Skip to content

Get Your Youth Writing this Summer

Is your child showing some interest in creative writing?

Well, god help them.

Seriously though, if so, there are many writing camps for youth and teens this summer happening all over North Carolina. We’ve listed a few below that seemingly still have open spots available!

Grades 6-11
Three sessions, June 16 – July 26
This summer marks the 36th year young writers from all over the country and around the world have been coming to Duke to craft stories, poems, plays, and essays. Every two weeks throughout the summer, approximately 100 to 120 adolescents form a creative writing community at Duke Young Writers’ Camp. They take two classes a day on such genres as fantasy and science fiction, hip hop poetry, detective fiction, argumentative essay writing, and multimedia presentations. The camp even boasts a newspaper website that puts out three editions a summer.

Grades 4-6
August 12-17
Established in 2011, the GAWC is back again with even more writing activities, strategies and projects. At this a creative writing camp held in Winston-Salem, young writers hone their skills and styles as they develop ideas into stories, poems, arguments, speeches and more. Working in groups, individually, and one-on-one with an instructor, campers begin to see how their ideas and words have a place in the world around them.

Ages 13-18
Two sessions: July 8 – 28
Spark your teen’s imagination this summer! Award-winning author and educator John Claude Bemis (The Clockwork Dark series and Out of Abaton series) will lead a writing camp at Quail Ridge Books for writers ages 13-18. Aspiring authors will engage in fun activities to turn ideas of the imagination into stories on paper (or the laptop). Campers will build a variety of writing skills and have a chance to write, share, and discuss their stories. To learn more about John, visit

Ages 9-19
July 8-19 (Young Writers) / July 22 – August 2 (Teens)
Take a journey into the world of creative writing. These two-week summer afternoon workshops are for children and teens ages 9-19. 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 have been serving the community for over 32 years.

High School Students
July 9-13
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. The Young Writers Workshop provides a place for aspiring writers to experiment, meet other writers, and follow their creative interests in a safe, nonjudgmental environment. 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.

We didn’t list it because registration is closed, but the Young Writers’ Camp at UNCG in Greensboro is also excellent. Maybe next year? Their website is:

Happy Trails to Ben Steelman!

Ben Stetelman, Wilmington StarNews

Happy trails to Ben Steelman, who is retiring from the Wilmington StarNews after more than forty years. His last day is Friday, July 5.

Steelman is the book columnist and longtime staff reporter. He started at the paper in 1977.

There’s almost nothing we can say that isn’t said better in this inspiring profile by Scott Nunn.

Known as a fine—and fast—writer, Steelman started at the StarNews on the night copy desk. Always working on deadline, copy editors have an appreciation for reporters who can quickly turn around a story. Few have been as fast as Steelman, and none could write so fast so well. He is so well-read in so many areas that he could easily add important details and context to a story without having to look them up, a task that was not so easy in pre-internet days.

One of Steelman’s greatest achievements is the WHQR Prologue series, in which Steelman interviewed North Carolina authors  (and plenty of others) about their new books. Also, he was always eager to give ink to NCWN conferences and events, and to talk with faculty members of ours, so that the greater Wilmington community stayed up-to-date on all the literary goings on.

“He is part of that vanishing breed, the journalist-intellectual,” says author Philip Gerard, “who brings both reason and a reliable moral compass to his work and makes the community better by his presence and his words.”

Steelman wrote a column in 2017 marking his fortieth anniversary at the paper.

Forty years … it doesn’t seem that long. I didn’t really plan on hanging on; by now, I expected, I’d have moved on to a big paper or a New York magazine, or to a cabin in Vermont where I’d be writing my next bestseller.

But none of that happened, so here I am. I hate writing resumes and filling in job applications. Also, I was getting paid to live near the beach, in a pretty old town.

Plus, working at the StarNews turned out to be a lot of fun—and it still is.

Sounds like he’ll be keeping a desk at the newspaper and still write from time to time for StarNews Media, so he’ll still be around. However, we wanted to offer this public thanks—few have championed the literary arts in North Carolina longer and or with more enthusiasm than Ben Steelman.

We are forever grateful.

CALL TO ACTION: $0 from Senate- $1M from House- ACT NOW

Oh, for Kerr Scott’s sake . . . $0? Seriously?

The ghost of Terry Sanford is going to come back and haunt this state, we don’t start acting right.

Y’all know what to do. Sad to say, we’ve gotten a lot of practice at it, these last several years. Call and write your state senators and representatives—you can find their contact info here—and remind them how much the arts mean to this state—our economy, our culture, our quality of life. Remind them that we are the Writingest State, and plan to be for a long time to come, and sure would appreciate their help along the way.

