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"Writing the New South is a brilliant, exciting, and NECESSARY project---sign me up, count me in! The 'New South' is a cauldron of change, a fertile field of art, a proving ground  for new possibilities.  I can't wait to see what everyone has to say, and in what genres. This is a real opportunity for us all to deepen our understanding of where we live, who we are, and what we believe in."

--Lee Smith

 

Like it or not, North Carolinians are living in momentous times.

The state is home to two of the world’s largest military bases, as wars continue in Iraq and Afghanistan. The state was home to two of the nation’s largest banks, until one was sold to keep it from collapsing. The state once known as a bulwark for Republican presidential candidates voted Democratic in a record-setting election.

A state long known for explosive growth is in danger of losing jobs and population. A state long Red turned Blue, and elected its first female governor.

While no one can predict what will happen, every North Carolinian can and should record what has happened, and how it felt as it happened – especially North Carolina’s writers. It has been said that one cannot spit in North Carolina without hitting a writer. Here is an opportunity for all those writers to do something for the people of this state, something that can provide understanding and perhaps even comfort during these tumultuous times.

With the coming of the New Year, the North Carolina Writers’ Network will launch a program called “Writing the New South,” offering its members a platform to record and share their experiences and interpretations of living in North Carolina as North Carolina changes dramatically.

“Whether they do so through essays, short stories, poetry, or even letters or journals, we want our members to grapple with what’s going on in the state and in the world,” Ed Southern, executive director of the North Carolina Writers’ Network, said. “We are North Carolina writers living in a historic moment for North Carolina. We need to be writing about what’s happening around us, to us, to our families and friends and neighbors.”

The Network has created a special section on its website – http://www.ncwriters.org/features/writing-the-new-south - for submissions to Writing the New South. Network members can upload their poems, stories, essays, or other submissions. Each submission will be reviewed by qualified editors, and the best of the submissions will be displayed online. The Network is also in discussions to have the submissions compiled and published in book form.

“We’re looking for submissions, in whatever genre, that will approach the world around us with imagination, depth, and responsibility,” Southern said.

The first Writing the New South work, by award-winning novelist (and Network member) Lee Smith, is a “postcard” from Hillsborough, where Smith lives.

“Writing the New South is a brilliant, exciting, and necessary project … The ‘New South’ is a  cauldron of change, a fertile field of art, a proving ground  for new possibilities,” Smith said. “I can’t wait to see what everyone has to say, and in what genres. This is a real opportunity for us all to deepen our understanding of where we live, who we are, and what we believe in.”

Southern said, “In the tradition of the New Deal-era WPA Writers’ Project, the goal of Writing the New South is to show the essential and public value of our writers, while creating a record of, and a frame for understanding, our times.”


 

 “Writing the New South” Submission Guidelines

 

-       Authors must be current members of the North Carolina Writers’ Network.

-       Submissions must be no longer than 5,000 words.

-       Submissions may be in any genre: fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, drama, journalism, etc.

-       Submissions must deal with one (or both) of two themes:

1.       Current or recent events of historical significance (for example: gas shortage of fall 2008, 2008 election, 2008 financial crisis, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, etc.) as they relate to life in present-day North Carolina;

2.      Snapshots of life in a particular city or region of North Carolina, in 500 words or less.

-       Submissions do not have to be objective; however, submissions may not proselytize or attempt to convert readers to any particular viewpoint, political affiliation, or religion.

-       Submissions must be original and unpublished.

-       The Network reserves the right to reject any submission.

-       Accepted submissions will be considered for publication in a possible anthology.  By submitting their work to Writing the New South, authors agree to execute whatever steps are necessary in the event that their work is selected for such an anthology.

 

 

 

About the North Carolina Writers’ Network

 

Founded in 1985, the nonprofit North Carolina Writers’ Network is one of the largest statewide literary arts organization in the country. The mission of the North Carolina Writers’ Network is to connect, promote, and lead emerging writers and established writers through workshops, conferences, and other programs and services. The Network builds audiences for literature, advocates for the literary arts and for literacy, and provides information and support services for writers of all kinds and at all levels.

