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Find the Best Writing Degree Program for You

Attendees at the NCWN 2019 Pre-Conferernce Tailgate

If you or someone in your family is looking to enter a professional field that requires excellent writing skills—be it as an editor, a journalist, a published novelist, or anything else you can dream up—a degree program may be your next, best step.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have some help choosing the best program?

TheBestColleges.org has created a guide to programs for writing students. It covers core concerns and considerations for those looking to enter the field, including specializations, program options, and job outlooks.

For example, here’s a list of the Top 20 Online Bachelor’s Writing Programs.

The website also offers a “College Finder” search function where would-be degree seekers use certain criteria to search for the best program to achieve their academic and professional goals.

For example, searching for a Master’s Degree in Writing opens up a portal for Southern New Hampshire University, which offers an online MA in English and Creative Writing.

Check it out at www.thebestcolleges.org.

Marty Silverthorne, RIP

Marty Silverthorne (left) with 2018 NC Literary Hall of Fame inductee Marsha Warren (center). © David Potorti, 2018

It was with great sadness that we learned the news of Marty Silverthorne’s passing on November 7. Marty was a poet, a champion of writers, and a longtime friend of the North Carolina Writers’ Network who was around for the Network’s inception in 1985.

Marty (1957-2019) was the author of seven poetry chapbooks, including Naming the Scars, winner of the 2017 Longleaf Press Chapbook Competition sponsored by Methodist University.

He received the Bunn-McClelland Chapbook Award in 1985; the Sam Ragan Award of Extraordinary Contributions to the Fine Arts of North Carolina in 1993; the Persephone Press Award in 1997; and won the NC Poetry Society Poet Laureate Award in 2015. He received numerous regional arts grants from the North Carolina Arts Council.

A graduate of St. Andrews Presbyterian College and East Carolina University, Marty’s poems appeared in the North Carolina Literary Review, Tar River Poetry, Pembroke Magazine, St. Andrews Review, and many more.

“These poems lift up the roots and reveal well-crafted tenderness and emphatic imagination that bears witness to the longings and challenges we all have confronting our angels, our ghosts, loves, and losses,” said NC Poet Laureate Jaki Shelton Green, about Marty’s chapbook Holy Ghosts of Whiskey. “[Silverthorne] makes us dream about the rapture of what it means to be eat up with music.”

Marty, a graduate of Williamson High School, was left paralyzed after a motorcycle accident in 1976. He was instrumental in securing a grant to provide ADA access to the White Cross School in Chapel Hill, when the NC Writers’ Network was housed there.

“Silverthorne’s direct and forceful words, and his unrelentingly honest images force us into a world that we would not know without his poems, a world both horrifying and blessed,” said Anthony S. Abbott, a poet and recipient of the NC Award for Literature, “horrifying because of the continuing illness the quadriplegia the narrator must face, and blessed because of the extraordinary caregivers whose portraits Silverthorne paints so vividly, caregivers and family member who become healers.”

Marty was a resident of Greenville, NC.

Ever Thought about Ghostwriting? Here’s Your Chance…

From our friends at LifeBook Limited:

LifeBook Limited is the world’s leading producer of private autobiographies, with hundreds of completed projects and constant new commissions from across the globe each day.

Our wholly owned US subsidiary, Private Autobiography Service, Inc. (based in Crown Point, Indiana), is looking for American ghostwriters to help us expand our LifeTime Private Autobiography™ service in the USA.

Each private autobiography project is headed by a project manager, the first point of contact for the customer who appoints the rest of the project team. This team compromises of an interviewer, who visits the customer in their home to gather and record their stories; a ghostwriter, who is contracted to listen to the recorded interviews and use their skills to compose a cohesive, compelling narrative in the customer’s voice; and an in-house editor, who checks the ghostwriter’s work and provides feedback.

After approximately six months, the author will receive ten copies of their very own linen-bound, hand-sewn autobiography and a USB of audio highlights for the author’s family to enjoy hearing their loved one’s voice for years to come.

We want writers who are eager to progress in their career; who appreciate having paid writing experience and professional editorial feedback; and above all, we want wordsmiths who understand how rewarding it is to use our skills to create something that is meaningful and personal to other people.

All our ghostwriters have the opportunity to create real, lasting records of both family and world history. With nobility, diplomats, servicepeople, and revolutionaries all being former customers of ours, it’s important that our ghostwriters understand that what they write is “more than words.”

