Skip to content

Summer Writing Opportunities for Youths

Great American Writers’ Camp

If you’re a parent staring down the barrel of the impending summer, wondering how you’re going to entertain your child (or children) for three whole months while school’s out, read on. Here are some writing camps you might want to consider.

The Great American Writers’ Camp
This year marks the 5th birthday of the Great American Writers’ Camp. To celebrate, the camp is adding even more creative writing activities, field trips, and games to their repertoire. From speeches to stories and poems to plays, this camp introduces kids to a wide range of writing styles in fun and interactive ways. The camp’s focus on idea generation and creativity, rather than editing, gives kids a low-stakes environment where they can try out new ideas, befriend peer writers, and let their creative side shine!
When: June 22-27
Where: Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem

Young Women’s Summer Writing Experience (2 Sessions)
Two weeklong writing workshops for young women age 13-18. The objective of the Young Women’s Summer Writing Experience is to offer young women a week where “who they are” is at the root of every expression. Participants utilize inspiration from nature, literature, visual art, music, film and other art forms to inspire their writing. Writing experience not necessary. Each day participants express themselves through innovative writing prompts with Zelda Lockhart, prepare meals from the organic garden, and take a short hike. Each week a guest artist works with participants to blend writing with another art form. Last year participants wrote recipes with Chef LaMana of Culinary Healing, and turned writing into movement with choreographer Aya Shabu of the Magic of African Rhythm.
When: June 22 – July 3
Where: LaVenson Press Studios, 510 Firefly Ridge Ln., Hillsborough

Young Writers Workshop
The Young Writers Workshop (YWW) is an annual five-day camp that brings together up to 45 high school students to study the craft of writing on the UNC Wilmington campus. YWW participants take part in daily creative writing exercises, craft lectures, writing workshops, and readings. The week offers a valuable and exciting experience for young writers interested in learning more about their craft. Although YWW students are asked to submit a work of creative writing in one genre (poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction), they receive instruction in all genres. Participants spend approximately six hours every day in writing exercises, peer workshops, and craft presentations. Students also have time to explore the UNCW campus, visit the bookstore and library, and get to know other young writers.
When: June 23-27
Where: University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Wilmington

Young Writers’ Camp
The attendance requirements for Young Writers’ participants are an enthusiasm for writing and a desire to work to develop writing skills. The curriculum is designed so that students who have average or above-average reading and writing abilities will benefit most from attending the program. Since the camp is academically rigorous, we encourage attendance only for students who are academically motivated and have the ability to manage their time to complete assignments.
When: Three sessions, June-July
Where: Duke University, Durham

Young and Teen Writers’ Workshop

Young and Teen Writers’ Workshops
Sponsored by the English Department within the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and held on NC State University’s campus, the Young and Teen Writers’ Workshops nurture the creative spirit and teach creative writing skills and techniques. These summer afternoon workshops are intended for children and teens who already have a demonstrated interest in writing fiction, poetry, plays, and creative nonfiction or who have an enthusiastic desire to learn more about these kinds of writing.
When: July 6-17 (Young Writers) / July 20-31 (Teen Writers’ Workshop)
Where: NC State University, Raleigh


Young Writers’ Academy
The mission of Young Writers’ Academy LLC is to provide engaging creative writing enrichment opportunities for students that will inspire them to write. We aim to improve their craft and artiface through experiential learning. Our students have a blast creating original work. Several sessions, including essay writing, mystery writing, and nature writing.
When: July 6 – August 4
Where: Providence High School, 1800 Pineville-Matthews Rd., Charlotte

Summer Writing Programs
UNC Asheville’s summer writing program returns this year and includes a session for rising 6th-8th graders as well as the annual summer program for high school students. The program offers each participating student experience in different aspects of writing under the tutelage of Asheville’s finest writing instructors. During the two-week session, students will be able to write, share, and discuss their own work with other area students, culminating in a reading at the end of the second week.
When: July 13-17 (6-8 graders) / July 13-24 (high school)
Where: Owen Hall, Asheville

