For years, LaVenson Press Studios, in Hillsborough, has offered “women and young women writing workshops that instill emotional, and psychological truth in their writing.” Founded by Zelda Lockhart, the 2010 Piedmont Laureate, LaVenson Press Studios helps women use writing as a mode of healing and a way to celebrate their natural gifts.
Firefly Ridge Literary Magazine is one way for these women to reach a wider audience with their art. Although each issue is free to read online, only those who have taken a class at LaVenson Press Studios may contribute to the magazine.
The 2016 issue, #3, features short stories by the winner and finalists of the 2016 Women’s Writing Award; poetry by Lisa Hosokawa Garber; and a bit of flash fiction from Gilda Packard. Each issue is elegant but simple, letting each woman’s words stand on their own without too many design flourishes or artwork.
In 20106, Lockhart founded her own publishing company, LaVenson Press, after acquiring her novel Cold Running Creek from Simon & Schuster. Two years later, the novel won a Black Caucus of The American Library Association Finalist Award and was the Text in Community Read for all incoming students at North Carolina A&T University. She went on to publish her novel Fifth Born II: The Hundredth Turtle which was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award and has had excerpts published in Chautauqua, Obsidian, the North Carolina Literary Review, and SouthWrit Large.
Her latest book, The Soul of The Full-Length Manuscript, acts as creative companion for those with or without writing experience. It is designed to take the psychological â€œstuffâ€ that has been making a mess of your life and use it to make art, to seek closure (temporary or perhaps permanent) all the while producing a full-length work of fiction, poetry or memoir.
Interested in taking a class at LaVenson Press Studios? Keep an eye on the website for future offerings.