Please take a look at our website, www.privateautobiography.com, to see the beautiful books we produce and how much they mean to our customers. Then, if you’re as excited by our work as we are, please get in touch via our jobs site, www.autobiojobs.com, and tell us why you’re interested and what qualifies you to be a writer with us.

Fall Conference in the News

Attendees at the NCWN 2018 Fall Conference

The North Carolina Writers’ Network 2019 Fall Conference kicks-off tomorrow, and we’ve been all over the news.

If you’re already registered, then you can keep getting excited, because you’re part of something big!

If you haven’t pre-registered, don’t worry, you can register on-site starting at 3:00 pm on Friday, November 8, at the Doubletree by Hilton Asheville-Biltmore.

Here’s a round-up:

Writing organizations and indie bookstores across North Carolina also have been instrumental in spreading the word, from Charlotte Lit to Malaprop’s to Quail Ridge Books to the Winston-Salem Writers.

You know what they call that? That’s momentum!

See you in Asheville.

It’s Not Too Late to Jump Aboard NaNoWriMo!

A NaNoWriMo Kick-Off event at the NCWN 2018 Fall Conference

November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) where would-be novelists around the world commit to writing 50,000 words during the thirty days of November. A 501(c)(3) non-profit that has become an international phenomenon, NaNoWriMo values “enthusiasm, determination, and a deadline…for anyone who has ever thought about writing a novel.”

At www.nanowrimo.org, users create accounts where they can plan their novel, receive online encouragement, and be part of a worldwide community of writers all trying to crank out 50K words in a month.

For more information about NaNoWriMo, click here.

Haven’t started yet? It’s not too late! There’s plenty of time to reach 50K words, in fact, you have 24 days…or 576 hours….or 34,560 minutes, depending how you like to schedule.

Need support? Check our events calendar for NaNoWriMo write-ins near you or find something throrugh the NaNoWriMo site.

If this sounds like utter nonsense to you (after all, there isn’t a “National Brain Surgery Month,” where everyone commits to learning how to operate on a brain in 30 days…) consider the value of writing a quick and “s***ty” first draft!

Then consider that bestselling books such as The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern; Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen; and Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell were all initially drafted during National Novel Writing Month!

NCWN member Russ Hatler has penned a poem we felt was appropriate for the task ahead; he was kind enough to let us share it:

Integrity
by Russell Hatler

For the novice novel writer
Here’s a thought that you can use
You can listen to your public
Or you can listen to your Muse

You can let your public pay you
Or you can pay your Creative Dues
And here’s the really lovely part:
You get to choose!

***

Now, start your timers and get crankin’!

Coming to Fall Conference? Don’t Forget the “App”

The Doubletree by Hilton Asheville-Biltmore

If you’re coming to the NCWN 2019 Fall Conference this weekend, you may want to take a moment and direct your mobile device or tablet to:

www.NCWNFallConference.com

There, you’ll find the Fall Conference “app,” with the weekend’s schedule, a list of exhibitors and sponsors, logistics, and more.

Bookmark the site on your device for easy reference throughout the weekend.

During the conference, attendees will be able to enjoy free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel.

The app is a good way, for example, to read up on the exhibitors ahead of time, so you can scout out the books and literary schwag you want to buy and think about which reps you may want to talk with a bit more.

Biographies for all Fall Conference faculty are on the app as well.

Registration opens for the NCWN 2019 Fall Conference at 3:00 pm on Friday, November 8, at the Doubletree by Hilton Asheville-Biltmore.

Introducing the Fall Conference Exhibitors: Part IV

Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve been introducing the exhibitors who will join us on-site at the North Carolina Writers’ Network 2019 Fall Conference, November 8-10, at the Doubletree by Hilton Asheville-Biltmore.

Pre-registration ends November 1.

If you missed previous installments, you can catch up here: Part I | Part II | Part III

And bringing us home, last but certainly not least:

North Carolina Writers’ Network Regional Reps (www.ncwriters.org/index.php/our-members/regional-reps)
One exhibitor table at Fall Conference will be devoted to the Regional Representatives of the North Carolina Writers’ Network. NCWN hosts monthly, free literary events through our Regional and County Representatives in fifty-one counties in North Carolina plus one each in Georgia and South Carolina. Come to the table to find information about ongoing events in an county near you! This is a great way to meet local writers and find your support network closer to home. You’re bound to leave Fall Conference excited to get back to your writing, and our regional groups are one way we keep that inspiration flowing between conferences. (This exhibit table also will serve as a Welcome Station for first-time conferencegogers and new members!) For a full listing of our regional reps, click here.

