CHARLOTTE—At the North Carolina Writers' Network 2018 Fall Conference, Bryn Chancellor will lead the Pre-Conference Tailgate sponsored by the The University of North Carolina at Charlotte Department of English.
Bryn also will lead the fiction session "Dialogue from the Ground Up: Amplifying Place and the Sensory World."
Fall Conference runs November 2-4, at the Hilton Charlotte University Place. Registration is now open.
Bryn Chancellor is the author of the novel Sycamore (Harper/HarperCollins 2017), which was a Southwest Book of the Year, an Indie Next pick, an Amazon Editors’ Best Book of 2017, and among Bustle’s Best Debuts of 2017. Her story collection When Are You Coming Home? (University of Nebraska Press, 2015) won the Prairie Schooner Book Prize, and her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in numerous publications. A recipient of a 2018 North Carolina Artist Fellowship, her honors include fellowships from the Alabama and Arizona state arts councils and the Poets and Writers Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award. A graduate of Vanderbilt University’s MFA Program, she is an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
This year, NCWN has been celebrating publishers based in North Carolina, so we asked Bryn to answer the following prompt:
"Congratulations! You've inherited a large fortune, on the condition that you use it to start your own publishing house. What kind of books are you going to publish?"
Here's what Bryn said:
"Welcome to Ghost Crab Press
"At Ghost Crab Press, we’re a little obsessed with our eponymous hero, a shy, omnivorous, mostly nocturnal sand burrower who can change colors to match its surroundings. Ocypode quadrata can high-tail it when startled and change directions abruptly; it also is a rather tenacious digger and defender of its spaces on the fringes of the sea. With its large eyes on stalks, it can see 360 degrees, with deep sensitivity to light.
"As we pondered the trajectory of our new literary press, we couldn’t help but see the metaphor in this eccentric creature.
"We seek ghost crab writers, those who dwell in the margins, whose work sometimes goes unnoticed but startles us with its beauty and strangeness when it comes into focus. Such writers explore and defend their beloved habitats, showing us places that are often overlooked: rural areas, small towns, neglected ‘burbs, uncharted avenues and alleys. Our writers have vision for days, looking ahead, behind, above, and below, always poised to see something new about humanity and the world.
"Like other publishing houses, we employ a smashing editorial and publicity team, a big ol’ roomful of smart folks who love reading and talking about books. We’ll edit your work till it shines, put it in a gorgeous cover, and argue splendidly for its space on bookshelves and in readers’ hands.
"So dig deep, ye ghostly ocypodes. An ocean of stories awaits."
In her classs, Bryn will explore how to enrich and intensify dialogue especially through setting, drawing from Janet Burroway’s assertion that “your fiction must have an atmosphere because without it your characters will be unable to breathe.” She'll discuss craft techniques and short examples but focus primarily on writing through targeted exercises that can be used to generate new material or develop works in progress.
During the Pre-Conference Tailgate at 12:00 pm on Friday on the campus of UNCC, which is free and open to the public, Bryn will lead participants through writing exercises and discussion to get some creative juices flowing just before conference registration opens later that day.
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. Master Classes will be led by Judy Goldman (Creative Nonfiction), Maureen Ryan Griffin (Poetry), Randall Kenan (Fiction), who, as a 2018 inductee into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame, also will give the Keynote Address.
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 www.ncwriters.org.