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Meet Our Fall Conference Exhibitors: Part I

The North Carolina Writers’ Network 2015 Fall Conference runs November 20-22 in Asheville. Registration is open.

One of the highlights of the weekend is our exhibit hall packed with vendors representing literary organizations from around North Carolina and beyond. We’ll be introducing all the exhibitors in a three-part series of blog posts.

In alphabetical order….

Asheville Poetry Review is an annual literary journal that publishes 180–220 pages of poems, interviews, translations, essays, historical perspectives, and book reviews. Since its inception, Asheville Poetry Review has published over 600 new and established writers from 14 different countries. Founder and Managing Editor Keith Flynn will lead a poetry workshop at Fall Conference, “The Art of Editing Poetry.” He’ll also be joined by his band, The Holy Men, to play the Annual Banquet on Saturday night. APR Senior Editor Luke Hankins will serve as a Poetry Critiquer for the Critique Service, a chance for registrants to schedule a one-on-one, thirty-minute review session that provides writers with in-depth literary critique of fiction, nonfiction, or poetry, by a seasoned writer or editor.

Babington.Co is a communication, design, illustration, and writing company that caters to all of a writer’s design needs. Services include graphic design and production, digital marketing management, hand and digital illustrations and art, written content creation and editing, and book design and illustration specialty.

backbonepresslogopngDurham-based Backbone Press is a small press with a big vision. It’s a venue for ethnic poets, including African-American writers, which has a deep interest in poetry by Latino/a, Asian, and other Ethnicities. The press is also a seeker of poetry that is political, evocative, social, gritty, and also personal and poignant. Their writers include Tara Betts and Tyree Daye.

Hosted in April each year, the Blue Ridge Bookfest offers small group workshops where writers gain knowledge and resources to complement their craft, their efforts towards publication, and book sales. Panel discussions with authors in thematically connected genres and topics offer readers in-depth and behind the scenes participation in the world of books. Workshops, presentations, and the exhibit hall are free to the public. The Eighth Annual Blue Ridge Bookfest happens April 22 & 23, 2016, at Blue Ridge Community College in Flat Rock.

Bull City Press publishes a small quarterly magazine, Inch; poetry chapbooks through the Frost Place Chapbook Fellowship; and the Bull City Poetry Prize series. Established in Durham in 2006, their authors include Ellen C. Bush, Michael McFee, and Anna Ross. The Frost Place Chapbook Competition is open until January 5, 2016. The winner’s chapbook will be published by Bull City Press, and the winner will receive 10 complimentary copies (from a print run of 300), and a $250.00 stipend. The winner will also receive a full fellowship to attend the five-and-a-half-day Poetry Seminar at The Frost Place in August 2016, including room and board (a cash value of approximately $1,500.00), and will give a featured reading from the chapbook at the Seminar.

CarolinaWrenPresCarolina Wren Press is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to publish quality writing, especially by writers historically neglected by mainstream publishing, and to develop diverse and vital audiences through publishing, outreach, and educational programs. This Durham-based publisher hosts the annual Lee Smith Novel Prize. This contest is now open; the deadline is November 30. The winner of the Lee Smith Novel Prize wins $1,000 and publication. CWP authors include Chantel Acevedo, Moira Crone, and North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame inductee Jaki Shelton Green.

The Great Smokies Writing Program at the University of North Carolina at Asheville is a joint effort between the UNC-Asheville departments of Literature and Language, 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. Great Smokies Writing Program classes are offered three times a year – fall, spring, and summer – at various locations in the Asheville area. Each course carries academic credit awarded through UNC-Asheville. The GSWP facilitates the annual Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize.

Pre-registration for the North Carolina Writers’ Network 2015 Fall Conference closes Friday, November 13. Register now!

Got a Book Coming Out?

Encore magazine, Wilmington’s alternative weekly, is currently seeking books to review in 2016.

The plan is to pair a new book with an older companion book in each review. Because Encore is a weekly rag, they’re looking for fifty-two books.