Orison Books (www.orisonbooks.com)
Orison [“or-ə-sən”] is an archaic word that means “prayer.” Orison Books beleives that the best spiritual art and literature call us to meditate and contemplate, rather than asking us to adopt any ideology or set of propositions. The kind of work they seek to publish has a transcendent aesthetic effect on the reader, and reading it can itself be a spiritual experience. Orison Books seeks to be broad, inclusive, and open to perspectives spanning the spectrum of spiritual and religious thought, ethnicity, gender identity, and sexual orientation. Orison Books will serve as a home for writers and readers of all backgrounds, religious or non-religious. In addition to publishing exceptional spiritually engaged poetry, fiction, and nonfiction books, they publish The Orison Anthology, an annual collection of the best spiritual writing in all genres published in periodicals during the preceding year. They are open to anthology submisisons year ’round. The Orison Prizes in Poetry & Fiction, for book-length manuscripts, opens December 1. Follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and visit them on the web.

Press 53 (www.press53.com)
Press 53 has been finding and sharing remarkable voices in poetry and short fiction since October, 2005, having published more than 200 titles that have earned more than seventy awards. Press 53 has published poetry and short fiction collections by authors from thirty-five states, including six state poets laureate. In 2011, Press 53 established Prime Number Magazine, a free online journal of distinctive poetry and short fiction. The Press 53 Award for Short Fiction is now open for submissions. New titles include the poetry collections Slavery and Freedom on Paul’s Hill by NC Literary Hall of Fame inductee and former NC poet laureate Shelby Stephenson and Play Me a Revolution by Lindsey Royce; as well as The Lightness of Water & Other Stories by Rhonda Browning White, winner of the 2019 Press 53 Award for Short Fiction; and Bleachers: Fifty-Four Linked Fictions by Joseph Mills. Learn more at www.Press53.com; like them on Facebook; and follow them on Twitter.

Smoky Mountain Living (www.smliv.com)
Smoky Mountain Living is a magazine dedicated to the history, culture, beauty, outdoors and arts of the Southern Appalachian mountains. SML covers the Southern Appalachians and celebrates the area’s environmental riches, its people, culture, music, arts, history, and special places. Each issue brings the Appalachians to life. Published six times each year, SML is a magazine for those who want to learn more about where they live and those who want to stay in touch with where they love. SML’s office is located in historic downtown Waynesville. Smoky Mountain Living is sponsoring Sunday morning’s breakfast panel, “Agents & Editors.” Follow them on Facebook and Twitter and visit them on the web, www.smliv.com.

The Thomas Wolfe MFA in Creative Writing Program at Lenoir-Rhyne University (www.lr.edu/writing-degree)
The Thomas Wolfe MFA in Creative Writing Program at Lenoir-Rhyne University’s Master of Arts in Writing is designed to prepare students for careers in creative writing, the teaching of writing, and/or the development of advanced writing skills as a powerful tool within one’s chosen profession. In addition to fundamental courses in rhetorical theory, editing, and publishing, students participate in a journey of discovery–exploring the evolution of a literary genre through reading select works. Students engage scholarship in literature, narrative theory, and creative process development to prepare to be the storytellers and story interpreters in professional and cultural environments. The program is directed by Laura Hope-Gill, former Poet Laureate of the Blue Ridge Parkway, who will lead the session “Write with the Wolfe—a Poetry/Prose Poetry Rebellion.” The program also is the sponsor of Friday night’s Welcome Reception. Be sure to visit their website.

The University of Asheville’s Great Smokies Writing Program (www.greatsmokies.unca.edu)
The University of Asheville’s Great Smokies Writing Program is a Blue Ridge Level sponsor of the North Carolina Writers’ Network 2019 Fall Conference. A joint effort between the UNC Asheville departments of English, Creative Writing, and the Asheville Graduate Center, the program offers opportunities for writers of all levels to join a supportive learning community in which their skills and talents can be explored, practiced, and forged under the careful eye of professional writers. The program is committed to providing the community with affordable university-level classes led by published writers and experienced teachers. Each course carries academic credit awarded through UNC Asheville. Several faculty members will lead sessions at the NCWN 2019 Fall Conference, including Meta Commerse (“Story Medicine 2.0”); Christine Hale (“Power Up the Truth You Tell: 5 Techniques for Realizing the Creative Potential of Your Nonfiction”); NCWN trustee Tommy Hays (“If You’re Afraid to Write about It, Write about It”); and Heather Newton (“Thievery, Loss and Scars: A Fiction Workshop”). Follow them on Facebook, Instagram, and visit them on the web.