Summer 2015 Creative Writing for Middleschoolers
Do you know a rising 6th-8th grader interested in writing fiction and poetry this summer? An associate professor of creative writing with extensive experience leading writing workshops with middleschoolers will be hosting six workshops for a small group of middleschool students.
When: Wednesdays, July 22 – August 26, 4:00-5:30 pm
Where: A home near Duke Campus, Durham
Contact: Martha Witt at

Spring Conference Media Coverage

If you’re going to join us on Saturday at Spring Conference, that’s proof you haven’t been living under a rock these past few months. Because the North Carolina Writers’ Network has been in the news, a whole bunch, showcasing our award-winning Executive Director, our talented faculty, and extensive programming dedicated to serving writers at all levels of skills and experience.

Given our record-setting registration numbers, you probably haven’t, but in case you missed it:

And Spring Conference was featured in Raleigh’s The News & Observer, Greensboro’s News & Record, March issues of O.Henry, Pinestraw, and Salt magazines, the Salisbury Post, and the e-newsletters of the Winston-Salem Writers and the Writers’ Group of the Triad (special thanks to those fine folks!).

Tune-in Friday, April 24, to hear the extended interview with Ed Southern on WFDD Triad Arts, part of the Triad Arts Weekend!

On-site registration will be available for Spring Conference beginning at 8:00 am in the lobby of the MHRA Building of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Even if you pre-registered, we recommend getting there early, as the open mic sign-ups are first-come first served.

See you tomorrow!

North Carolina Authors among SIBA Finalists

The Southern Independent Booksellers Association has announced the finalists for the 2015 SIBA Book Award, which recognizes “great southern literature from the last year.”

Included among the finalists are NCWN member and Wilmington resident Wiley Cash, author of This Dark Road to Mercy, which was nominated in the Fiction category.

Also nominated in the Fiction category was Something Rich and Strange by Ron Rash, the Parris Distinguished Professor in Appalachian Cultural Studies at Western Carolina University, in Cullowhee.

The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing, by Farmville’s Sheila Turnage, was nominated in the Children’s category.

The University of North Carolina Press, in Chapel Hill, had two books place as finalists: The Edible South: The Power of Food and the Making of an American Region by Marcie Cohen Ferris (Cooking) and Wayfaring Strangers: The Musical Voyage from Scotland and Ulster to Appalachia by Fiona Ritchie.

For a complete list of 2015 SIBA Book Award finalists, click here.

Finalists will be judged by a juried panel of SIBA booksellers, and winners will be announced on July 4, “Independents Day.”

We’re Saving You a Seat at Spring Conference

© Sylvia Freeman

© Sylvia Freeman

Pre-registration for the North Carolina Writers’ Network 2015 Spring Conference closes Sunday, April 12. If you’ve already registered, thank you!

If you’re planning on joining us but haven’t yet registered, here’s the deal. Registration has moved at an unprecedented clip, and classes have filled up fast. However, there are still spots open in the following sure-to-be excellent workshops:

“Lunch with an Author,” where attendees can skip the lines and dine with an author of their choice, is also filling up. But the following faculty members still have openings:

Of course, all conferencegoers can attend our general sessions in the Curry Auditorium, including the Keynote Address by Jaki Shelton Green, Open Mic readings (which are first-come, first-served for those who want to read), faculty readings, and a brand-new feature for 2015: Slush Pile Live!

Full details are available on the conference webpage.

We don’t recommend waiting to register much longer though. In fact, you might want to go ahead and pre-register right now!

Spring Conference Exhibitors: Part 2

NC Poetry SocietyOn Thursday, we introduced six exhibitors who’ll be joining us for the North Carolina Writers’ Network 2015 Spring Conference, April 18 at UNCG.

Here’s who else will be there:

Since 1932, the North Carolina Poetry Society has existed as an all-volunteer organization especially for poets and friends of poetry. We now have approximately 370 members from North Carolina—and numerous locations beyond. The Poetry Society holds regular meetings three times a year, sponsors several annual contests and workshops, as well as the annual Brockman-Campbell Book Award, recognizing the best book published by a North Carolina poet.

