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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.


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 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

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.


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.


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 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.


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.


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.


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.

Grants for Non-Profit Publishers

Wisdom House Books © Nicole Stockburger

Wisdom House Books © Nicole Stockburger

Non-profit publishers have more freedom than commercial houses; they can publish books because they deem them worthy in some way, without quite as much concern for the bottomline (although they each watch their bottomline very, very carefully).

One of the challenges, of course, is that just because a book is worthy of publication doesn’t mean it’s going to sell: books can have value despite their ability to turn a profit. As a result, many small presses rely on grants to cover expensive production costs.

Furthermore, a program of the J.M. Kaplan Fund, awards annual grants that specifically support printed and illustrated books. An organization must be a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and not a privately funded organization or a college or university. A press must apply at least three months before the anticipated publication date and have a complete publication plan to include with their application.

The program seeks work that appeals to an informed general audience; demonstrates evidence of high standards in editing, design, and production; promises a reasonable shelf life; might not otherwise achieve top quality or even come into being; and “represents a contribution without which we would be the poorer.”

Applications are reviewed by a group of scholars, publishers, and individuals; they collectively identify the projects that receive Furthermore grants. The program is upfront about the fact that almost two-thirds of awarded grants have gone to applicants from New York State, and many projects focus on New York State, New York City, and the Hudson Valley. However, plenty of small presses from other parts of the country have been awarded grants: for a list of grantees since 2009, click here.

The J.M. Kaplan Fund was established in 1945 by businessman and philanthropist Jacob Merrill Kaplan (1891–1987), who was its president until 1977. Today the Fund is managed by an Operating Board that consists of J. M. Kaplan’s seven grandchildren.

In 2013, Joan K. Davidson, president of Furthermore, established the Alice Award to honor her mother, Alice Manheim Kaplan, who loved and collected the illustrated book as a work of art in itself and an essential document of a civilized society. The Alice Award is selected annually from books that have previously been awarded a Furthermore grant. No applications for the Alice Award are requested or accepted. A jury of distinguished leaders in publishing and the arts selects the Alice Award recipient.

For more information about the J.M. Kaplan Fund, click here.

Introducing Zoozil

iPad Screenshot

Book lovers of a certain age may remember the “Choose Your Own Adventure” series, where, at certain points in the narrative, readers were given the option to make decisions that affected the outcome of the story.

We’d come upon a cliffhanger, and the book would offer options to turn to one page or another. Some choices furthered the story; other choices led to the protagonist’s demise, which, because the books were written in second person, always felt kind of personal. This blogger, anyway, still recalls a Punji Pit he tumbled into during one jungle-themed adventure, which brought that particular tale to a quick and inglorious end—all while lounging in the waiting room of his doctor’s office.

While this series might always carry a faint hint of nostalgia—those books were certainly “of an era”—a new publisher is determined to make reader-driven narratives not merely a quirk of one particular set of books, but the industry standard.

Zoozil is all about “choice-driven books.” They want to bring together leaders in “literacy, education, and technology and pair them with children’s book authors to create e-books serving the K-12 market that allow to you to Change The Story™—not just in our books, but in your classroom and home as well.”

Zoozil stories are based in history and offer multimedia add-ons that make for an immersive reading experience. Readers can organize their virtual book shelves into wish lists and books they’ve read. The product has only released version 1.1, so some caveats apply: there will probably be hiccups, but the product is likely to improve dramatically over time.

“Zoozilists” can download stories to any internet-connected device, whether through iTunes or through the Zoozil website (coming soon).

Other features include metrics that allow young readers to track what words they’ve looked up in the dictionary; what choices they made for their characters; and the ability to post notes, discover word pronunciations, and answer optional reading comprehension questions.

Beyond individual readers, Zoozil hopes to help educators improve reading comprehension in their students by making each story’s ending “true to life” and instill students with a sense of autonomy as their choices drive a successful narrative. Because the most effective way to explore Zoozil is to ask “What If?”, Zoozil “promotes an environment where readers can feel a sense of belonging, competence, and respect—something students may not always feel amongst their peers.”

Click here to visit their website and link to their social media feeds.

Carl Sandburg Writer-in-Residence

Writer-in-Residence Accommodations

The Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site is located on 264 acres in western North Carolina. Carl Sandburg, of course, was a Pulitzer-Prize winning author and poet who made his home in Flat Rock for nearly twenty-five years.

The park’s vast historical and cultural resources include pastures, ponds, small mountains, hiking trails, and fifty structures, including the Sandburg’s residence and goat barn. (He raised prize-winning goats.) The park is open seven days a week, and offers one of the biggest archival collections in the Southeast.

It also offers a Writer-in-Residence Program.

The program is open to emerging poets in the United States who are at least twenty-one years old and not enrolled in a degree program, either graduate or undergraduate, during the residence, which runs annually in April. The poet receives a total stipend of $1,500 and contributes up to ten hours a week in community outreach (30 total hours). The writer receives a 15 percent discount in the park’s bookstore, as well as lodging, utilities, and two stipends. He or she is responsible for their own transportation and meals. Two pre-scheduled outreach programs include attending the historic site’s annual Student Poetry Contest reception honoring young writers in the region, and attending an open mic community program which serves as an introduction of the poet to the local literary community.

The 2016 Writer-in-Residence is Kimberly Simms. Hailing from Marietta, SC, sixty of her poems have been published in numerous journals and collections including Poem, The South Carolina Review, The Asheville Poetry Review, The Blue Collar Review, and The Millennium Sampler of SC Poetry, among other journals, anthologies and magazines. Simms has a Master’s degree in English from Clemson University with a Creative Writing Thesis, as well as a BA in English from Furman University.

The Writer-in-Residence program seeks to foster professional development opportunities to writers by:

  • facilitating community involvement and outreach efforts for resident writer with broad and diverse audiences based on both community needs and resident’s needs.
  • providing a workspace and accommodation in a listed National Historic Landmark house in the park on inspirational grounds
  • promoting the resident writer and her/his work, especially in the area media, with possible news stories, interviews, and web-page features.
  • To ensure archival documentation of program

Carl Sandburg will be posthumously inducted into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame on Sunday, October 16, at 2:00 pm, at the Weymouth Center for the Arts & Humanities in Southern Pines. The ceremony is free and open to the public:

For more information about the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site Writer-in-Residence program, and to apply, click here.

I’m Only a Dolphin, Ma’am

“Candy Gram,” says the Land Shark in the classic Saturday Night Live skit.

Now authors can create their own promotional trailers (and knock on myriad types of virtual doors) through Book Candy Grams, a service “designed to help authors and publishers extend the reach of their video marketing to short-form social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram via 15 second spots.”

Book Candy Studios creates flashy book trailers for clients who run the gamut from New York Times bestsellers to first-time authors. According to their projections, 80 percent of internet traffic will be comprised of video by 2019. While they readily acknowledge there is no “magic bullet” that will make a book a marketing success, book trailers have increasingly become status quo for authors hoping to stand out from the crowd.

To view some Book Candy Grams, click here.

Book Candy also offers a promotional “series” package, as well as a discounted package designed specifically for publishers that includes a range of potential add-ons.

For a sample of Book Candy Studios’ trailers, click here.