GREENSBORO, NC--The Network will host its annual Spring Conference at the campus of the University of North Carolina-Greensboro on April 28. Nonfiction writers can choose a full-day nonfiction workshop with Randall Kenan titled, "'What Did You Say?': Dialogue Matters in Nonfiction", or attend two half-day workshops: "A Nonfiction Story: From Idea to Book" with Justin Catanoso and "Writing the Natural World" with Paul Bogard.
Here are the course descriptions:
“What Did You Say?”: Dialogue Matters in Nonfiction (All-Day Nonfiction) with Randall Kenan
A tension has always existed between nonfiction (factual) writing and the siren call of fiction, where the writer can make the characters say whatever we like. How do we capture quality, telling speech from real people without crossing the line into “invention”? What is good dialogue? Dialogue is first and foremost about characterization. We will examine the concepts of subtext, “Amurican” English, of spelling and of phonetics. How does one develop a good ear? In workshop we will be closely reading brief samples from recognized masters of nonfiction writing—Joseph Mitchell, Joan Didion, John McPhee, and others. Participants are asked to bring a page or two from their work involving reported speech. Recommended reading: Up In the Old Hotel by Joseph Mitchell.
A Nonfiction Story: From Idea to Book with Justin Catanoso
In this session, journalist and author Justin Catanoso will take you through the process of producing a nonfiction book: developing the idea, working with an agent, obtaining a publisher, and doing the work necessary to write a 350-page manuscript in 15 months. In Catanoso’s case, the result was his first book, a family memoir published by HarperCollins in 2008. This interactive session will also share such documents as the book proposal, outlines, and note cards used to organize each section of each chapter, and examples of edited chapters.
Writing the Natural World with Paul Bogard
In this workshop we will explore writing about the natural world. No matter what genre you write most, a careful and colorful representation of the natural world can add life and credibility to your work. We will look at a few examples of nature writing and environmental writing, then try our hand at some of the techniques we've talked about. While our focus will be on creative nonfiction literature, writers of fiction and poetry can benefit as well from learning new ways of incorporating an attention to the natural world into their work.
Paul Bogard is the author of The Geography of Night: Discovering Darkness in an Age of Light (Little, Brown, 2013) and the editor of Let There Be Night: Testimony on Behalf of the Dark (2008). His essays have appeared in such places as Creative Nonfiction, River Teeth, Gettysburg Review, Audubon, and Outside. He teaches writing at Wake Forest University.
Justin Catanoso became senior lecturer and director of journalism at Wake Forest University in September 2011. He has had a thirty-year career as a professional journalist at newspapers in Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and North Carolina, including eleven years as a reporter with the Greensboro News & Record, where he received a Pulitzer Prize nomination in 1992 for his investigative reporting into fraud in the tobacco industry. He was founding executive editor of The Business Journal in the Triad, which started publishing in 1998. In 2008, HarperCollins published his first book, a family memoir titled My Cousin the Saint: A Search for Faith, Family, and Miracles, a Book of the Month Club selection, and a summer reading pick by the Order Sons of Italy in America.
Randall Kenan 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; a young adult biography of James Baldwin; and a collection of stories, Let the Dead Bury Their Dead, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Recently he edited and wrote the introduction for The Cross of Redemption: The Uncollected Writings of James Baldwin. Among his awards are a Guggenheim Fellowship, the John Dos Passos Prize, a Whiting Writers Award, the North Carolina Award, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters’ Rome Prize. He is associate professor of English and Comparative Literature at UNC-Chapel Hill.
Full faculty bios can be viewed on the conference webpage. The 2012 Spring Conference also offers workshops in fiction, poetry, children's publishing, and tutorials for authors. Registration is available online or by calling 336-293-8844.
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.