P53 Bar Logo smPress 53 was founded in Winston-Salem in October 2005 by Kevin Morgan Watson and quickly began earning a reputation as a quality publishing house of short fiction and poetry collections. They publish up to five short fiction collections and up to to eight poetry collections each year, including the winners of their annual awards. They also produce Press 53 Classics and Prime Number Magazine, a free online quarterly publication of distinctive poetry and prose.

Raleigh Review is a national non-profit magazine of poetry, short fiction, and art, offering work that is emotionally and intellectually complex without being unnecessarily “difficult.” Raleigh Review believes that great literature inspires empathy by allowing us to see the world through the eyes of our neighbors, whether across the street or across the globe. Their mission is to foster the creation and availability of accessible yet provocative contemporary literature through their biannual magazine as well as through workshops, readings, and other community events.

Second Wind Publishing, LLC, is an independent publishing company located in Winston-Salem. They select well-written, quality books in a variety of genres for publication, including adult, young adult, and children’s books. Their authors include Ann Chandonnet, H.V. Purvis, and Chuck and Heidi Thurston.

Two of Cups Press, based in Greensboro, has a bias for poetry (specifically anthologies and chapbooks). They’re a small operation willing to take on a handful of projects each year, sometimes posting open calls. They want to partner with poets, artists, other small presses. They want to capture magic on paper. They run an annual chapbook contest, where the winner and finalists are considered for publication.

The Creative Writing Department at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro is a two-year residency program with an emphasis on providing students with studio time in which to study the writing of fiction or poetry. As a community of writers, students read and comment on each other’s work under the guidance of resident and visiting faculty, who also meet with students in one-on-one tutorials. The MFA Writing Program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro is one of the oldest such programs in the country. They are the proud publishers of the Greensboro Review.

If you’ve already registered for Spring Conference, thank you! If not, pre-registration closes Sunday, April 12. You can save 30 percent by registering early.

Spring Conference Exhibitors: Part 1

Jan Parker chats with Crystal Simone-Smith, Managing Editor of Backbone Press

Jan Parker chats with Crystal Simone-Smith, Managing Editor of Backbone Press

The North Carolina Writers’ Network 2015 Spring Conference happens Saturday, April 18, in the MHRA Building at UNCG. Along with a full slate of workshops and readings in several genres, Lunch with an Author, and an open mic for conference participants, Spring Conference also offers an exhibit hall packed with vendors representing some of the finest literary organizations in NC.

Here are six exhibitors who’ll be joining us:

Durham-based Backbone Press is a “small press with a big vision.” The chapbooks they publish are a venue for poets of color and poetry that addresses “political, invocative, social, gritty, and also the personal and poignant.” Their authors include Tyree Daye and Daniel Suarez.

Bull City Press, also based in Durham, publishes a small, hand-stitched quarterly magazine, Inch; poetry chapbooks through the Frost Place Chapbook Fellowship; and the Bull City Poetry Prize series. Their authors include Ellen C. Bush and Michael McFee.

Cynthia Lindeman is a writer’s block coach, writers, and “occasional creative visionary.” She creates “rich, innovative, and holistic coaching programs” that take writers from “zero to unstoppable in ninety days or less.” She’s been seen on ABC, NBC, Fox, and in The Great Smokies Review.

Sands Hetherington publishes his Night Buddies adventures through Dune Buggy Press, an “award-winning, innovative series of chapter books for ages seven and up.” Night Buddies revolves around the nighttime adventures of a young boy named John, who is not ready to go to sleep, and a bright red crocodile named Crosley who turns up under John’s bed.

John F. Blair, Publisher, based in Winston-Salem, publishes “regional nonfiction with an emphasis on history, travel, cookbooks, folklore, and biography.” Their authors include Kwame Dawes and Jeremy B. Jones.

The North Carolina Literary Map highlights the literary heritage of North Carolina by “connecting the lives and creative work of authors to real (and imaginary) geographic locations.” Through the development of a searchable and browseable data-driven online map, users are able to access a database, learning tools, and cultural resources, to deepen their understanding of specific authors as well as the cultural space that shaped these literary works.

