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Pat Conroy Literary Center Set to Open

The Pat Conroy Literary Center

Pat Conroy, who sadly passed away in March, always felt he owed a debt not only to his loyal readers, but to all of those who helped him along the way. During his lifetime, he was known as a staunch champion and tireless supporter of emerging writers. His tutelage left a legacy nearly equal to his stupendous literary output.

Now, his debt of gratitude will be repaid in perpetuity through the Pat Conroy Literary Center, set to open in Beaufort, South Carolina, this fall.

Operating under the belief that “writing can bring meaning in and of itself, changing both our own lives and our world,” the Pat Conroy Literary Center will:

  • Host readings by acclaimed regional and national authors
  • Offer writing classes both at the Center and also off site, hosting classes at venues such as schools, senior centers, military bases, etc.
  • Expand literary arts education programs currently available by placing writers in K-12 classrooms to work with students
  • Sponsor lectures, master classes and special events
  • Provide space for book groups and writing groups
  • Create mentorships for middle and high school writing students
  • Offer ongoing professional development for English teachers
  • Provide need-based scholarships to our programs
  • Secure financially and renovate our location in downtown Beaufort
  • Collaborate with libraries and other organizations
  • Create an English Teacher of the Year award
  • And so much more

Conroy was the author of the universally-read books The Great Santini and The Prince of Tides, both of which were made into Oscar-nominated movies. His life and works will be celebrated during the Pat Conroy Literary Festival, October 23-26, in Beaufort.

For more information about the author, and the Pat Conroy Literary Center, click here.

Hub City Waters Young Readers, Hoping They’ll Grow

The lifelong benefits of reading to babies and children are well-documented. Reading to one’s child strengthens the parent-child relationship, and the more words a child learns, the more comfortable he or she is using those words. Children with poor reading proficiency have the greatest risk of not finishing high school and failing to find economic success later in life.

Hub City Writers Project, based in Spartanburg, South Carolina, together with BirthMatters and The Adolescent Family Life Center, looks to address this social issue with a new initiative: Growing Great Readers.

Growing Great Readers is a book drive initiative aimed at new mothers aged twenty-four and younger and their infant children. Modeled after Dolly Parton’s hugely successful Imagination Library, the program donates books on a monthly basis to participating families to assure ready access to quality picture and board books aimed at children ages one to three.

The program launches at the Hub City Bookshop tonight at 4:00 pm, featuring Storytime with retired children’s librarian Bea Bruce, crafts, and cookies and lemonade. The event is free and open to the public.

Dolly Parton, an eight-time Grammy-award winning songwriter and country music legend, launched Imagination Library in 1995 in order to foster a love of reading among her Tennessee county’s preschool children and their families by providing them with the gift of a specially selected book each month. By mailing high quality, age-appropriate books directly to their homes, she wanted children to be excited about books and to feel the magic that books can create. Moreover, she could ensure that every child would have books, regardless of their family’s income. Since then, the program has grown: Imagination Library has mailed 60,000,000 books to children in the United States, Canada, and the UK. Currently over 1,600 local communities provide the Imagination Library to over 750,000 children each and every month.

Also founded in 1995, Hub City Writers Project has published more than 500 writers in sixty-six books, renovated two historic downtown buildings, and given away more than $20,000 in scholarships to emerging writers. It has sold some 150,000 Hub City Press books, provided creative writing instruction to hundreds in the Carolinas and beyond, and hosted lively book launch events in unlikely locales, including an abandoned train station, a river bank, and a concert hall. Hub City has won South Carolina’s Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Award for the Arts, the SC Governor’s Award for the Humanities, and 13 IPPY (Independent Publisher) Awards. They also hold an annual book drive that delivers at least 4,000 new and gently used children’s books to elementary students.

For more information on Hub City, click here.

RIP Blue Ridge Bookfest

For the past eight years, the Blue Ridge Bookfest has been a cultural fixture of Western North Carolina, and an important thread in our state’s literary tapestry. Unfortunately, in an e-mail sent today by festival organizers, we’ve learned that 2016 was the last year for the festival.

“Over the eight years we hosted more than three hundred talented authors and workshop leaders,” organizer Bill Ramsey said. “We will never forget their presentations and their books. Their comments regarding the event were always positive and helpful. We send our thanks to each of them.”

