White Cross School Blog





ASHEVILLE—If you're getting to Fall Conference early, or if you live in the surrounding Asheville area and want to slip a little writing time into your Friday afternoon, consider joining The Flatiron Writers Room, based in funky West Asheville, when they host the Pre-Conference Tailgate prior to the opening of registration for the North Carolina Writers' Network 2019 Fall Conference

The Pre-Conference Tailgate will be led by Flatiron Writers Room member A.K. Benninghofen.

This event is free. There is no registration required, and one does not need to have registered for the conference to participate.

This special program will take place:

Friday, November 8, 12:00-1:30 pm
Flatiron Writers Room, 5 Covington St., Asheville, NC 28806

There is limited parking at the Flatiron Writers Room, including a handicap-accessible space in the rear of the building. Once the parking lot is full, attendees can park along Covington St. or across Haywood Rd. in the part of the Odditorium parking lot closest to Haywood Rd. (park perpendicular to Haywood Rd). Visitors also can across Haywood Rd. in the BB&T business park. The Flatiron Writers Room recommends car pooling if possible.

A.K. Benninghofen will lead lead this writing session, useful for any genre of writer.

The best stories are built not on structures and outlines, but on curiosity and intuition. Still, we writers sometimes find it difficult to let go and trust that our subconscious knows more than we do. In this short workshop, we’ll use exercises and prompts to practice the art of discovery. We’ll allow ourselves to get messy, to let the words lead us to those moments of surprise and wonder that keep our narratives fresh and alive. Come with pen and paper and a willingness to share your messiness with others.

A.K. Benninghofen holds a BFA in Theatre from the University of Southern Mississippi. She worked as an actress in New York and Los Angeles for many years before moving to Asheville where she started a family and began her life as a writer. She is a member of Asheville’s Flatiron Writers Group. A.K.’s work has appeared in Word Riot, Passages North, Evergreen Review, Monkeybicycle, Necessary Fiction, Deep South Magazine, the anthology A Book of Uncommon Prayer, and elsewhere. She has been a fiction contributor at Sewanee Writers' Conference, a writing fellow at the Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts & Sciences, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Weymouth Center for the Arts & Humanities, and Wildacres Retreat. In 2012, she was awarded a Regional Artist Project Grant by the North Carolina Arts Council. Currently, she is at work on her first novel, Gloaming Season, as well as a collection of linked stories titled Landmine Maps of the Hospitality State.

The Pre-Conference Tailgate is meant to get writers' creative juices flowing prior to the weekend.

The Flatiron Writers Room is an outgrowth of the Flatiron Writers, who have been writing and providing workshops and events for the western North Carolina writing community since 1993. They host workshops and events; in addition, their space is available for rent to writers who want to teach, host a book launch, or hold a writers’ group or book club meeting. Their goal: to nurture a vibrant and supportive writing community–inspired by Asheville’s rich literary history–while providing writers with quiet, affordable space in which to write, and classrooms in which to teach or participate in classes and workshops.

On-site registration for the NCWN 2019 Fall Conference will open at 3:00 pm on Friday, November 8, in the lobby of the Doubletree by Hilton Asheville-Biltmore. Those who have not pre-registered will be able to sign up for classes at that time.

The NCWN 2019 Fall Conference is a full weekend of classes, panels, readings, open mics, and more. For full details, click here.


WINSTON-SALEM—November 1 marks the beginning of "Contest Season" for the North Carolina Writers' Network. Over the next five months, NCWN will award more than $4,000 in cash prizes, and writers will potentially land publications in reputable literary journals across North Carolina.

The Jacobs/Jones African-American Literary Prize, which honors the best in short prose by African-American writers in North Carolina, is now open.

The deadline is January 2, 2020.

The contest, sponsored by NCWN and administered by the Creative Writing Program at UNC-Chapel Hill, is open to any African-American writer whose primary residence is in North Carolina. Entries may be fiction or creative nonfiction, but must not have been published before (including on any website, blog, or social media), and must be no more than 3,000 words.

The winner will receive $1,000 and possible publication of their winning entry in The Carolina Quarterly.

The final judge of the 2020 Jacobs/Jones contest will be author and journalist Bridgette A. Lacy.

Bridgette A. Lacy is an award-winning journalist and author. She served as a longtime features writer for The News & Observer in Raleigh. She's the author of Sunday Dinner, a part of the Savor the South series by UNC Press and a finalist for the Pat Conroy Cookbook Prize. Lacy is also a contributor to The Carolina Table: North Carolina Writers on Food, edited by Randall Kenan (Eno Publishers, 2016) and 27 Views of Raleigh: The City of Oaks in Prose & Poetry (Eno Publisher, 2013). Her work has appeared in Our State, Salt, and O.Henry magazines.