The reviewer, friend-of-the Network Gwenyfar Rohler, is interested in reading novels, short-story collections, essay collections, anthologies, memoirs, creative nonfiction, biography, history, and science. (This is not the right venue for poetry.) However, she also writes the book reviews for, Devour, a food magazine. If you have a food related book (narrative or how-to), you might consider sending it to her as well.

Encore regularly covers topics pertaining to news, arts, entertainment, food, and city life in Wilmington. It also maintains schedules and listings of local events like concerts, festivals, live performance art and think-tank events. Print and online editions are updated every Wednesday. Website:

To submit your book for review, send it along to:

Old Books on Front St.
Attn: Gwenyfar
249 N. Front St.
Wilmington, NC 28401

Tony Abbott Receives North Carolina Award

Anthony S. Abbott

Former North Carolina Writers’ Network president and longtime Network supporter Anthony S. Abbott (Tony) is one of six recipients of the 2015 North Carolina Award.

Established by the General Assembly in 1961, the North Carolina Award is the highest civilian honor given by the state. Presented annually since 1964, the award recognizes significant contributions to the state and nation in the fields of fine art, literature, public service, and science.

Tony has been recognized in the Literature category.

He is an award-winning poet and novelist. He is the author of five books of poetry, including the Pulitzer-nominated The Girl in the Yellow Raincoat. If Words Could Save Us was the recipient of the 2012 Brockman-Campbell Award. He is also the author of two novels, the highly acclaimed Leaving Maggie Hope and its sequel, The Three Great Secret Things. An instructor in English at Bates College for three years beginning in 1961, he joined the English Department at Davidson College in 1964. He became Full Professor in 1979 and was named Charles A. Dana Professor of English in 1990. He served as the Chair of the Department from 1989 to 1996. His newest poetry collection is The Angel Dialogues, which former NC Poet Laureate and NC Literary Hall of Fame inductee Kathryn Stripling Byer called “One of the most emotionally wide-open collections of poetry that I’ve read in a long time.”

From the press release:

For over fifty years Tony Abbott, often reciting poems from memory, has held forth in two classrooms, as Professor of English at Davidson College and as Sunday School teacher at Davidson College Presbyterian Church, and has engaged students, communities and individuals in his passion for writing. In seven volumes of poetry and two novels, he has plumbed the issues that bring meaning to life. Abbott is well known for his irrepressible passion for the written word, his eye for the telling detail and his dedication to the community of writers in the Tar Heel State. A scholar of George Bernard Shaw and William Butler Yeats, Abbott underwent a transformation after the unexpected death of his young daughter. Poetry gave him an outlet to grieve and begin to heal which resulted in his best known poem and the title of his first book of verse, The Girl in the Yellow Raincoat, nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Among the beneficiaries of his transformed life were Davidson College and, more especially, Davidson’s students. Abbott advocated for a creative writing focus for English majors, a first for the college, and inspired students and the public in captivating workshops. Abbott’s latest work, published in 2014, is The Angel Dialogues, a suite of poems centered upon a cynical poet and an iconoclastic angel that showcases his ability to take on very deep and emotional subjects, expressed in words that everyone can understand.

The award will be presented on Thursday, November 12, at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel and Convention Center in Durham. Tickets at $99 plus tax each.

The other recipients of the 2015 North Carolina Award include Dr. Anthony Atala of Winston-Salem for Science; Senator James T. Bryohill of Winston-Salem for Public Service; Dr. A. Everette James, Jr., of Chapel Hill for Fine Arts; Howard N. Lee of Chapel Hill for Public Service; and Patricia McBride of Charlotte for Fine Arts.

Nominations for the 2015 awards cycle closed in late April of this year. Anyone can submit nominations, which are considered by a five-member committee appointed by the governor. That committee makes recommendations to the governor, who makes the final decision.

Nominations for the 2016 cycle will open in February or March 2016.