The annual weekend-long event has hosted nationally acclaimed authors such as Wiley Cash, Sara Gruen, Jeremy B. Jones, Ron Rash, and many, many more. The festival was also a huge proponent of local writers, allowing many North Carolina voices to lead seminars and workshops and to exhibit in the cozy confines of Blue Ridge Community College, where the event always took place.

The remaining fund balance of $1,515.29 will be donated to the BRCC Student Creative Writing Program for use in publishing their annual book of prose and poetry. The e-mail cited rising expenses and waning attendance as the main factors in the decision to end the festival’s run.

Boston Poets are Only Happy When It Rains

World-renowned street artist Banksy recently painted a mural for a primary school in Bristol, England, which only goes to show how far street art has progressed from being a nuisance to well, being something parents of school-age children can appreciate. Now there’s a fresh take on public art brewing just “across the pond” in Boston.

Boston’s mayor has a Mural Crew, where “young Boston artists work alongside professional mural painters to conceptualize, design, and paint large-scale murals throughout the city.” And this summer, their murals have been materializing—literally—at the most unexpected times: whenever it rains.

“Raining Poetry” is an art installation collaboration between the Mural Crew and Mass Poetry. Together, they’ve been installing poetry along select sidewalks in Boston. According to Sarah Siegel of Mass Poetry, the crew uses “a biodegradable water-repellent spray and stencils made by local artists.” On dry days, you can’t see the poems. But once it rains (or you throw a bucket of water over the words), the text darkens and becomes poetry.

Boston’s Poet Laureate, Danielle Georges, has selected four poems for the initial art installation, including three by Massachusetts poets.

The ultimate goal is to add so many poems that a commuter will encounter one or two poems a month as they traverse Boston city streets. Longterm, they’d like to include poems in different languages as well.

For more information about “Raining Poetry,” click here.

Arts in NC Needs Your Help by Thursday

From our friends at ARTS North Carolina:

We have good news and bad news about the state budget.

THE GOOD NEWS: the NC House of Representatives included a $500,000 increase for Grassroots Arts funding as allocated by the North Carolina Arts Council.

THE BAD NEWS: the Senate budget did not concur.

Therefore, arts funding will be an issue in the Conference process. The game could go either way. It depends on what you are willing to do.

Our goals are simple. Encourage the leaders in the House to hold their position and encourage the Senate to concur with the House. Representative Donny Lambeth of Forsyth County holds a very important position in the upcoming Conference process.

Please take action by NOON on THURSDAY:

If you know Representative Donny Lambeth personally:

  • Please place a telephone call and talk to the Legislative Assistant or leave your name on their message machine.
  • Number: (919)-733-5747

If you do NOT know Representative Donny Lambeth personally,

  • Please drop a short, hard copy letter in the mail by noon on Thursday.

Address:

300 N. Salisbury Street, Room 303, Raleigh, NC 27603-5925

  • Make the letters short but personal, such as:

I am asking that you hold firm to the House recommendation of a $500,000 increase for Grassroots Arts as allocated by the North Carolina Arts Council (or to your Senator concur with the House recommendation of a $500,000 increase for Grassroots Arts as allocated by the North Carolina Arts Council). Over 650 organizations in all 100 counties will benefit and 3.5 million citizens will be served by this remarkably efficient grant program. In our county, we will see significant increases in our funding to arts in education, artist residencies, festivals, etc. Thank you for your dedicated service to the citizens of North Carolina.

And please copy Arts NC at karen@artsnc.org if you receive a response.

What’s at stake?

A resounding response to this Call to Action could have a major impact on the arts where you live. Forsyth County currently receives $76,719 in Grassroots Arts funding. The $500,000 increase would bring that amount to $92,352.

The work on the budget will likely begin in earnest on Thursday. Do not delay in taking action!

Thank you, advocate!

Karen Wells
Executive Director

Ecotone Among O. Henry Prize Winners

A hearty congratulations to North Carolina’s Ecotone magazine: Ron Carlson’s short story “Happiness,” which appeared in Issue 18, has won a 2016 O. Henry Prize. In September, this story, along with the other nineteen winners, will appear in an anthology from Random House, edited by Laura Furman.

Since 1919, the O. Henry Prizes have awarded the best short stories each year, culled from hundreds of literary magazines. This year’s winners include heavyweight publications such as One Story, The Paris Review, and The New Yorker. Winning authors include Wendell Berry, Lydia Fitzpatrick, and Carlson, the award-winning author of four story collections and four novels, most recently Five Skies. His fiction has appeared in Harper’s, The New Yorker, Playboy, and GQ.

