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Winston-Salem—The North Carolina Writers’ Network welcomes two new board members: Michele Tracy Berger of Pittsboro and Shervon Cassim of Durham.

Michele Tracy Berger is a professor, a writer, a creativity expert, and a pug-lover. She’s passionate about all of these ways of being in the world and plays with the order that she avidly pursues them.

She is an associate professor in the Department of Women's and Gender Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and an adjunct professor in the Department of City and Regional Planning. Her books include Workable Sisterhood: The Political Journey of Stigmatized Women with HIV/AIDS (Princeton University Press, 2004) and the co-edited collections Gaining Access: A Practical and Theoretical Guide for Qualitative Researchers (Altamira Press, 2003) and The Intersectional Approach: Transforming the Academy Through Race, Class and Gender (University of North Carolina Press, 2010). Transforming Scholarship: Why Women's and Gender Studies Students Are Changing Themselves and The World is her most recent co-authored book (Routledge, 2011). She was recently appointed the Associate Director of the Faculty Fellows Program at UNC-Chapel Hill’s Institute of the Arts and Humanities.

Her creative writing has appeared in The Chapel Hill News, Glint, Flying South, Carolina Woman, Trivia: Voices of Feminism, Ms., The Feminist Wire, various zines, and Western North Carolina Woman. She is at work on a short-story collection of speculative fiction.

Shervon Cassim is a writer and lawyer who was born and raised in Dubai. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from North Carolina State University, where he teaches fiction writing.

At the NCWN 2016 Fall Conference, November 4-6 at the Raleigh Marriott Crabtree Valley, in Raleigh, Shervon will sit on the All Stories Connect panel, “A Conversation about Culture,” with former NCWN trustee Sheila Smith McKoy, as well as Donna Miscolta and Elaine Neil Orr.

The North Carolina Writers' Network connects, promotes, and serves the writers of this state. It provides education in the craft and business of writing, opportunities for recognition and critique of literary work, resources for writers at all stages of development, support for and advocacy of the literary heritage of North Carolina, and a community for those who write. The North Carolina Writers’ Network believes that writing is necessary both for self-expression and a healthy community, that well-written words can connect people across time and distance, and that the deeply satisfying experiences of writing and reading should be available to everyone.

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 www.ncwriters.org.

RALEIGH—The North Carolina Writers' Network 2016 Fall Conference will be held November 4-6 in Raleigh. Registration will open on Monday, August 29.

Fall Conference offers a full weekend of workshops, classes, panels, and readings in fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, self-publishing, and the business of books. Programming includes award-winning Raleigh mystery writer and 2016 North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame inductee Margaret Maron, who’ll give the Keynote Address, and the NC Poet Laureate and 2014 NC Literary Hall of Fame inductee Shelby Stephenson, who’ll be the featured guest at the Saturday night banquet.

This event will be held at the Raleigh Marriott Crabtree Valley, in Raleigh. These accommodations are in close proximity to North Carolina State University, Crabtree Valley Mall, and downtown restaurants and business parks. There is a fitness center and outdoor pool; the hotel is easily accessible from I-40 (as well as 440 and 540 in Raleigh).

Raleigh, and the Triangle at large, is a book-lover's delight and home to many independent bookstores. Attendees may want to schedule time to visit some of these cultural literary gems and tote along an extra suitcase to haul their inevitable purchases home.

Quail Ridge Books has been Raleigh's community bookstore since 1984, and no visit to Raleigh is complete without scheduling time to stop by here. Quail Ridge has moved to a beautiful new location. Also in the City of Oaks, So & So Books is run by Chris Tonelli, who will lead a poetry workshop at Fall Conference.

Outside Raleigh, in Wake Forest, Page 158 Books is where Lit Happens. Page 158 is the official bookseller of NCWN's 2016 Fall Conference and will be on-site selling books by Fall Conference faculty.

In Durham, near the Duke University campus, The Regulator Bookshop has been going strong since 1976. On Main Street in downtown Durham, Letters Bookshop specializes in pristine used books and many excellent new offerings.

Chapel Hill's Flyleaf Books stocks new and used adult and children's titles. They host an array of author events each week. In Pittsboro, just down the road, McIntyre's Fine Books in Fearrington Village has been selling books and promoting authors since 1989.

For more about things to do in Raleigh, click here. And you can keep your finger on the pulse of the Triangle's arts and culture scene through Indy Week.

Registration for NCWN's 2016 Fall Conference opens Monday, August 29.

 

RALEIGH—At the North Carolina Writers' Network 2016 Fall Conference, November 4-6 in Raleigh, award-winning mystery writer Art Taylor will lead a class titled, "Sharp, Succinct & Suspenseful: Crafting the Mystery Story."

Art Taylor is the author of On the Road with Del & Louise: A Novel in Stories, winner of the Agatha Award for Best First Novel and a finalist for both the Anthony and the Macavity Award for Best First Novel. He edited the collection Murder Under the Oaks, a finalist for this year’s Anthony for Best Anthology. He has also won two Agatha Awards, the Anthony Award, the Macavity Award, and three consecutive Derringer Awards for his short fiction. Stories have appeared in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, in the Chesapeake Crime anthologies This Job Is Murder, Homicidal Holidays, and Storm Warning, and in other journals and anthologies. He teaches at George Mason University and contributes frequently to the Washington Post, the Washington Independent Review of Books, and Mystery Scene.

In "Sharp, Succinct & Suspenseful: Crafting the Mystery Story," attendees will ask themselves what makes a mystery? How do you build suspense? Where can I sell my crime story? Art Taylor will offer tips for writing and marketing short mystery stories. From detective fiction to domestic suspense to hard-hitting noir, various subgenres of the mystery offer different challenges for building on tradition and meeting reader expectations. This workshop will examine some specific passages from published crime fiction and look at how they keep aspects of the story in balance: strong prose as much as a fast-paced plot, compelling characters as much as a cleverly solved crime. A discussion of the ever-evolving market for mystery stories will conclude the session.

We asked Art, “What is one piece of advice that you would give to your younger writer self?”

“The advice I’d give to my younger self is—and this is telling—the same advice I’d give to myself now: Write something every day or at least check in on your writing every day.

"Too many times, then and now, I’ve allowed my writing to slip to the back burner while I’m tending too much to other matters. Certainly I have a day job that requires considerable attention (I teach); certainly there are e-mails to answer (and, yes, social media to tend to); and no doubt all of us have personal matters that often take priority: significant others, children, parents. But in the midst of all that, try to find some portion of the day to at least check in on your writing.

"Even if you can’t devote several hours to drafting or revising, there are ways to keep the process going. Read a passage from the previous day’s writing and revise lines as needed. Jot down ideas that have come your way for details, character traits, plot twists. Just open the file on your computer and stare at it for a few minutes. I’m convinced that even these small check-ins keep your mind connected to whatever you’re working on and help keep the momentum going when you do find yourself with more time to immerse yourself in your work-in-progress. (The flip side, of course, is coming back to that WIP cold: Where was I? What was I thinking about here? Where am I going?)

"Even one step is a step further along the path: toward finishing a specific work, toward publication, or toward improving your craft generally—or best yet, toward all three.”

Registration for the North Carolina Writers' Network 2016 Fall Conference opens Monday, August 29, at www.ncwriters.org.

 

 
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