We’ll highlight six more exhibitors on Thursday!

NC Arts Council Needs Your Input

Wilton Barnhardt invites you to take the survey! © Sylvia Freeman

Wilton Barnhardt invites you to take the survey!
© Sylvia Freeman

North Carolina is an “affordable, livable, artist-friendly state,” thanks in no small part to a plan laid out more than forty years ago by the North Carolina Arts Council:

After decades of vigorous work, experimentation, and refinement, our state’s arts infrastructure reaches into all 100 counties through one of the most highly developed and effective networks of local arts councils in our nation.

Now, the NCAC is looking ahead. They’re asking North Carolina artists to complete an online survey to give feedback about the recently released “draft plan for the arts.

It’s a lot to read, so if you’re crushed for time, artists are specifically addressed in the first goal, “Invest in North Carolina’s Arts and Culture.”

To complete the survey, click here.

It’s worthwhile to read the entire draft, though.

For example, did you know the A+ Schools program, which “uses the arts to teach across the entire curriculum,” has now spread to three other states and “regularly receives national attention from enthusiastic business leaders and educators who testify about its proven ability to enhance creativity in our students”?

Or that North Carolina is home to the greatest number of Native Americans “east of the Mississippi”? It’s no secret that cultural diversity is an asset to the arts, which in turn are an asset to the economy, and help make North Carolina a great place to live.

Good thing it’s almost the weekend. Plenty of time to read the draft and reply to the survey!

Poets & Writers Local App

By R.A. King

Writing, at its center, is a solitary practice. As a result, finding fellow writers can be like digging up members of an underground movement. And while the North Carolina Writers’ Network helps build a literary community in this state, online and through our NC Literary Calendar e-blast, what if you’re traveling and want to find a writing event happening wherever you are?

Poets & Writers—the United States’ largest nonprofit organization for creative writers—has you covered. As the modern saying goes, “If you can think of it, there’s an app for it.”

The P&W Local app shows a plethora of local activities and places for the literary community. From readings and author events, to hidden gem bookstores and poetry slams, the P&W Local app has it all. They even have city guides, where prominent authors take you through a tour of their towns, and show the city in a new light. There are currently only seventeen cities featured, but P&W is working on adding more.

Besides finding wonderful sources and literary locations, P&W is most importantly a place to connect with local writers and readers to get the word out on your writing or create a workshop. When you’re writing, you don’t have to be alone, and the P&W Local app can help you make a literary network of local comrades in arms.

You can download the P&W Local app here.

The P&W Local app is graciously supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Making the Most of a Writing Conference

Leave Your Introverted Self at Home! © Sylvia Freeman

Leave your introverted self at home!      ©Sylvia Freeman


The North Carolina Writers’ Network 2015 Spring Conference is right around the corner. So how to make the most of a day spent on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro?

Sandra Beckwith, a “recovering publicist with more than 25 years of award-winning publicity experience,” runs the website Build Book Buzz. She recently listed eight tips for getting the most out of any writing conference:

1. Make sure you’re selecting a conference that’s a good fit for you.
This is step one, of course, but it’s a very important step one. I don’t write fiction, so it doesn’t make sense for me to register for a conference with an agenda dominated by fiction topics, as so many are. I attend fiction-focused conferences as a speaker and work to get the most out of them by attending as many sessions as I can, but I wouldn’t pay to attend a fiction-based conference. Don’t register for a conference that requires long-distance travel and related expenses until the sessions and speakers are posted. You don’t want to arrive, look over the agenda, and think, “There’s nothing here I need to learn.”

2. Plug in to any and all pre-conference networking.
This will help you begin to develop online connections and relationships that you can solidify on-site and in-person. This is important if you’re going to the conference solo instead of with a writer buddy because it will mean there will be friendly faces there waiting to greet you. Knowing who else plans to attend, whether it’s through the conference Facebook group, listserv, or registrant list provided in advance by organizers helps you decide who you might want to network with, also.