To read six of the winning stories free, click here.

Ecotone was founded at the University of North Carolina Wilmington in 2005, and has grown into an award-winning magazine featuring writing and art that reimagine place, which their authors interpret expansively. Among Ecotone’s contributors are winners of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, as well as MacArthur, Guggenheim, and NEA fellows. But they’re equally excited to honor new voices.

Ecotone is produced by faculty and students in the MFA program at UNC-Wilmington. Along with their sister imprint, Lookout Books, they champion innovative and underrepresented work and offer UNC-Wilmington students the opportunity to learn the art and craft of publishing. Ecotone also facilitates the annual Rose Post Creative Nonfiction Competition for the North Carolina Writers’ Network.

A Whole Lot of Tools for Writers

Tools: they’re what separate us, as humans, from wild beasts. Sure, an ape might be able to dig into an ant mound with a stick, and a scientist might point to that primate and say he or she is using a “tool.” But we humans are the only ones using jackhammers.

Writers, specifically, have more tools than ever at our disposal, programs that can guide us through the entire process of penning a novel, from finding inspiration, organizing our manuscript, to eventually publishing and taking our book to market.

Global English Editing, an editing, proofreading, and author services company located in California, has assembled an exhaustive catalog of the “80 Best Tools for Writers.” These eighty selections are divided into seven categories:

  • Writing
  • Brainstorming
  • Inspiration
  • Organization
  • Productivity
  • Reference, Editing, and Proofreading
  • Publishing Your Work

Free tools are listed alongside paid options and run the gamut from Microsoft Word to MarinaraTimer, an online kitchen timer that allows you to name and set your times for different goals and workflows. Also included are online dictionaries, an acronym finder, and ten resources geared toward helping you publish your work.

For the complete list, click here.

Just a heads up: you’ll have to scroll down the long page to find each of the different categories. (It would have been nice if the menu of categories had anchors, so we could jump to the section we were most interested in.)

Global English Editing offers editing and proofreading for thesis, dissertations, journal articles, essays, and more; editing, proofreading, and manuscript evaluation services for creative authors; and business editing and proofreading services for large and small businesses, as well as non-profits. They also maintain a blog. Visit them at www.geediting.com.

Summer Writing Camps for Young People

UNCA Summer Writing Program

UNCA Summer Writing Program

It’s Memorial Day Weekend, which means summer is here. Before you know it, your children will be out of school and needing activities to occupy their time. And let’s face it: you’re going to want them out of the house, at least for a few hours this summer.

Here are some summer writing workshops for youth happening around the state. Maybe there’s one in your area? Most offer a mix of creative and academically oriented classes.

ASHEVILLE

The University of North Carolina at Asheville’s summer writing program returns this year with week-long sessions in June and July for rising 6th-8th graders (“All Things Writing”) and rising 9th-12th graders (“Write Now”). The programs offer each participating student experience in different aspects of writing under the tutelage of Asheville’s finest writing instructors. Students will also participate in hour-long, end-of-day workshops called Epilogues. These workshops will feature guest speakers who will address special writing-related topics such as The College Application Essay, Writing for Newspapers, Brainstorming Ideas, Careers in Writing, and more.

CHARLOTTE

The Charlotte Writers Club offers “Seeds of a Story,” a writing workshop for ages 9-14, on Thursday, July 28. Lisa Williams Kline, along with special guest Kathleen Burkinshaw, will teach the worksohp at The Warehouse in Cornelius. To register, e-mail Lisa at Lisa.Williams.Kline@gmail.com. The cost is $25.

Also in the Charlotte area, the Young Writers Academy hosts several summer camps in Charlotte and Fort Mill, including “Campfire Stories” (ages 5-7); “Writing in Nature” (ages 7-11); and “Comic Book Writing” (ages 7-11); along with workshops on essays for ages 10-18. Tuition varies.

TRIAD

UNCG Young Writers' Camp

UNCG Young Writers’ Camp

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro offers a Young Writers’ Camp. This two-week camp, in its fifth year, is for students in grades 3-12. It will be offered July 11-July 22, 9:00 am – 12:00 pm, in the UNCG School of Education Building. Campers will create twenty-first century texts using digital tools such as storyboarding, blogging, and movie-making during this two-week camp experience. The camp introduces young writers to the writing process, unlocks strategies of professional writers, and supports a variety of writing styles. Scholarships are available.

