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Ten Fun Facts About Our Spring Conference Keynote Speaker, Jill McCorkle

Jill McCorkle, author of the new book Old Crimes, will deliver a keynote address and lead the class “Assembly Required: Structuring Prose Work” at this year’s NCWN Spring Conference. Learn some fun facts about McCorkle below and register by Friday, April 12, to join us at the Spring Conference on April 20 at UNC Greensboro.

  1. McCorkle is a native of Lumberton.
  2. A 1980 graduate of UNC Chapel Hill with Highest Honors in Creative Writing, McCorkle was mentored by distinguished faculty that included Louis D. Rubin Jr., founder of Algonquin Books, Max Steele, and Lee Smith. 
  3. McCorkle was in the first creative writing class that Lee Smith taught at UNC Chapel Hill.
  4. McCorkle completed her Masters in Writing from Hollins College in 1981.
  5. McCorkle published her first two novels, The Cheer Leader and July 7th, on the same day, when she was only 26. Since then, she has published five other novels—most recently Hieroglyphics (2020, Algonquin Books)—and five collections of short stories—most recently Old Crimes (2024, Algonquin Books).
  6. Jill has taught at all three ACC schools in the Triangle –UNC Chapel Hill, NC State, and Duke–among many other places, including Harvard, Tufts, Brandeis, and Bennington.
  7. McCorkle has had a lifelong love of dolls and dollhouses. As a child, she kept Liddle Kiddles in her pocket and, perhaps unsurprisingly, enjoyed creating narratives about their lives. She enjoys building dollhouses, which she says is much like building a novel, and has a collection of dollhouses in her home. 
  8. McCorkle has enjoyed fishing since childhood. In Gather at the River: 25 Authors on Fishing, an anthology published by Hub City Press and edited by David Joy with Eric Rickstad, McCorkle fondly recalls a summer on a beach in North Carolina and the new perspective for her father she developed while fishing.
  9. McCorkle and her husband, Tom Rankin, received a donkey as a wedding gift. They live in Hillsborough.
  10. McCorkle was inducted into the NC Literary Hall of Fame in 2018.

There is still time to register for the Spring Conference, but hurry! Registration closes at 4pm on Friday, April 12, at 4 pm.