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GREENSBORO—Thanks to a generous but anonymous matching donor, the North Carolina Writers’ Network will provide new More Seats Scholarships to allow writers from underserved communities to attend the NCWN 2019 Spring Conference, Saturday, April 27, at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Each More Seat scholarship (as in, “More Seats at the Table”) will cover the full cost of conference registration, including a Lunch with an Author session at midday, as well as one year of Network membership—a total value of nearly $200.

The anonymous donor behind the More Seats scholarship fund will match donations up to $750.

“The more donations we receive, the more scholarships we will provide,” NCWN Executive Director Ed Southern said. “Even us writer types can do math that simple.”

The goal of the More Seats Scholarships is to encourage beginning writers from underserved communities who may not have found a place at the proverbial literary table.

“The donor wants to celebrate and amplify new North Carolina voices,” Southern said. “They especially encourage writers from rural counties, writers of color, and LGBTQ+ writers to apply.”

Selection criteria will focus on commitment to writing rather than degrees or publications.

“In a way, we’re looking for writers who are going to keep writing, whether or not they get this scholarship,” Southern said. “We hope, though, that those who do get these scholarships will get a little boost from it—in training, in inspiration and encouragement, in exposure to the literary community, in the literary community’s exposure to them and their work.”

The NCWN 2019 Spring Conference will begin with a keynote address by poet and North Carolina Award winner Michael McFee. Classes, workshops, and readings will round out the day. The faculty includes music writer Eddie Huffman; authors Joseph Mills and Krystal A. Smith; poets Amy Catanzano and Ashley Lumpkin; and more.

To apply, send a current CV—with contact information and a list of any work, education, publications, or other relevant literary experiences or achievements—and a Statement of Writing Intent of no more than 1,000 words to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The subject line should specify the applicant’s interest in a More Seats Scholarship. Questions should be sent to that e-mail address, as well.

The deadline to apply is midnight on Friday, April 5.

For more information about the NCWN 2019 Spring Cconference, and to register, click here.


GREENSBORO—The North Carolina Writers' Network 2019 Spring Conference will once again host its annual Slush Pile Live! on Saturday, April 27, a fun and enriching way to end a full day of programming on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Registration for the NCWN 2019 Spring Conference is now open.

Beginning at 4:00 pm on Saturday, April 27, attendees may drop off either 300 words of prose or one page of poetry in the room of their choice (prose and poetry will be read in both MHRA rooms 1214 and 1215). The author’s name should not appear on the manuscript.

At 5:00 pm, a panel of editors will listen to the submissions being read out loud and raise their hand when they hear something that would make them stop reading if the piece were being submitted to their publication. The editors will discuss what they did and did not like about the sample, offering constructive feedback on the manuscript itself and the submission process. All anonymous—all live! 

Those interested in having their anonymous submission read should bring a hard copy of up to 300 words of prose from a single work or one page of poetry (40-line max) to one of the Slush Pile Live! rooms. Submissions should be double-spaced, 12-point, Times New Roman font. No names should appear on the submissions.

This year's panelists include: 

As many submissions as the panelists can get to in an hour, that's how many they'll read. Authors can reveal themselves at the end, to thunderous applause, befitting their bravery, but only if they want to.

“If you’ve never worked or volunteered for a publisher or literary magazine before, the submission process can seem kind of mysterious,” says NCWN Executive Director Ed Southern. “Slush Pile Live! will give attendees a peek into the editorial screening process, with the added bonus of giving feedback to anonymously submitted manuscripts in a non-threatening way.”

Other familiar programs will remain, including faculty readings, an open mic for conference participants, an exhibit hall packed with publishers and literary organizations, and “Lunch with an Author,” where conference-goers can spend less time waiting in line and more time talking with the author of their choice.

Spaces in “Lunch with an Author” are limited and are first-come, first-served. Pre-registration and an additional fee are required for this offering.

Pre-registration for the North Carolina Writers' Network 2019 Spring Conference closes Sunday, April 21. 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, and to register, visit www.ncwriters.org.


GREENSBORO—As a fiction writer, you want to tell a good story. But how will the shape of that story influence—and be influenced by—the narrative?

What about the world you're trying to build? Does it lie there static like a cardboard cutout? Or is it a dynamic world filled with people or things that interact and exchange dialogue every now and then?

The North Carolina Writers' Network 2019 Spring Conference on Saturday, April 27, at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, can help you settle these questions for yourself, and more.

Registration is now open.

Writers interested in fiction, or those who want to sample a broader selection of classes, may register for several offerings.

Krystal A. Smith, whose debut collection of speculative fiction Two Moons: A Collection of Short Fiction came out last year from BLF Press, will lead the session "Writing Speculative Fiction: World Building to Shape Story."

World building plays a major role in a speculative fiction story’s believability. Environment often motivates a character’s actions and attitudes. In this workshop, writers will practice world building techniques and create context for characters’ actions, thoughts, needs, and desires.

Kathryn Schwille, author of the novel, What Luck, This Life, which was selected by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution as one of the best Southern books of 2018, will lead the session "The Art of Dialogue."

Talk is easy. Dialogue? That’s something else. In this class, participants will talk about what makes good dialogue--how to use it and when, what it can do and what it can’t. How can speech reveal character? How can it be planted in a garden that enriches it? Attendees will start with a short exercise, then look at the work of master story-tellers. In the meantime, eavesdrop on their fellow humans, and listen for the unsaid.

"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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