Mentorships for Student Poets

Brent Martin

Applications are now being accepted for students interested in a mentorship through the Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet Series. This program allows students of all ages to be mentored by three distinguished poets from East, West, and Central North Carolina. The mentors each work with a middle-school, high-school, college or university student, and an adult within their respective regions.

This year’s poets are Eric Weil (East), Ruth Moose (Central), and Brent Martin (West).

Any middle school, high school, college, or university student—or any adult poet not currently enrolled in an academic program—may apply for the GCDP Series mentorship. The adult student poet does not need to submit an instructor recommendation, otherwise the application requirements are essentially the same. There is no cost for applying, but the deadline for 2015-2016 is November 1.

“The student poets work on a dozen pages of poems for six months with their mentor,” said poet William Jackson Blackley, co-founder and chairman of the GCDP Series. “The students and mentors read at either Barton College, St. Andrews University, or Western Carolina, and in addition, each student reads with their mentor at their hometown public library. At the end of each annual cycle a book is publish by St. Andrews University Press containing the poems of the student poet and their mentor.”

For a list of which counties are associated with which region, click here.

To apply for a mentorship click here.

To apply to be one of the three mentor poets for 2016-2017, click here.

“This is a great opportunity for those wanting to dive deeper into their writing and get experience reading in public,” said Brent Martin. “I had a lot of fun with it last year.”

The Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet Series is a program of the North Carolina Poetry Society. The program hopes to foster the reading, writing, and enjoyment of poetry across the state of North Carolina.

You’re Invited: Reception for Lee Smith Novel Prize

Lee Smith

Lee Smith

Carolina Wren Press hosts the annual Lee Smith Novel Prize honoring New York Times bestselling author and North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame inductee Lee Smith. The inaugural winner is Mulberry by Paulette Boudreaux, and CWP will host a reception to celebrate:

Friday, October 23, 7:00 pm
The John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute, Smith Warehouse, Bays 4 and 5
114 S. Buchanon Blvd.
Durham, NC 27703

The evening will feature remarks by Lee Smith, Paulette Boudreaux, Jill McCorkle, David Payne, NC Literary Hall of Fame inductees Jaki Shelton Green and Allan Gurganus, and others. The public—that means you!—is invited, but space is limited.

Tickets can be purchased at All proceeds benefit Carolina Wren Press, a 501(c)(3) organization.

The submission period for the next Lee Smith Novel Prize is now open. The award will be presented to a novel by an author from, living in, or writing about the American South—authors need only meet one of these qualifications, not all three. CWP hopes to find and promote novelists from the South and their novels and, in the process, to explore and expand the definition of Southern literature. The winner receives $1,000 and publication by Carolina Wren Press. The deadline is November 30.

Lee Smith, of course, will give the Keynote Address at the North Carolina Writers’ Network 2015 Fall Conference on Friday, November 20. She’ll also lead a workshop, “Believe It or Not! Fact or Fiction?”

Having just finished my first nonfiction book, I’d like to open up a freewheeling discussion on the hazards and benefits of both genres…and offer a few hard-earned pointers on how to make the page come alive in either form.

Registration for the NCWN 2015 Fall Conference is now open.

All About the Authors

We’re excited to share with you a new online resource for writers: All About the Authors, a “support system for authors housed within a one-stop virtual platform where writers learn about all aspects of book publishing.”

They’ve assembled a crack team, including Carin Siegfried (who also serves as a Critiquer for the North Carolina Writers’ Network Critiquing and Editing Service); Betsy Thorpe, who’s been on our faculty for several Fall Conferences; and Priscilla Goudreau-Santos, who led a publicity workshop at the NCWN 2014 Fall Conference in Charlotte. Other players include Karen Alley and Nicole Ayers.

Writers can join for a monthly or yearly fee, and you’ll get some crazy discounts if you sign up now.

Membership gives you access to the Author Resource Center, where content is updated weekly on all things editing and writing, including:

…videos, white papers, and other educational material covering all aspects of the publishing industry, from getting started with writing to marketing that final product. New content is uploaded every week by one of our team of professionals. Members also receive a monthly newsletter with tips for writers and information on what’s new on our website and in the industry.

