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Write That New South!

At long last, Writing the New South is back from hiatus with an essay by Bob McCarthy.  I hope you’ll all check it out soon.  Look for the next new WNS posting in about two weeks.

With Writing the New South back in action, we thought it would be a good idea to remind everyone about the purpose and guidelines for this program.

When we launched the program last year, I said, “We want our members to grapple with what’s going on in the state and in the world.   We are North Carolina writers living in a historic moment for North Carolina. We need to be writing about what’s happening around us, to us, to our families and friends and neighbors.”

I stand by those words.  After Writing the New South for the better part of a year, though, we find that some of our guidelines need small adjustments and slight clarifications:

– Authors must be current members of the North Carolina Writers’ Network.  (Ask us if you’re not sure.)

– Submissions must be no longer than 5,000 words.  (We’re flexible on this, but it can’t be much longer or everyone will get that eye twitch I developed last fall.)

– Submissions may be in any genre: fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, drama, journalism, etc.

– Submissions must deal with one (or both) of two themes: 1. Current or recent events of historical significance as they relate to life in present-day North Carolina; 2. Snapshots of life in a particular city or region of North Carolina, in 500 words or less.  (We mean it.  Chances are, what’s going on in your neighbor’s backyard isn’t really significant in any historical sense.  Ask yourself if a news story on your topic could appear in one of the state’s major newspapers.)

– Submissions do not have to be objective; however, submissions may not proselytize or attempt to convert readers to any particular viewpoint, political affiliation, or religion.  (We’re the N.C. Writers’ Network, not the N.C. Preachers’ Network, N.C. Professors’ Network, or N.C. Trojan Princes’ Network.  So don’t preach, lecture, or hector.)

– Submissions must be original and unpublished.  (If you submit a piece to WNS, but then have a chance at publication or prizes elsewhere, we’ll be delighted to take it out of the WNS queue, and we’ll root for you.)

– The Network reserves the right to reject any submission.  (As I’ve told several writers, we don’t really ‘accept’ or ‘reject’ submissions for WNS, in the traditional sense.  The only reasons we’d reject a submission are if it is gratuitously offensive, woefully off-topic, or embarrassingly awful.  Otherwise, we keep submissions in the queue for possible use in the future.)

-  Submissions will be considered for publication in a possible anthology.  By submitting their work to Writing the New South, authors agree to execute whatever steps are necessary in the event that their work is selected for such an anthology.  (This is still a very real possibility, so y’all keep submitting.)

I’ll say it again: Y’all keep submitting.  We wouldn’t do this if we didn’t want to read what y’all have to write about the time and place in which we live.  Writing the New South is, for the foreseeable future, an ongoing program, so there’s no deadline.  We have some outstanding submissions to choose from, but we’re always hungry for more.  If you have questions about Writing the New South, or have trouble uploading your work to the site, please e-mail me at

Now quit reading, and get back to writing.