—Ed Southern, Executive Director, North Carolina Writers’ Network

From our friends at ARTS North Carolina:

The NC Senate announced its budget recommendations which included NO additional funds for NC Arts Council grants and NO Arts High School Graduation Requirement. Now the Budget moves to a Conference Committee where the House and Senate will work out their differences. Now is the time to call or email your NC Senator and House Representative, especially if they are one of the Key Legislators listed below.

Key Legislators in the Budget Process:

NC House of Representatives
Speaker Tim Moore – Cleveland
Representative Jason Saine – Lincoln
Representative Donny Lambeth – Forsyth
Representative Linda P. Johnson – Cabarrus

NC Senate
President Pro Tempore Phil Berger – Caswell, Rockingham, Stokes, Surry
Senator Harry Brown – Jones and Onslow
Senator Kathy Harrington – Gaston
Senator Brent Jackson – Duplin, Johnston and Sampson

The Ask:

  • Please include the NC House recommendation of $1,000,000 for NC Arts Council Grassroots Grants to be distributed to all 100 counties in North Carolina, preferably in recurring funds.
  • Please include at least $500,000 in increased funding for NC Arst Council General Grants programs which includes State Arts Resources Operational and Rural Touring grants, Veterans Arts, SmART Initiative, Education and Program Support grants, and much more.
  • Please include the Arts High School Graduation Requirement for one arts credit to be taken between 6th and 12th grades.

Educate Legislators about NC Arts Council Grants:

  • The NC Arts Council is the most effective, equitable and accountable way to distribute state funding to the arts, requiring a 1:1 funding match in all but the poorest counties and achieving 1:17 funding match overall
  • Grassroots Grants reach nearly 650 organizations in all 100 counties (include NCAC Grant Funding Totals from your County)
  • General Grants includes over 200 grants that have local, regional and statewide impact (include NCAC Grant Funding Totals from your County)
  • Arts Nonprofits support over 70,000 FTE Jobs
  • Arts Nonprofits have a $2.12 Billion economic impact in NC and generate $107M in state taxes and $95M in local taxes.
  • NC Arts Council Grants fund programs that encourage economic development, invest in communities, and support education

Educate Legislators about the Arts High School Graduation Requirement:

  • State Board of Education has over three years and ample flexibility to create the criteria and implementation plan that works best for NC schools and students
  • Almost all schools already provide arts education classes and the vast majority of students are already meeting this requirement so the cost would be minimal
  • Involvement in the arts has been proven to dramatically increase graduation rates and academic achievement, especially for the most economically challenged students
  • Creativity is considered the most important skill for employees by 72% of business leaders

Your Story:

Tell them how the arts impact you, impact your economy, impact your students, and impact your community. Share your story. It is the most powerful tool you have to persuade.


Learn more.

Redbud Writing Project to Serve Triangle

Co-Founder Emily Cataneo

Many thanks to our board president, Shervon Cassim, who just let us know that two graduates of NC State’s MFA program–Emily Cataneo and Arshia Simkin—have started the Redbud Writing Project, a writing school for creative writers and are offering workshops in the Triangle area (Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and surrounding metro areas).

The Redbud Writing Project plans to hold classes in community spaces in Raleigh, Chapel Hill, and Durham, on topics ranging from short story and novel writing to memoir, submitting, publishing, and more. They plan to offer one-off workshops and three-day intensive workshops (the first of which are planned for the end of June and the middle of July), while their signature offering will be six-week craft/workshop classes that allow students to explore elements of fiction while also receiving feedback on their own work. The first six-week workshop classes will begin at the end of August.

One of the primary goals at Redbud is to contribute to the Triangle’s robust literary community. They understand that this region is home to many writers who cannot take two years out of their lives to pursue an MFA, but who want access to regular, rigorous classes where they can improve their craft and make literary friends.

Co-Founder Arshia Simkin

Redbud is currently offering a 40 percent discount to NC Writers’ Network members using an initial sign-up code by June 15:


For more information, and to register for classes, visit

You also can find them on social media at and @redbudwriting on Twitter and Instagram.

The Little Library in Rich Square

We’re approaching the one-year anniversary of the Little Library opening in Rich Square. To celebrate, we thought we’d share with you the press release from our friend Cal Bryant, editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Enjoy!


Shelia Moses prepares to add books to the shelves of Braxton’s Little Free Library, located inside Futrell Pharmacy in downtown Rich Square.

RICH SQUARE – In an effort to bring books to the citizens of Rich Square and the surrounding area, “Braxton’s Little Free Library” has opened inside of Futrell Pharmacy, located on Main Street in the heart of downtown Rich Square.

The brainchild of Rich Square native Shelia P. Moses, a noted and award-winning author, the library bears the name of her late grandfather, Braxton Jones.