Talking at the Table: Food Writing in the New SouthProminent southern food writers, cookbook authors and culinary instructors will gather to share favorite stories and insights into food traditions of the South February 15 in Chapel Hill. The public is invited.

The North Carolina Writers’ Network is sponsoring the event, which will also include live bluegrass music and southern dishes.

Tickets are $50, with proceeds going to support the work of the Writers’ Network. Register here.

The panel discussion will be held from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. at the Horace Williams House at 610 Rosemary St. in Chapel Hill. Speakers will include:

  • John Shelton Reed and Dale Volberg Reed, authors of Holy Smoke: The Big Book of North Carolina Barbecue.
  • Bill Smith, head chef at Crook’s Corner restaurant in Chapel Hill and author of Seasoned in the South.
  • Debbie Moose, former News & Observer food editor and author of Wings: More Than 50 High-Flying Recipes for America’s Favorite Snack.
  • Marcie Cohen Ferris, author of Matzoh Ball Gumbo: Culinary Tales of the Jewish South.
  • Sheri Castle, culinary instructor and contributor to Cornbread Nation 3.

The panel will be moderated by diet and health columnist Suzanne Havala Hobbs.

The authors will be available to sign books sold at the event.

Tickets are available at Market Street Books in Southern Village, Chapel Hill; by calling (919) 251-9140; or by visiting the North Carolina Writers’ Network online at http://www.ncwriters.org/.

Discounted annual membership rates are available at the event to first-time NCWN members for $55, or $20 off the regular rate.

The nonprofit North Carolina Writers’ Network is our state’s oldest and largest literary arts services organization devoted to writers at all stages of development.

For additional information, visit http://www.ncwriters.org/.

More than 250 writers, editors, and publishing agents will gather November 14 – 16 for the annual North Carolina Writers’ Network Fall Conference, one of the country’s largest conferences dedicated to the art and business of writing.

Registration for this year’s conference, to be held at the Hilton Raleigh-Durham Airport in Research Triangle Park, is now open at the Network’s website, www.ncwriters.org.

This year’s conference will feature a keynote address by North Carolina novelist and poet Ron Rash, author of the new novel Serena, as well as the award-winning One Foot in Eden and The World Made Straight.  The yet-to-be-named Piedmont Laureate, a new position for the Triangle area, will read at the Saturday luncheon.

More than 25 writers will lead workshops, master classes, and panel discussions in topics ranging from understanding how writers can use the Internet to understanding publishing contracts; from writing poems with presence to turning family stories into drama for the stage.

The conference will also again offer the popular Manuscript Mart, Critiquing Service, and Speed Pitching sessions, in which registrants can discuss their unpublished works with book professionals.

The conference faculty includes authors Paul Cuadros, Marjorie Hudson, Randall Kenan, Zelda Lockhart, and Travis Mulhauser; playwright Gary Carden; poets Stuart Dischell, John Amen, and Alex Grant; speculative fiction writer and N.C. State professor John Kessel; memoirist Melissa Delbridge; and mystery author Vicki Lane.

Agents and editors at the conference will include Emmanuelle Alspaugh of Judith Ehrlich Literary Management, Rita Rosencranz of Rita Rosencranz Literary Agency, Kathie Bennett of Magic Time Literary Agents, Stephen Kirk of John F. Blair, Publisher, Amy Rogers of Novello Festival Press, and Kevin Watson of Press53.

The annual banquet on Saturday night will precede the first Network Town Hall Meeting, a chance for members to share their thoughts on the direction and activities of the N.C. Writers’ Network.

“The Fall Conference represents the single most important mission of the North Carolina Writers’ Network: bringing our state’s many writers together to improve their craft, share their ideas, and join in the literary community,” executive director Ed Southern said.

Registration for the Fall Conference is not limited to members of the Network, or even to writers from North Carolina.  Anyone with an interest in writing can sign up online, or by calling the Network at (704) 246-6314 or (919) 251-9140.

 
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