The Jacobs/Jones African-American Literary Prize honors the nineteenth-century writers Harriet Jacobs and Thomas H. Jones. Jacobs was born in 1813 near Edenton, escaping to Philadelphia in 1842, after hiding for seven years in a crawl space above her grandmother’s ceiling. She published her autobiography, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, under a pseudonym in 1861. Jacobs died in 1897 and was inducted into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame in 1997.

Jones was born into slavery near Wilmington in 1806. Able to purchase the freedom of his wife and all but one of his children, he followed them north in 1849 by stowing away on a brig to New York. In the northeast and in Canada, he spoke as a preacher and abolitionist, writing his memoir, The Experience of Thomas Jones, in 1854, as a way to raise funds to buy his eldest child’s freedom.

This Jacobs/Jones African-American Literary Prize was initiated by Cedric Brown, a Winston-Salem native and graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Though Brown has lived in California the last three decades, he has “deep roots, an abiding love, and a little house in the Tar Heel State,” he said.

“The literary award was borne out of my frustration with being unable to readily find much fiction or creative nonfiction that conveys the rich and varied existence of Black North Carolinians,” Brown said. “I wanted to incentivize the development of written works while also encouraging Black writers to capture our lives through storytelling.”

The winner of the inaugural Jacobs/Jones African-American Literary Prize, in 2019, was Sandra Headen of Raleigh, for her short story, "Papa's Gifts."

The full competition guidelines are listed below and can be found at www.ncwriters.org.



Postmark Deadline: January 2 (annual)
Submissions Accepted: November 1 – January 2

The Jacobs/Jones African-American Literary Prize honors Harriet Jacobs and Thomas Jones, two pioneering African-American writers from North Carolina, and seeks to convey the rich and varied existence of Black North Carolinians. The contest is administered by the Creative Writing Program at UNC-Chapel Hill. The winner receives $1,000 and possible publication of the winning entry in The Carolina Quarterly.

Eligibility and Guidelines

  • The competition is open to any African-American writer whose primary residence is in North Carolina.
  • Entries may be fiction or creative nonfiction, but must be unpublished, no more than 3,000 words, and concerned with the lives and experiences of North Carolina African-Americans. Entries may be excerpts from longer works, but must be self-contained. Entries will be judged on literary merit.
  • An entry fee must accompany each submission: $10 for NCWN members, $20 for nonmembers. You may submit multiple entries, but the correct fee must accompany each one.
  • You may pay the members’ entry fee if you join the NCWN when you submit.
  • Simultaneous submissions are accepted, but please notify us immediately if your work is accepted elsewhere.
  • If submitting by mail, submit two copies of an unpublished manuscript, not to exceed 3,000 words, on single-sided pages, double-spaced, in black 12-point Times New Roman font, with 1-inch margins.
  • The author’s name should not appear on the manuscript. Instead, include a separate cover sheet with name, address, phone number, e-mail address, word count, and manuscript title.
  • To submit by USPS:

Jacobs/Jones African-American Literary Prize
UNC Creative Writing Program
Attn: Anita Braxton
Greenlaw Hall, CB#3520
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3520

  • To submit online, go to https://ncwriters.submittable.com/submit. Submittable will collect your entry fee via credit card ($10 NCWN members / $20 nonmembers). (If submitting online, do not include a cover sheet with your document; Submittable will collect and record your name and contact information.)
  • Entries will not be returned.
  • The winner will be announced in February.

For questions, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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


ASHEVILLE—The pre-registration deadline for the North Carolina Writers' Network 2019 Fall Conference has been extended until 11:59 pm on Sunday, November 3.

Fall Conference classes are first-come, first-served. While spaces remain in most sessions, spots are not guaranteed.

This pre-registration extension is only for online registrations; mail-in registrations must still be received no later than Friday, November 1, at 4:00 pm.

Register now to secure your seat November 8-10 at the Doubletree by Hilton Asheville-Biltmore.

By registering early, attendees save more than 50 percent off conference fees.

Need a last-minute hotel room? Click here for suggestions.

The NCWN 2019 Fall Conference promises a full weekend devoted to the craft and business of writing, when all the literary riches of the North Carolina mountains will be on display.

Friday evening, New York Times bestselling author Charles Frazier will join Margaret D. Bauer, editor of the North Carolina Literary Review, for a Keynote Conversation.

Saturday's luncheon will feature former NC Poet Laureate Joseph Bathanti and veterans reading selections from the anthology Brothers Like These.

The Annual Banquet on Saturday night will feature the world premiere of poems written by three female poets set to music, by the Asheville-based ensemble Pan Harmonia.

Also on offer: open mics, faculty readings, an exhibit hall packed with representatives from literary journals and organizations from all across the Carolinas; and all the excellent courses NCWN members have come to expect.

Register now: www.ncwriters.org.


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