pm Faculty Readings
Sponsored by Plottr

2:30–4:00 pm Session II

Authors as Entrepreneurs (All Genres) with Terry L. Kennedy and Ross White
With the business models of traditional publishing changing, authors are increasingly being asked to act entrepreneurially. But a publisher’s only concern will be selling books, and there are many other ways authors can build a sustainable living by developing creative businesses and services that serve other writers and change the world. In this session, two arts entrepreneurs will look at business model developed by writers and discuss best practices for starting businesses that benefit both the individual writer and the larger literary community.

Form and Freedom (Poetry) with Ashley Lumpkin
Form and Freedom is an exploration of traditional and more recently created poetic forms. In this generative workshop, participants will explore how forms are developed and the many creative doors opened by adhering to the constraints they provide.

Writing Trauma (Creative Nonfiction) with James Tate Hill
Traumatic experiences can be the hardest to write about, but they are often our richest material. “To bring one’s self to others makes the whole planet less lonely,” writes Mary Karr in The Art of Memoir, but how do we translate pain into writing that might interest an audience beyond our therapist? This course will explore the essential elements of creative nonfiction with a focus on structure, voice, narrative, and the ethics of writing about real people.

4:00–5:00 pm Open Mic 
Sign up during online pre-registration only; there will be no day-of registration or day-of Open Mic sign-up.

 

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Faculty Biographies

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James Tate Hill is the author of a memoir, Blind Man’s Bluff, coming July 2021 from W. W. Norton. His essays have been listed as Notable in the 2019 and 2020 editions of Best American Essays, and he won the Nilsen Prize for a First Novel for Academy Gothic. He serves as fiction editor for the literary journal Monkeybicycle and contributing editor for Literary Hub, where he writes a monthly audiobooks column. He lives in Greensboro with his wife.

Terry L. Kennedy  is the author of the poetry collection New River Breakdown. His work appears in a variety of journals and magazines and has been anthologized in Gracious: Poems from the 21st Century South, Hard Lines: Rough South Poetry and The Southern Poetry Anthology Volume VII: North Carolina, among others. He currently serves as the Director of the Graduate Program in Creative Writing at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro and as Editor for both The Greensboro Review and the online journal, storySouth. Follow him online at @terrylkennedy.

Zelda Lockhart holds a PhD in Expressive Arts Therapies, an MA in Literature, and a certificate in writing, directing and editing from the New York Film Academy. Her latest books include Diamond Doris: The True Story of the World’s Most Notorious Jewel Thief by Doris Payne with Zelda Lockhart, and The Soul of the Full-Length Manuscript: Turning Life’s Wounds into the Gift of Literary Fiction, Memoir, or Poetry. Lockhart is author of novels Fifth Born, a Barnes & Noble Discovery selection and a Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Award finalist; Cold Running Creek, a Black Caucus of the American Library Association Honor Fiction Awardee; and Fifth Born II: The Hundredth Turtle, 2011 Lambda Literary Award finalist. She is Director at Her Story Garden Studios: Inspiring Black Women to Self-Define, Heal and Liberate Through the Literary Arts, and Publisher at LaVenson Press: Publishing for Women & Girls of Color. Organizations globally have recognized Dr. Lockhart’s talent as an inspiring teacher, facilitator and public speaker.

Ashley Lumpkin is a Georgia-raised, Carolina-based writer, editor, actor, and educator. She is the author of five poetry collections: {} At First Sight, Second Glance, Terrorism and Other Topics for Tea, #AshleyLumpkin, and Genesis. Her book I Hate You All Equally is a collection of conversations from her years as a classroom teacher. A lover of performance as well as the written word, she has been a competing member of the Bull City Slam Team since 2015 and currently serves as its assistant coach. She is one-fifth (and only Slytherin member) of the Big Dreams Collective and currently serves as a member-at-large on the board of the North Carolina Poetry Society. Above all else, Ashley considers herself a teacher, poet, and fryer of food. She is a lover of mathematics and language. She loves you too.

A faculty member at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Joseph Mills holds an endowed chair, the Susan Burress Wall Distinguished Professorship in the Humanities, and has been honored with a UNC Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching. He has published six collections of poetry with Press 53, including Exit, pursued by a bear which consists of poems triggered by stage directions in Shakespeare. His book This Miraculous Turning earned the North Carolina Roanoke-Chowan Award for Poetry for its exploration of race and family. In 2019, he published his debut collection of fiction, Bleachers, which consists of fifty-four linked pieces that take place during a youth soccer game. He also has edited the collection of film criticism A Century of the Marx Brothers, and with his wife, Danielle Tarmey, he researched and wrote two editions of A Guide to North Carolina’s Wineries. More information about his work is available at www.josephrobertmills.com.

Valerie Nieman’s fourth novel, To the Bones, a folk horror/mystery set in the West Virginia coalfields, appeared in 2019 and has been acclaimed as “a parable of capitalism and environmental degradation.” She is also the author of Neena Gathering, a post-apocalyptic YA set in Appalachia. Her third poetry collection, Leopard Lady: A Life in Verse, takes place amid the grit and glamor of a mid-century carnival. Her work has appeared widely and been included in numerous anthologies. She has held NEA and state writing fellowships. A graduate of West Virginia University and Queens University of Charlotte, she teaches writing at NC A&T State University. Backwater, a YA/crossover thriller set in North Carolina, will be published by Fitzroy Books/Regal House early in 2022.

Emilia Phillips (she/they) is the author of four poetry collections from the University of Akron Press, including Embouchure (2021), and four chapbooks. Winner of a 2019 Pushcart Prize and a 2019–2020 NC Arts Council Fellowship, Phillips’s poems, lyric essays, and book reviews appear widely in literary publications including Agni, American Poetry Review, Gulf Coast, The Kenyon Review, New England Review, The New York Times, Ploughshares, Poetry, and elsewhere. She’s a faculty member in the MFA Writing Program and the Department of English and cross-listed faculty in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program at UNC Greensboro. She’s currently at work on several projects, including: Wound Revisions, a collection of lyric essays; La Dichosa, a fifth collection of poems; and Unlonelied by Poems, a YouTube channel of poetry educational resources.

Ross White is the author of Charm Offensive, winner of the 2019 Sexton Prize, and three chapbooks: How We Came Upon the Colony, The Polite Society, and Valley of Want. He is the director of Bull City Press, an independent publisher of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. He teaches creative writing and grammar at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is the editor of Four Way Review. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in American Poetry Review, New England Review, Ploughshares, Poetry Daily, Tin House, and The Southern Review, among others. Follow him on Twitter: @rosswhite.

Eric G. Wilson is a professor of English at Wake Forest University and author of five works of creative nonfiction: Keep It Fake, How to Make a Soul, Everyone Loves a Good Train Wreck, The Mercy of Eternity: A Memoir of Depression and Grace, and Against Happiness. His essays have appeared in the Portland Review, Hotel Amerika, The Fanzine, Georgia Review, the Virginia Quarterly Review, the Oxford American, The New York Times, The LA Times, Our State, and the Chronicle of Higher Education. He has also published a volume for Muse Books: The Iowa Series in Creativity and Writing, My Business Is to Create: Blake’s Infinite Writing. He recently published a work of fiction, Polaris Ghost. His has a book forthcoming from Penguin, How to Be Weird, a compendium of exercises, meditations, riddles, and drawings.

 

 

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The Online Spring Conference 2021 is made possible with support from the UNC-Greensboro MFA in Creative Writing, the Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County, the North Carolina Arts Council, and Plottr.


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