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RALEIGH—NCWN members swept first, second, and third place in this year's Rose Post Creative Nonfiction Competition.

Pam Van Dyk of Raleigh won first place for her essay, "ABC to XYZ." Van Dyk will receive $1,000, and Ecotone will consider her essay for publication.

Final judge Madge McKeithen said "ABC to XYZ" is “an emotionally and cognitively compelling recollection by a woman at mid-life of her Vietnam Veteran Dad's love of nature and the sustaining tapestry of identity she created for herself at his side."

Van Dyk is a senior editor at Regal House Publishing and enjoys working with both fiction and nonfiction authors on their way to publication. When it comes to her own writing, she adheres to the philosophy that one must learn how to write by reading. Thus, she spends a great deal of time adding books to her ever-growing "to read" list. A selection of her fiction has been anthologized by the Maine Review, Outrider Press, and Flying South.

Ashley Memory of Asheboro took second place with her essay, "Eulogy of a Northern Red Oak," which McKeithen described as "an ambitious and accomplished use of the second person perspective to keep the reader's focus and attention on one particular Oak Tree amid the whirl of other world and very local goings-on during its life span. As experiential as it is experimental, this essay echoes with long resonance a deep caring for the specifics of our natural world."

Memory lives in the Uwharrie Mountains of the Piedmont with her husband, the sculptor Johnpaul Harris, and "happily counts many red oaks as her neighbors." A former communications director at UNC, she now spends her days musing on metaphors and poking around abandoned cemeteries. Her poetry and prose have appeared in The Thomas Wolfe Review, The News & Observer in Raleigh, Wildlife in North Carolina, Naugatuck River Review, and Romantic Homes, among others. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and she is a two-time recipient of the Doris Betts Fiction Prize. Memory will receive a $300 prize check.

"Oh Brother, Where Are You?" by Barbara Furr took third place. "This essay is a decades-spanning sibling connection revealed through a personal essay written in spare prose. The narrator's voice is spunky and savvy and able to capture the essence of a lifetime's connection in a few scenes well told."

Furr was born in Northampton County, North Carolina, in 1927. She and her husband Curt have lived in the village of Corrales, New Mexico, for four decades, but Barbara says she "is a Tar Heel born and a Tar Heel bred, and when I die I’ll be a Tar Heel dead." She has published poetry and book reviews.

Sponsored by the North Carolina Writers’ Network, the Rose Post Creative Nonfiction Competition encourages the creation of lasting nonfiction work that is outside the realm of conventional journalism. The contest is open to any legal resident of North Carolina or member of the NC Writers’ Network.

Normally administered by the UNC-Wilmington creative writing department, Queens University of Charlotte’s MFA in Creative Writing program took over this year’s contest so that UNCW could concentrate on hurricane recovery.

Rose Post worked for the Salisbury Post for fifty-six years as a reporter, feature writer, and columnist. She won numerous state and national awards for her writing and earned the NC Press Women's top annual award four times. She received the O. Henry Award from the Associated Press three times, the Pete Ivey Award, and the School Bell Award for educational coverage. Nationally, she won the 1989 Ernie Pyle Award, the Scripps Howard Foundation National Journalism Award for human-interest writing, and the 1994 National Society of Newspaper Columnists' Award.

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.

GREENSBORO—All writers have something of an investigative eye, perhaps none more so than poets who, with every line scrutinized, must unearth the most effective words and symbols to convey their artistic intent.

Poets do this, of course, through curiosity, by being unafraid to fail, and by using elements of the craft such as metaphor and point of view, all of which will be shared and discussed at the upcoming North Carolina Writers' Network 2019 Spring Conference on Saturday, April 27, at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Registration is now open.

Amy Catanzano will lead the Master Class in Poetry "Investigative Poetics."

This Master Class will focus on what is known as “investigative poetics,” where writers innovatively and adventurously probe, explore, and research subjects of study that can bring their writing—and lived experiences—to new depths and rewards. Investigation begins with curiosity, ambition, and possibility. It is sustained by exploration, skill, and resources. We start with the notion that the artistic practice of poetry, when vital and inventive, happens within an “expanded field” situated beyond the homogenous, the ordinary, the obvious, and the habituated. As “field poets” (like “field journalists” who go into the field to do their reporting), we work with and alongside language to interface with this expanded field in the service of our writing and research. We will discuss effective strategies that will maximize our creative research efforts, develop personalized plans for conducting field work, and practice writing techniques that are designed to initiate and support our work. The curriculum will be suited to those who already have a subject of investigation in mind as well as to those interested in beginning a new project.

Poets also have the option of taking poetry courses a la carte.

Ashley Lumpkin, author of three chapbooks and a member of the Bull City Slam Team since 2015, will lead the session "Metaphor and Memory in Poetry."