3. Create one or two goals about what you want to get from the conference.
I’ve thought a lot about the goals I need in place before I attend the American Society of Journalists and Authors conference in late April. My first goal is to learn as much as I can from the educational sessions, but it won’t stop there. I also want to identify a few people who might be interested in joining a mastermind group I’d like to create. Finally, I want to get in-person time with the ASJA members I already know and love.

4. Don’t even begin to think that this is a pleasure trip.
I’ll be speaking at an author’s conference in Denver in early May. One of my sisters lives there and while I’ll absolutely make sure I have time to see her, I’m not going there so I can hang out with my sister. I’m not even going simply because I’ll be presenting. I also hope that I’ll learn from the other people who will be presenting there. That means that the learning comes first. The socializing and dining at interesting restaurants comes second. And I never do anything touristy unless I come in a day early or stay a day longer. Otherwise, I’ve spent a lot of money on having fun, which sounds like a vacation. If I wanted a vacation, it would be 100 percent vacation and probably wouldn’t happen at a conference center. You’ve worked hard to pay for this conference. Get your money’s worth by putting the conference and what you’ll get from it first.

5. Leave your introverted self at home.
This can be difficult for me. I’m an introvert who has learned to be an extrovert, so while I know how to step forward, introduce myself, and start a conversation, there are times during that lull between lunch and the next session when I’d like to just sink into a comfy chair with a latte and people watch. But then I’d be wasting my registration fee. (See point 4.)

Act on those connections you made! © Sylvia Freeman

Act on those connections you made! © Sylvia Freeman

6. Remember to bring a conference tool kit.
At a minimum, bring one or two notebooks, a couple of your favorite note-taking pens (I like a fine point Sharpie, myself), and business cards. If you plan to blog from the event, be sure to bring your laptop or tablet. I hope to videotape a few short interviews for my YouTube channel at the conferences I’ll be attending, so I’ll make sure I pack the hardware I need for that, too.

7. Review notes and handouts at the end of each day.
As you reviews those notes back in your room after dinner, highlight three key points from each of the sessions you attended, and label them according to importance – “1” being the most important, of course. Then, when you return to your notes to take action when you’re back home, you’ll have a solid starting point.

8. Act on what you’ve learned and connections you’ve made.
It’s not enough to learn or connect. You have to act on all of it. Send “nice to meet you, let’s stay in touch” e-mails to people you met. Connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Implement a few of the tips you picked up immediately. Schedule time to learn more about something that intrigued you at the conference. The worst thing you can do is to return to your computer and do nothing with the knowledge you acquired or the friends you made at the conference.

Registration for the North Carolina Writers’ Network 2015 Spring Conference is now open.

The Masters Review

by R.A. King

The term “emerging writer” evokes many thoughts into the writing and reading community—excitement, anticipation, untapped potential. But where does an emerging writer get their creativity in print and finally emerge? It’s crossing this threshold that’s the hardest, from unpublished to published.

Have no fear, the Masters Review is geared toward this specific group of writers. Every year, they make a printed anthology of unpublished writers, read and chosen by a New York Times bestselling author. They focus exclusively on new writers for this contest, and on their website, but published authors should not be dissuaded from participating. The best part about this contest, if you win, is the anthology being distributed nationally and mailed to agents, editors, and publishers.

The contest is for short fiction and narrative nonfiction with a maximum of seven thousand words. The guideline and rules for the Masters Review Printed Anthology contest are very flexible. They’re forgiving about submitting the same story to another organization, as long as it’s only printed through one organization. Multiple submissions to the Masters Review are allowed, so if you’re sitting on some unpublished works, you can go in guns blazing. Even non-US residents may submit their work.

The only thing all contestants must do is pay a $20 reading fee to help the Masters Review continue its drive to emerging writers and new authors. The fee is also a small price to pay to win it big. However, they also hold a New Voices monthly contest that’s free. And you can submit to both contests!

The Anthology contest deadline is March 31st. Good luck, everyone!