For a taste of what a subscription gives you access to, you can check out a smattering of free content on the site, and sign up for their e-newsletter.

Hotel Options for Fall Conference

FC11.MarqueePlease note, the Doubletree by Hilton Asheville-Biltmore, site of the NCWN 2015 Fall Conference, has no more guest rooms available. They are currently sold out. However, there are several great hotel options well within walking distance.

For starters, this is the Doubletree’s sister property, and you can use the code “NC Writer’s Network” to secure the special $95 per night rate (please call to secure this special rate):

Biltmore Village Lodge ** Only 15 rooms left! **
Cost: $95 per night
Distance from conference: less than ¼ mile
Guests should call the hotel directly at (828) 277-1800 and mention “NC Writers’ Network” to make reservations. This is the hotel’s website.

Here are four additional hotels that are 1/4 mile or less from the conference venue, listed by ascending price (please note, rates are subject to change prior to booking):

Guest House Inn
Cost: $76 per night
Distance from conference: ¼ mile
(828) 274-0101 or website

Clarion Inn Biltmore Village
Cost: $120 per night
Distance from conference: ¼ mile
(828) 274-0101 or website

Baymont Inn and Suites Asheville-Biltmore
Cost: $160 per night
Distance from conference: less than ¼ mile
(828) 274-2022 or website

Grand Bohemian Hotel Asheville
Cost: $289 per night
Distance from conference: ¼ mile
(828) 505-2949 or website

Registration for the NCWN 2015 Fall Conference is now open.

In the Company of Laureates

Shelby Stephenson

Like astronauts or living U.S. presidents, poet laureates are a pretty exclusive club. There aren’t that many of them, by nature of the job description—to serve as ambassadors for poetry and literature in their city, state, or nation.

On Saturday, October 11, from 1:00-5:00 pm at the Hylton Center for the Performing Arts at George Mason University’s Science and Technology campus, in Manassas, VA, more than 20 current and former poets laureate from Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, Virginia, and West Virginia will gather to celebrate American poetry for “In the Company of Laureates.”

The event is free and open to the public.

J.K. Daniels and LeeAnn Thomas will serve as emcees. Poet Laureates on-hand will include JoAnn Balingit (Poet Laureate of Delaware); Marc Harshman (Poet Laureate of West Virginia); Ron Smith (Poet Laureate of Virginia); and of course Shelby Stephenson, current Poet Laureate of North Carolina.

The day includes panels, presentations, and workshops, including a panel for veterans, “Words on War,” with Dr. Frederick Foote, Bill Glose, Jim Mathews, and Claudia Gary (moderator).

For a complete list of the laureates who will be in attendance, and a schedule of events, click here.

Random Acts of Poetry Day

It’s the first Wednesday in October, which means today is Random Acts of Poetry Day:

Random Acts of Poetry Day is about painting poetry in the public square, either literally or figuratively. Chalk your poem onto the sidewalk, leave one on a subway seat, pin one onto your local grocery store board.

The website Tweet Speak Poetry offers a free book to download with 10 ideas for sharing random acts of poetry…or get creative to let poetry touch someone today.

They also offer links to good poems to share, but we recommend just choosing your favorite poet and sharing a poem of his or hers that really means something to you, or that you just happen to love. Enthusiasm is contagious. Let’s try to spread poetry like the norovirus.

How’s that for a campaign slogan?

Thanks to our friend Kevin Dublin for passing this along!

Hug a Teacher Today

Today, Monday, October 5, is World Teachers’ Day. If you know a teacher, say “thanks.” If you’re a bartender, buy a teacher a drink. And let’s all of us take a moment to remember the mentors and teachers who touched our lives.

To celebrate,, an automated proofreader billed as “the world’s most accurate grammar checker,” put together the following infographic. It’s a good reminder not only to go back and read a teacher classic like Goodbye, Mr. Chips, but that the world is always looking for great educators. Enjoy.

World Teacher Day