NC Literary Hall of Fame



GREENSBORO—Writers of creative nonfiction aren't off the hook just because they need to stick to the truth.

Elements of craft familiar to writers of fiction or poetry apply to narrative nonfiction as well: the importance of imagery; a strong opening; and structuring your piece for maximum pay-off are the considerations of all writers.

The North Carolina Writers' Network 2018 Spring Conference happens Saturday, April 21, at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. 

Registration is now open.

Cynthia Nearman will lead the Master Class in Creative Nonfiction. Nearman is chair of the Department of English and Creative Writing at Guilford College in Greensboro. Since 2009, she’s served as creative nonfiction editor for storySouth. She writes flash nonfiction, cultural commentary (rants, really), and experiments with lyric essays that sometimes turn into poems or works of speculative fiction.

Her workshop invites writers to explore and enhance their process of working with vivid images from the earliest drafting stages to making decisions about an essay’s structure and organization. The workshop is designed to engage and invigorate participants’ approaches to the smallest yet most essential elements of nonfiction storytelling: sensory images and concrete details, objects and actions. Attendees will look briefly at vivid scenes from nonfiction works published online and in print, paying careful attention to the connection between concrete details and characters’ desires, and between descriptions of actions and objects and larger meanings or ideas. They'll also consider together how and why image-driven essays work in conventional narrative forms as well as more experimental forms (e.g., lists, lyrics, braids, etc.). The main focus will be on what it means to imagine and create from within images as we generate and revise nonfiction prose. Registrants will practice strategies for discovering and selecting images that do "double duty"—i.e., concrete detail and sensory information that work organically to create living, moving pictures resonant with meaning.

For full details on applying to the Master Class in Creative Nonfiction, click here.

Beginning writers interested in nonfiction, or those who want to sample a broader selection of classes, may register for additional offerings.

Thomas Mira y Lopez, the 2017-2018 Kenan Visiting Writer at UNC-Chapel Hill, will lead the session "Opening Well: Strategies and Possibilities for Starting a Personal Essay."

This class will explore how to begin a personal essay or work of creative nonfiction. What makes an effective or engaging opening? What different strategies are available and how might writers work towards their own style and voice within these tropes? The class will examine examples of different openings in works of creative nonfiction before writing their own openings that reflect and develop on these openings.

"Cinematic Storytelling Techniques for All Writers" with Susan Emshwiller, a produced screenwriter and co-writer of the film Pollock, will enrich your storytelling dramatically. Attendees will see film clips, do prompt writing, and learn tips on effective exposition, dialogue, theme, the power of reactions, creating mystery by withholding information, show-don’t-tell, how to hide setups for surprising payoffs, writing with “shot-sizes” to invigorate their work, and more. This class will benefit writers of all genres.

Additional conference programming includes "Lunch with an Author" (only available to those who pre-register); faculty readings and open mics; and the fourth annual Slush Pile Live! where poetry and prose will be read aloud in two rooms in front of panels of editors and publishers, who will raise their hands as soon as they hear something in the pieces that would make them stop reading if they came across the submission in a slush pile.

Register now.

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


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