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Four Wake Students Place in Phi Beta Kappa Writing Contest

From the press release:

RALEIGH – Four outstanding high school students are winners of the annual writing contest sponsored by the Phi Beta Kappa Association of Wake County.

This is the forty-eighth year of the contest, which is open to juniors and seniors in all Wake County high schools, public and private. The contest focuses on literary analysis. All submissions must be scholarly interpretations of literature prepared as part of the regular work of an English class.

Junior Division winners are:

  • First Place: Jack Davis, a student of Palmer Seeley at Cary Academy, for “Beautiful Little Fool: The Evolution of the Cool Girl in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl”
  • Second Place: Dylan Jones, a student of Priscilla Chappell at W. G. Enloe Magnet High School, for “The Unwilling Acolytes: The Significance of Claire Zachanassian’s Entourage in The Visit”

Senior Division winners are:

  • First Place: Laura Naslund, a student of Marcia Jones at Ravenscroft School, for “Like Creator, Like Creation: Raskolnikov and Dostoevsky’s Parallel Spiritual Journeys”
  • Second Place: Chloe Pacyna, also a student of Marcia Jones at Ravenscroft School, for “Leading Ladies: The Principal Women of Oedipus Rex and Hamlet”

All winners receive book awards and certificates from the Association. First and second place winners also receive cash awards. The Association [honored] the winners, their teachers, and their families at its Spring Banquet the evening of April 28 at the Carolina Country Club. Guest speaker is Robert T. “Bob” Geolas, President and CEO of the Research Triangle Foundation of North Carolina.

“As always, we received a diverse and interesting collection of essays,” according to Association President Michael Blanchard of Raleigh. “Wake County is fortunate to have talented students, dedicated teachers, and supportive parents who care about scholarship. We encourage every public and independent high school in Wake County to participate.”

The Phi Beta Kappa Association of Wake County is made up of alumni members of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, the nation’s oldest undergraduate honor society. Founded at The College of William and Mary in 1776, Phi Beta Kappa fosters and recognizes excellence in the liberal arts and sciences. For information on the Wake County Association, visit the website at

On May 2, Celebrate Indy Bookstores!

On Saturday, May 2, more than 400 independent bookstores around the country will celebrate Independent Bookstore Day. Here are some of the parties you’ll find at your local purveyor of books:

Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe
Exclusive limited edition books and art pieces for sale, as well as a literary trivia contest hosted by the hilarious Allan Wolf (The Watch That Ends the Night). Win fabulous prizes donated by generous local businesses, enjoy some yummy munchies provided by Ingles, and raise a glass of champagne to indie bookstores everywhere!

Chapel Hill
Flyleaf Books
In the morning, stories and crafts for children; in the afternoon, Jeremy Hawkins leads a prompt-writing workshop for writers at all levels, and in the evening, live music by Jake Xerxes Fussell.

The Regulator Bookshop
In the morning, activities for kids; in the afternoon, an open mic followed by readings from banned books, literary trivia with prizes, and a party in the evening with live music and local literati.

McIntyre’s Fine Books
Storytelling and crafts for children start the day off; Alan Gurganus and Margaret Thornton read in the afternoon, followed by live music from Mr. Billy…and prosecco!

Quail Ridge Books & Music
All-day offerings include art projects for kids, give-aways, and special merch on sale: first-come, first-served.

The Literary Bookpost

NC Awards Extends Nomination Deadline

From our friends at the NC Department of Cultural Resources:

The deadline to submit nominations for the 2015 North Carolina Awards, the highest civilian honor bestowed by the state, has been extended to Friday, May 8, 2015.

Please nominate a co-worker, community leader or friend TODAY who has served North Carolina with distinction. This is the opportunity for you to pay tribute to North Carolinians who better our experiences by their extraordinary involvement in our state.

Past recipients include William Friday, Romare Bearden, James Taylor, Gertrude Elion, John Hope Franklin, David Brinkley, Maya Angelou, Billy Graham and Branford Marsalis.

The nomination form and guidelines are available online.

To receive a form by mail or by email, please contact or call (919) 807-7256.

New Online Forum for Indy Publishing

The Council of Literary Magazines and Presses offers services and resources “designed to develop each member’s publishing capacity through increased marketing and organizational skills” and “serves as a nexus of communication, promoting shared learning across the entire field.”

To these ends, they’re firing up a new online forum this summer: Front Porch Commons.

From the press release:

Front Porch Commons provides a virtual space for sharing that’s produced by and for you—be a part of it! We will welcome comments, articles, essays, and blog posts from all who participate in or are interested in independent literary publishing—that includes publishers, authors, readers, librarians, educators, historians, booksellers, and all who care about our community.

Front Porch Commons is now accepting submissions. Follow the link for more information about what they’re looking for, and how to submit.

The CLMP maintains the Literary Magazine Circulation Database Template, a “low cost alternative to stand-alone database systems that helps literary magazines better manage their subscriber records, customer service, marketing campaigns, and accounting of earned income.” Their online services include e-mail lists, an online database of literary venues, and a website chock-full of resources for the indy publisher. CLMP also engages in political advocacy and publishes the Directory of Literary Magazines and Presses each year.

For more, visit

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!