Pre-registration for the North Carolina Writers’ Network 2019 Fall Conference ends Friday, November 1. Register now.

Rob Neufeld, RIP

Rob Neufeld

The literary community lost a longtime friend and supporter this week with the passing of Rob Neufeld. The beloved author and historian was sixty-five.

A veteran columnist for The Asheville Citizen-Times, Rob continued writing his “Visiting the Past” column up until the week he died.

He was diagnosed with ALS in the summer of 2018 but remained productive, focusing not only on his newspaper stories but also on a narrative poem for the stage, which he excerpted on his website, The Read on WNC.

The Read on WNC was, for many years, the go-to place for arts news in and around Western North Carolina. Rob’s interests were far-ranging and included not only history and writing but music and the performing arts. The Read on WNC served as an aggregate for upcoming events and a forum for others to create and share ideas in community.

“The thing I’m most proud of is being able to tell people’s stories and making the connection to that time, and putting their lives in historical context,” Rob said. “Mostly I did that by focusing on people’s lives, so that people know what it’s like living another person’s reality.”

Author of six books and the editor of two volumes of the journals of Gail Godwin, Rob was genuinely liked and admired by all who knew and worked with him. He was an enthusiastic attendee and instructor at past NCWN Fall Conferences, serving as a panelist for conversations about “Authors in Appalachia” and “Brave New Media” in 2011, and even introducing this then-newbie communications director to a fancy but easy-to-use video recording device.

From a recent write-up in The Citizen-Times:

In August, the Western North Carolina Historical Association unanimously voted Neufeld the recipient of its 2019 Outstanding Achievement Award. He became the 66th winner, joining luminaries including author and poet Fred Chappell; and Doug Orr, president emeritus of Warren Wilson College.

There will be a memorial service for Rob in the Spring of 2020.

PEN America Announces Writing for Justice Fellows

Jonah Mixon-Webster

PEN America has announed their 2019-2020 Writing for Justice Fellows. These fellowships commission written works of lasting merit that illuminate critical issues related to mass incarceration and catalyze public debate.

The eight fellows will be individually paired with a member of the Advisory Board for work on a specific project.

Proposed projects include a book-length collection of essays that elucidate the foster-care-to-prison pipeline (Arthur Longworth); an immersive documentary poetics program that explores procedural relations between police officers and civilians in 21st century America (Jonah Mixon-Webster); and a project to include narrative journalism and data collection/analysis and investigative techniques to report on the structural, historic, cultural, and legal forces behind the criminalization of women’s defense and survival from abuse (Justine van der Leun).

For a complete list of fellows, their projects, and Advisory Board mentors, click here.

What is the Writing for Justice Fellowship?

The Fellowship aims to harness the power of writers and writing in bearing witness to the societal consequences of mass incarceration by capturing and sharing the stories of incarcerated individuals, their families, communities, and the wider impact of the criminal justice system. Our goal is to ignite a broad, sustained conversation about the dangers of over-incarceration and the imperative to mobilize behind rational and humane policies. As an organization of writers dedicated to promoting free expression and informed discourse, PEN America is honored to have been entrusted by the Art for Justice Fund to engage the literary community in addressing this pressing societal issue.

Founded in 1922, PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect free expression in the United States and worldwide. They champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Their mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.

One of many PEN America includes a “Writing for Prison & Justice” program that amplifies “the writing of thousands of imprisoned writers by providing free resources, skilled mentors, and audiences for their writing.” PEN America also offers an affordable Handbook for Writers in Prison, which you can purchase here.

Subscribe to their e-newsletter and follow them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for updates on the next PEN America Writing for Justice Fellowship.

Introducing the Fall Conference Exhibitors: Part III

The North Carolina Writers’ Network 2019 Fall Conference, November 8-10 in Asheville, is a weekend to celebrate the written word. We always say, only partly in jest, that you better bring an extra suitcase along, in order to cart home all the books and schwag you’re going to want to inevitably buy!