 

 

The Reynolda House in Winston-Salem offers three camps for all ages to explore art and creative writing in the unique setting of the historic Reynolda Estate and inspired by the Museum’s collections. Includes swimming in the indoor pool! These “Summer Adventures” run June 27 – July 8.

Wake Forest University’s Great American Writers’ Camp returns June 27 – July 2 with even more writing activities, strategies, and projects. Blossoming young writers will hone their skills and styles as they learn to take ideas and develop them into coherent stories, poems, arguments, speeches, and more. This program is committed to helping young writers enjoy camp AND gain new strategies for creating and communicating. Working intermittently in groups, individually, and one-on-one with an instructor, students will begin to see how their ideas and words have a place in the world around them.

TRIANGLE

The Young Writers’ Institute in Cary offers a collection of sixteen half-day camps for students in grades (rising) 2nd-12th. Each camp runs from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm OR 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm Monday through Friday. Camps are limited to six students, and courses range from creative classes to classes on writing academic essays.

Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh offers summer book clubs for kids. The age groups are Summer BIRDS (ages 5-7) and two book clubs for older children, ages 7-9 and 10-12. Each club meets for multiple sessions, and there are small fees. Books purchased for the clubs receive a 21 percent discount in their Kid’s Department.

WFU's Great American Writers' Camp

WFU’s Great American Writers’ Camp

Also in Raleigh, the North Carolina State University Department of English offers its 33rd Annual Young Writers Workshop, July 11-22, for students entering 4th through 8th grades. The Young Writers Workshop is a two-week, non-residential summer program with daily afternoon sessions to help young people develop and explore their creative writing talents.

WILMINGTON

The Young Writers Workshop at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington 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. The workshop is organized and operated by UNCW’s Department of Creative Writing, and camp participants have the opportunity to study with published, working writers—faculty members and graduate students in the department’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Program. This year’s workshop runs July 12-16.

Two Members Title Photographs on Bloomstations

Glass Universe

Glass Universe

A few months ago we posted a contest in our Opportunities e-blast (and on our website) where writers were invited to submit titles for photographs on Bloomstations and More, an online store selling photographic “postcards.”

Two North Carolina Writers’ Network members had their titles chosen.

Gary Ader of Hendersonville titled this photograph “Glass Universe.”

Kate Carey of Surf City named this photograph “Glas Mara,” which is Celtic for “sea green.”

Another of Kate’s titles received a special mention. She suggested the title “Catatonic Connections” for this photograph of two felines. While the title wasn’t a winner, the judge did think Kate’s nomination was “creatively cute.”

Gary and Kate will receive an 8″ x 10″ print of their choice from the store.

Although the official contest is over, there are still many images on the site that do not have titles. So, the game continues. Bloomstations isn’t offering any prizes this time around, but if you’re just looking to poke around and have a little fun, details about how to suggest titles are here.

This is just another great example of folks finding publication opportunities through our weekly “Submit It” listings. Not registered? Click here to start receiving our e-blasts.

New Podcast Gets All Up In Your Ears

Audio is a natural extension for the written word. It seems like short prose and poetry especially thrive on the airwaves.

Now a new podcast, featuring a couple of NC poets, not only celebrates the joys of hearing poetry out loud, but also gets down and dirty between  stanzas to see what is, and what isn’t, working about this poem or that, all while showcasing some of the best and brightest poets working today.

All Up In Your Ears features Warren Wilson faculty member Gabrielle Calvocoressi, Durham resident (and 2014 NCWN Spring Conference faculty member) Jonathan Farmer, and Kaveh Akbar and francine j. harris. Each episode features this quartet “discussing, extolling, deviating from, and disagreeing about recent poems.”

Each month, two cast members select new poems and then the gang digs in together, hoping, in the process, to “learn something about the ways that poems can matter—about what is found there and what, sometimes, for some of (them), is not.” Each episode also features an interview with a poet.

Listeners can subscribe FOR FREE through iTunes or Soundcloud.

The inaugural episode dissected poems by Erika Sanchez and Solmaz Sharif and featured Aziza Barnes.

All Up In Your Ears offers an enticing blend of unfairly smart people offering insanely smart insights into truly amazing poems, but with enough levity and humor to make you feel like you’re just kicking back in someone’s living room, listening to one of the best conversations you’ll hear this month—at least until the next episode drops.

Plus, here at the Network, we applaud any new platform that throws a spotlight on poets. This podcast is very much recommended.

Click here to visit the website and see full cast bios; click here to visit the Facebook page and get involved with the community.