This course will explore personal narrative poetry and the techniques necessary to make an individual experience accessible to a universal audience. In particular, participants will discuss crafting an extended metaphor as the framework of a personal narrative.

In the afternoon session, Charlotte Matthews will lead "The Wonder of Falling." Charlotte's most recent book Whistle What Can’t Be Said (Unicorn Press, 2016) chronicles part of her experience with stage three breast cancer.

For poets, the act of writing embodies the act of falling by engendering a wider, albeit riskier, realm. How can we foster and celebrate the process? How can we preserve our spot in this riskier realm and still live, still engage, in the “real” world? This class will explore the notion of falling, of unmasking the placid exterior of our human selves to reveal a riotous core. It will include a guided look at several poems as well as a writing exercise, which will be shaped into a collaborative poem. Participants will experience first-hand the risker, fallen realm.

Finally, "Stepping Back from Your Writing" with Joseph Mills, whose poetry collection This Miraculous Turning was awarded the North Carolina Roanoke-Chowan Award for Poetry for its exploration of race and family, invites participants to bring a draft in progress and plan to revise. In James Thurber’s “Many Moons,” a jeweler steps back from a creation and asks, “What is this thing I’ve made?” This is what wall writers need to do as we revise, but it can be difficult to get the necessary distance. In this workshop, participants will discuss ways to “defamiliarize themselves” with their writing so that they can see it more clearly, and they’ll consider several quick “down and dirty diagnostics” exercises that help a writer assess a piece of work in process.

Additional conference programming includes "Lunch with an Author" (only available to those who pre-register); faculty readings and open mics; and the 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 www.ncwriters.org.

 

GREENSBORO—What are you writing about?

It might seem like an obvious question, but writers would benefit from asking themselves this question more often.

Once writers are sure of their goals, they can begin making decisions on craft, point of view, structure, voice, and more. This builds a more confident writer, and what writer couldn't use a little more confidence?

The North Carolina Writers' Network 2019 Spring Conference happens Saturday, April 27, at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Registration is now open.

Susan Harlan will lead the Master Class in Creative Nonfiction, "Writing Personal Essays and Memoir."

What are personal essays and memoir, and why do we write them? This workshop invites participants to reflect on what they hope to achieve with their writing and how to accomplish their goals. Whether they’re writing a memoir, travel essays, object essays, or portraits of people or places, Susan Harlan's goal is to help attendees build confidence in their own voice. She will ask: What is their writing about, and how can they communicate this to their readers? The class will talk about what Vivian Gornick calls “the situation and the story” and discuss structure and organization (especially beginnings and endings), concrete detail (and omission!), pacing, dialogue, vivid images, and point of view. Registrants will think about how everyday writing exercises can serve as starting points for longer projects. And they'll look at nonfiction works published online and in print.

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

Harlan’s essays have appeared in venues including The Guardian US, The Paris Review Daily, Guernica, Roads & Kingdoms, The Common, The Brooklyn Quarterly, The Morning News, Curbed, Atlas Obscura, Public Books, and Nowhere, and her book Luggage was published in the Bloomsbury series Object Lessons in March 2018. She also writes satire for McSweeney's Internet Tendency, The Awl, The Billfold, Avidly, Queen Mob's Tea House, The Hairpin, The Belladonna, Janice, and The Establishment, and she was a finalist judge for the Royal Nonesuch Humor Writing Contest this year, with Michael Ian Black, Hank Herman, and Julie Schumacher. Her humor book Decorating a Room of One's Own: Conversations on Interior Design with Miss Havisham, Jane Eyre, Victor Frankenstein, Elizabeth Bennet, Ishmael, and Other Literary Notables, which began as a column for The Toast, was published by Abrams in October 2018. She teaches English literature at Wake Forest University.

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

Eddie Huffman, author of a forthcoming biography of Doc Watson for the University of North Carolina Press, will lead the session "Real Characters: Capturing People in Nonfiction Prose."

People are messy and multilayered. This class will explore ways to cut through the clutter and hit the highlights that bring a subject to life in a memoir, essay, or profile.

"Stepping Back from Your Writing" with Joseph Mills, whose poetry collection This Miraculous Turning was awarded the North Carolina Roanoke-Chowan Award for Poetry for its exploration of race and family, invites participants to bring a draft in progress and plan to revise. In James Thurber’s “Many Moons,” a jeweler steps back from a creation and asks, “What is this thing I’ve made?” This is what wall writers need to do as we revise, but it can be difficult to get the necessary distance. In this workshop, participants will discuss ways to “defamiliarize themselves” with their writing so that they can see it more clearly, and they’ll consider several quick “down and dirty diagnostics” exercises that help a writer assess a piece of work in process.

Additional conference programming includes "Lunch with an Author" (only available to those who pre-register); faculty readings and open mics; and the 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 www.ncwriters.org.

 

 
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