NC Literary Hall of Fame



WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH—Robert Wallace, author of more than fifty essays, will lead the class "Writing the Short Personal Essay" at the North Carolina Writers' Network 2017 Fall Conference, November 3-5, at the Holiday Inn Resort in Wrightsville Beach.

Registration is now open.

Robert Wallace has published more than fifty essays, many of them short personal essays in The News & Observer in Raleigh. He is also the author of over thirty-five fiction stories in journals such as the North Carolina Literary Review, the Bryant Literary Review, The Long Story, and others. He is a two-time winner of the Doris Betts’ Fction Prize. He is the author of the novel A Hold on Time. Wallace has received an Emerging Artist grant from the Durham Arts Council and a Writer’s Fellowship from the NC Arts Council.

NCWN has been celebrating literary journals this year, so we asked Robert to tell us about his first publication.

"My first publication was in Spectator in 1993, a weekly Triangle newspaper that was bought out by The Independent. The Spectator held a fiction contest in those days. But my first strictly literary journal publication was in Cities and Roads, another publication that is no longer in print.

"Tom Kealey, a former Greensboro resident who now teaches at Stanford University, started Cities and Roads. The subtitle of Cities and Roads I have memorized to this day: 'A collection of short stories for North Carolina readers and writers.'

"Tom only published fiction in his journal, but I was struck by a couple of things about him. One was that he was a go-getter with an attitude about words and their importance that was going to take him places, and secondly, that he emphasized the importance of readers. In those days it was nice to have a publication that was strictly devoted to only North Carolina writers. Tom gave many of us our first publication, and for that I’m grateful."

"Writing the Short Personal Essay" will define what makes an essay personal and what it means to make oneself a character in the story. Participants will discuss craft, narrative voice, and other devices commonly thought of in fiction-storytelling. Additionally, they'll explore examples of short personal essays and allow time for participants to begin crafting their own short personal essay. Time will be allowed for asking questions, and for the business side of writing personal essays, such as places that publish this genre, and where to go to learn more.

Fall Conference attracts hundreds of writers from around the country and provides a weekend full of activities that include lunch and dinner banquets with readings, keynotes, tracks in several genres, open mic sessions, and the opportunity for one-on-one manuscript critiques with editors or agents. This year's Master Classes will be led by Dan Albergotti (Poetry); Wendy Brenner (Creative Nonfiction); and Nina de Gramont (Fiction). New York Times bestselling author Wiley Cash will give the Keynote Address.

Register here.

The nonprofit North Carolina Writers’ Network is the state’s oldest and largest literary arts services organization devoted to all writers, in all genres, at all stages of development. For additional information, visit


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