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GREENSBORO, NC—What do a multi-genre, serial award winner; a former Piedmont Laureate; and the creative nonfiction editor for storySouth have in common? All three will be leading creative nonfiction workshops at the North Carolina Writers' Network 2013 Spring Conference, Saturday, April 13, in the MHRA Building at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Judy Goldman will lead an all-day workshop titled "Writing Personal Essays and Memoir: Transforming Memories into Narrative." In this workshop (geared to both beginning and advanced writers), you’ll learn how to transform your experiences and memories into a narrative readers are interested in. For those of you who want to begin, but the way in seems shadowy, you'll discuss how to embark: what to put in your essay or memoir, what to leave out, where to start, how to shape the story. For those of you already immersed in the writing, Judy will encourage you to push all the way to the end of a first draft, no matter how awkward it feels. For those of you who’ve completed essays or a memoir, you'll discuss how to read your pages analytically and diagnostically, how to fix problems so that the writing is as good as you can make it and your story holds together.

Former Piedmont Laureate Scott Huler will lead a half-day creative nonfiction session in the morning. Titled "Nonfiction in a Stupid Golden Age," Huler's workshop will range widely over the territory and address topics such as:

  • the difference between fiction and nonfiction, and how to be absolutely sure you're on solid ground;
  • how to connect so that you have at least a chance at scraping together something like a living in the explosively growing world of nonfiction storytelling; and
  • how to conquer writer's block once and for all (hint: you will not like the method).

 

In the afternoon, Cynthia Nearman will lead a workshop titled, "Creating Images with Nonfiction." This workshop is designed to engage and invigorate participants’ approaches to the smallest yet most essential elements of nonfiction storytelling: sensory images and concrete details, objects and actions. First, you’ll look briefly at vivid scenes from recently published essays, paying careful attention to the connection between concrete details and characters’ desires, and between descriptions of actions and objects and larger meanings or ideas. The main focus will be on what it means to "think from within images" as we generate and revise your own nonfiction prose. You’ll practice strategies for discovering and selecting images that do "double duty"—i.e., concrete detail and sensory information that works organically to create living, moving pictures resonant with meaning.

Judy Goldman has published two novels, two books of poetry, and a memoir, Losing My Sister. Her work has won the Sir Walter Raleigh Fiction Award, Mary Ruffin Poole Award for First Fiction, Gerald Cable Poetry Prize, Roanoke-Chowan Prize, Zoe Kincaid Brockman Prize, and Oscar Arnold Young Prize. She received the Hobson Prize For Distinguished Achievement in Arts and Letters, the Fortner Writer and Community Award for Outstanding Generosity to Other Writers and the Larger Community, and the Beverly D. Clark Author Award from Queens University. An excerpt from Losing My Sister appeared in Real Simple magazine and Drafthorse, an online journal. She has written book reviews for The Washington Post and The Charlotte Observer, and craft articles for The Writer. Her commentaries have aired on public radio in Charlotte and Chapel Hill.

Scott Huler is a nonfiction generalist who has written everything from newspaper and magazine stories to books, produced radio pieces and essays, and produced video work for a wide variety of on- and offline enterprises. He has written for newspapers including the New York Times, Washington Post, Philadelphia Daily News, and the Raleigh News & Observer, and for magazines such as ESPN the Magazine, Backpacker, Our State, and Walter. His radio work has been heard on NPR’s All Things Considered and Day to Day, and on Marketplace and The Splendid Table on American Public Media. The most recent of his six books was On the Grid, about the infrastructure that makes our modern lives possible, published in 2010. He also has served as Piedmont Laureate for the Triangle and surrounding areas.

Cynthia Nearman teaches in the English Department and the Writing Program at Guilford College in Greensboro. Since 2009, she’s served as creative nonfiction editor for storySouth. She writes flash nonfiction, cultural commentary (rants, really), and experiments with lyric essays.

For more information, or to register for the North Carolina Writers' Network 2013 Spring Conference, visit www.ncwriters.org or call 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.

 

 
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