We’ve been introducing our exhibitors, five at a time, over the past week. (Here’s installment 1, and 2 is here.) Here are five more!

Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe (www.malaprops.com)
Malaprop’s is the offical bookseller of the NCWN 2019 Fall Conference. An independent bookseller located in downtown Asheville, Malaprop’s carries a carefully curated selection of books for adults, children, and young adults, as well as a large array of gift items. Founded in 1982 by Emoke B’Racz, veteran staff-member Gretchen Horn became the majority owner in January, 2019. Malaprop’s maintains a lively events calendar featuring regional and national authors. Attendees of the NCWN 2019 Fall Conference will be able to buy books by conference faculty at the Malaprop’s table, on-site at the conference. Subscribe to Malaprop’s newsletter here. Follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and visit them on the web.

Morningstar Law Group (www.morningstarlawgroup.com)
Morningstar Law Group is a law firm with offices in Raleigh and Durham, NC that focuses on legal services for businesses and entrepreneurs. Attorney Mitch Tuchman has taught at several NCWN conferences. He focuses on three key areas: Dispute Resolution; Copywright Opinions; and Negotiations/Transactions. In May, 2018, Mitch and his team at Morningstar assisted Holloway Literary with the negotiation of a motion picture option for a novel, Not Her Daughter, by Rea Frey, one of the agency’s clients. Mitch understands copyright issues from the author’s perspective because he has been both a writer and publisher himself. Mitch writes and speaks frequently on copyright law, recently about the nine unsuccessful plaintiffs who sued James Cameron, claiming his motion picture Avatar infringed their works. Morningstar Law Group is on Facebook, Twitter, and the World Wide Web.

North Carolina Literary Map (www.library.uncg.edu/dp/nclitmap)
The mission of the North Carolina Literary Map is to highlight the literary heritage of the state 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. The NC Literary Map also offers apps for literary walking tours. There are three literary walking tours for Asheville, including one for Buncombe County; another for Zelda Fitzgerald; and a third focusing on Thomas Wolfe. The NC Literary Map is on Facebook, Twitter, and you can visit them on the web.

North Carolina Literary Review (www.nclr.ecu.edu)
Published since 1992 by East Carolina University and the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association, the North Carolina Literary Review facilitates the annual Doris Betts Fiction Prize for the North Carolina Writers’ Network and sponsors the annual James Applewhite Poetry Prize. The most-recent issue, 2019 (#28), spotlights North Carolina African-American Literature. Features include an interview with NC Literary Hall of Fame inductee Randall Kenan; an interview with Jason Mott, who has taught at a past NCWN Conference; an interview with Stephanie Powell Watts, who judged the 2018 Doris Betts Fiction Prize; and poems by L. Teresa Church, Kevin Dublin, Glenis Redmond, and many more. NCLR publishes interviews and literary criticism about North Carolina writers and high-quality poetry, fiction, drama, and creative nonfiction by North Carolina writers or set in North Carolina. Their definition of a North Carolina writer is anyone who currently lives in North Carolina, has lived in North Carolina, or uses North Carolina as subject matter. Follow them on Facebook and learn more on their website.

North Carolina Poetry Society (www.ncpoetrysociety.org)
The North Carolina Poetry Society was founded in 1932. With more than 350 members from North Carolina and beyond, NCPS is an all-volunteer organization devoted to poets and lovers of poetry. The Poetry Society holds regular meetings four times a year in Southern Pines at the Weymouth Center for the Arts and Humanities. In addition, NCPS sponsors annual contests for adults and students, which offer cash prizes and award certificates; the annual Poet Laureate Award, judged by the state’s poet laureate; the annual Brockman-Campbell Book Award, recognizing the best book published by a North Carolina poet; and the annual Lena M. Shull Book Award, selecting for publication the best full-length unpublished poetry manuscript by a poet living in North Carolina, where the wining manuscript is published by St. Andrews University Press, and the winning poet leads a workshop and gives a reading at Poetry Day Hickory in April. In 2003, the NCPS Board of Trustees approved the establishment of the Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet Series, where three distinguished North Carolina poets are selected annually to mentor student poets in the eastern, central, and western regions of the state. Now in its 9th year, this program is thriving as a significant expansion of NCPS outreach. They’re on Facebook, Twitter, and on the World Wide Web.

Pre-registration for the NCWN 2019 Fall Conference is  open through November 1.