The library is a bookcase built by Leon Moses of Greensboro, the brother of Sheila Moses.

“The closest library to the people in Rich Square is in Jackson,” said Shelia Moses. “I want people in every town in the county to have a place to go.

“These books are free,” she continued. “They don’t have to bring them back unless they want to return them and pick out a new book.

“I love the library in Jackson and the people who work there. They support what I am trying to do,” Moses said.

She praised the welcoming spirit of the owners of Futrell Pharmacy for hosting the first-ever “Braxton’s Little Free Library.”

Sallie and Bill Futrell did not hesitate one moment to help me get this program started,” Moses remarked. “They allowed me to put the library in their place of business without asking one question. They understood my vision. I am so grateful.”

There are plans to add other locations of “Braxton’s Little Free Library.”

“The goal is to open a little library in every county,” Moses stated. “Du Dobb’s (Restaurant) in Rich Square will open a library in August and we are working on opening one in Jackson in September.”

Shelia Moses’ latest project is a book about W. S. Creecy High School, titled A Price Was Paid, The History of W.S. Creecy High School. The book has been adapted into an exhibit that [opened] on Oct. 20 [2018] at the Northampton Memorial Library in Jackson. A documentary with the same title is in the works.

Copies of that book are available for purchase at or at Du Dobb’s Restaurant in Rich Square.

RIP Tony Horwitz

Pulitzer-Prize winning author Tony Horwitz died this week, at age 60. He was on book tour for his latest work, Spying on the South: An Odyssey Across the American Divide.

A longtime staffwriter at The New Yorker, Horwitz is arguably best known for Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War, his nonfiction exploration of “hard-core reenactors, Scarlett O’Hara look-alikes, and people who reshape Civil War history to suit the way they wish it had come out,” according to James McPherson. In 2000, Confederates in the Attic was added to the freshman reading list at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Horwitz also wrote the bestsellig Blue Latitudes: Boldly Going Where Captain Cook Has Gone Before, which retraces the voyages of Captain James Cook, the Yorkshire farm boy who drew the map of the modern world, among many other books.

Obituaries and memorials abound:

Some of Confederates in the Attic focuses on the Carolinas. From Slate:

Horwitz meets some people with some pretty confused ideas about history. In reporting on his visit to a meeting of a group called Children of the Confederacy, in Raleigh, North Carolina, Horwitz partially reproduces the text of the organization’s ‘catechism,’ a pamphlet of questions and answers that the children were expected to memorize: ‘Q. What was the feeling of the slaves towards their masters? A. They were faithful and devoted and were always ready and willing to serve them.’ …The value of Horwitz’s reporting is in his careful questioning of some of the attendees of the meeting, including Beth, a ‘tall, intense girl of twelve with braces and a black barrette stuck crookedly in her hair.’ Beth calls herself ‘not prejudiced’ and allows: ‘I’m sure there were some good things about the North.’ She also (like many a 12-year-old) is obsessed with Anne Frank, and with the victims of the Holocaust in general. ‘What gets me is the heart of the Jews,’ Beth tells Horwitz. ‘They were underdogs, they knew they were going to die but they didn’t give up the faith. Just like the Confederates.’

Years later, Horwitz’s writing feels more crucial than ever.

Funeral arrangements have yet to be announced.

Tea: a Literary Appreciation

I sort of appreciate it when authors take a moment to describe food and beverages. Being a fan of refreshments myself, I find it comforting when the characters I’m reading about also need to accomplish basic human tasks such as eating, drinking, sleeping, going to work, etc.

Good Life Tea recently wrote a blog post “Five of the Loveliest Things Said about Tea by Literary Figures.”

Check it out here.

Tea has been mentioned and applauded by writers from Neil Gaimin to Oscar Wilde. And I’m totally with Arthur from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams: if I ever find myself in space, there’d better be tea. What’s civilization without it?

Speaking of tea, one of our 2018 Fall Conference instructors, Jodi Helmer, just published her new book, Growing Your Own Tea Garden: The Guide to Growing and Harvesting Flavorful Teas in Your Backyard (Companionhouse Boooks). Lavishly illustrated, this book walks readers through a brief history of tea and then recommends all kinds of flowers, herbs, shrubs, and roots that readers can grow themselves to create delicious homegrown brews. A section in the back even suggests potential garden designs—very helpful for the newbie gardner / tea grower.

Good Life Tea is located in downtown Canandaigua, in western NY, the gateway to the beautiful Finger Lakes. They opened their doors in October of 2013, and since then they have enjoyed educating their customers about all things tea and reminding them to take a quiet moment to relax. Their website has all the loose leaf tea selections from their store and all of their most popular teaware.

Speaking from experience, ahem, their tea is delicious, the orders usually ship same-day, and the prices are reasonable. Plus, their customer service is great!

Check out their website at

Some NCWN members have contributed to the blog on Good Life Tea as well, including “Experiences with Irish Tea” by Brenda Kay Ledford.

Jaki Shelton Green Receives Caldwell Award

Jaki Shelton Green

The North Carolina Humanities Council has awarded Jaki Shelton Green the 2019 John Tyler Campbell Award for the Humanities, the council’s highest honor.

The Caldwell Award will recognize Green for her lifelong achievements as a teacher, humanities advocate and ambassador for poetry and the spoken word in North Carolina.

Jaki Shelton Green is the current poet laureate of North Carolina. She was inducted into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame in 2014, was the 2009 NC Piedmont Laureate, and in 2003 received the North Carolina Award for Literature for her fine poetry and “inveterate championing of the underdog.” Her poetry collections and chapbooks include Feeding the Light, breath of the song, Dead on Arrival, Conjure Blues, and singing a tree into dance. Her poetry has appeared in The Crucible, The African-American Review, Obsidian, Ms., and Essence. She lives in Mebane.

A public ceremony and reception will be held in Durham in October of 2019. Event details will be announced in early summer. The event will be free and open to the public.

For more information, visit

RIP Leon Hinton

Leon Hinton

Longtime NCWN member Leon Hinton, of Burlington, passed away on Monday, May 20. He was 92.

According to Mamie Potter, Leon was “instrumental in getting the Network started and [was] part of the conferences” going back to the 1980s.

From his obituary in Burlington’s Times-News:

Mr. Hinton recently published a book entitled Soap Box. He was a Burlington poet and short story writer. His is past president of the North Carolina Poetry Society, past president of the Burlington Writers, was on the Founding Board of the NC Writers’ Network, listed with the NC Writers Conference, a long-time board member of the Poetry Council of NC, and a member of the NC Writer’s Association. He has taught business subjects and creative writing at Alamance Community College and was the Saturday Supervisor there. His poetry and short stories have appeared mostly in anthologies and local newspapers.

For the full obituary, click here.

CALL TO ACTION: Contact your NC Senator about the House Budget 

By Ed Southern, Executive Director,  NCWN

Our friends at ARTS North Carolina have issued this Call to Action:

The NC House of Representatives have approved their budget for the 2019-2021 Biennium and sent it to the Senate for consideration. As the Senate works through their budget, we want you to be aware of arts related funding and policy that was included in the House Budget, particularly the funding for equitable and accountable grants through the NC Arts Council, so that you can have informed conversations. Please call or email your Senator this week.

  • Grassroots Grants Programs: There is an additional $1,000,000 in nonrecurring funding for the NC Arts Council Grassroots Arts Grant program for FY2020, however it is not included in FY2021. It also, contains language that prohibits those dollars from being distributed to ten Tier 3 counties with populations over 100,000. Please call or email your Senator and tell them you support this allocation and would like to see this funding become recurring without language that restricts it from being distributed to all 100 counties.
  • General Grants: There is no additional funding for NC Arts Council’s General Grants which includes the State Arts Resources Operational and Rural Touring grants, Veterans Arts, SmART Initiative, Education and Program Support grants, and much more. Please encourage the Senate to include at least $500,000 in increased funding for these vital General Grants programs.
  • Arts High School Graduation Requirement: The language from H56 and S238, which both establish a requirement of one arts credit between 6th and 12th grade for high school graduation, is included in the House Budget and Arts NC is encouraging the Senate to allow that provision to remain to insure all North Carolina students have access to arts education.

To be honest, what matters most to the Network is the second bullet point, General Grants.

The North Carolina Writers’ Network receives an annual Statewide Services Organization grant from the North Carolina Arts Council. Since 2010, and through no fault of our own, we’ve seen this grant amount decline by one-third.

We try hard to keep the Network as affordable and accessible as we can, and to compensate our instructors fairly. We’ve been fortunate to have loyal members, generous donors, and outstanding writers who appreciate the Network’s role in our literary community.

A return to traditional levels of state funding, though, would help us keep member dues and registration rates low, pay our instructors and critiquers better, and provide more services and accessibility. If the state government would support the arts as it once did, it would relieve some of the pressure of fundraising, and let us concentrate more on serving North Carolina writers and writing.

Please take a few minutes to call or write your state senators, using this link to identify and contact them.

Remind them how vital the arts—including the literary arts—have been to North Carolina’s development: economically, educationally, culturally.

Remind them that North Carolina has been known as a good place to do business in large part because it’s been a great place to make art, to write and to read.

Remind them that North Carolina is, and always should be, the Writingest State.