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Please Support the Sponsors of the NCWN 2021 Fall Conference

DURHAM–The North Carolina Writers’ Network 2021 Fall Conference runs November 19-21 at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel in Durham/RTP. Registration is open through November 12; there will be no on-site registration this year.

We are grateful for the support of our conference sponsors. We’d like to take a moment to highlight each individual and organization. Thank you for showing them your support. 

In keeping with our reverse-alphabetical approach to introductions this year, we’ll go Z-A:


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Established in 1922, UNC Press was the first university press in the South and one of the first in the nation. Their regional publishing program—aimed at general readers and offering engaging, authoritative work on all aspects of the region’s history and culture, its natural and built environment, its music, food, literature, geography, plant and animal life—has been widely adopted in other parts of the country. Today, the imprint of UNC Press is recognized worldwide as a mark of publishing excellence.

UNC Press is the sponsor of the sessions “The Art of the Interview” with Georgann Eubanks and Donna Campbell, whose new book is Saving the Wild South The Fight for Native Plants on the Brink of Extinction (UNC Press, 2021), and “Nerd Cool 101: Making Your Book Shine Online” with UNC Press staffer Ellen C. Bush and Phillip Loken.


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The Redbud Writing Project is the Research Triangle’s only adult education writing school. The Redbud Writing Project offers six-week courses online, at bookstores and community spaces around the Triangle, and at their headquarters. They want their workshops to feel open and inviting—places where students feel supported and excited to write, share, and revise. They are guided by the principles of empathy, compassion and candor: they seek to approach each story with an open mind and an eye toward understanding the writer’s intentions, ultimately helping the author write the story they want to tell.

The Redbud Writing Project will host the Pre-Conference Tailgate on Friday, November 19, at 12:00 pm at 719 N. Person St. in Raleigh. This event is free and led by Redbud co-founder Arshia Simkin.


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The Piedmont Laureate program is co-sponsored by the City of Raleigh Arts Commission, Durham Arts Council, Orange County Arts Commission, and United Arts Council of Raleigh & Wake County. Its primary goal is to promote awareness and heighten appreciation for excellence in the literary arts in the Piedmont region of North Carolina. Each year, a Piedmont Laureate is appointed for a one-year term and conducts the following activities in Durham, Orange and Wake counties. The current Piedmont Laureate is Kelly Starling Lyons, who will lead the session, “So You Want to Write a Children’s Book” at the NCWN 2021 Fall Conference.

The Piedmont Laureate Program is the sponsor of the Brilliant at Breakfast Panel Discussion: “Agents and Editors” on Sunday, November 21, at 8:00 am.


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Formed in 1922, PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect free expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Their PEN Across America initiative, launched in 2018, responds to mounting threats to free expression with opportunities for Members and their allies to mobilize locally through public programming, campaigns, literary events, workshops, civic forums, and other projects that expand engagement with PEN America’s mission. PEN America welcomes and celebrates emerging writers whose voices are adding to the literary experience. PEN America’s more than 7,500 Members live in every state. NCWN Membership Coordinator Deonna Kelli Sayed is the PEN America NC Piedmont representative (Greensboro, Charlotte, Raleigh).

PEN America is the sponsor of Saturday’s luncheon “Community Journalism” panel discussion featuring Kyle Villemain of The Assembly, Cierra Brown Hinton of Scalawag, and Sara Pequeno of The News & Observer in Raleigh.


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Alice Osborn’s past educational and work experience is unusually varied, and it now feeds her work as an author, book editor, and musician. In the past 15 years, Alice has coached and edited writers at all levels and genres both locally and around the world. Searching for Paradise is her most recent CD featuring crowd-pleasing originals about history, heroes, and hope, and Heroes without Capes is her most recent collection of poetry. A Pushcart Prize nominee, her previous poetry collections are After the Steaming Stops and Unfinished Projects. Alice is the recipient of a United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County 2019 Professional Development Grant; she is the President of the NC Songwriters’ Co-op, and has served for eight years on the NC Writers’ Network’s Board of Trustees. She’s currently working on a novel and CD about the ill-fated Donner Party of 1846-1847.

Alice is the sponsor of the “Opening Reception” on Friday, November 19, at 7:00 pm.


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North Carolina Humanities connects North Carolinians with cultural experiences that spur dialogue, deepen human connections, and inspire community. They are the sponsor of the annual John Tyler Caldwell Award for the Humanities, which honors distinguished individuals who have strengthened the educational, cultural, and civic life of North Carolinians through their life’s work. NC Humanities grants are designed to solicit and respond to local needs and interests. Programs include Veterans Reading Groups, Route 1 Reads, Watershed Moments, and more.

NC Humanities is the sponsor of the Keynote Address by Jaki Shelton Green on Friday, November 19, at 8:00 pm.


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For more than half a century, the North Carolina Arts Council has provided resources for arts programming, education, and leadership across the state. The North Carolina Arts Council delivers resources to arts organizations and artists to support projects and programs of public value that revitalize downtowns, educate and empower North Carolina youths, and fuel a thriving non-profit creative sector that generates over $2 billion annually.

The North Carolina Arts Council is a program sponsor of the North Carolina Writers’ Network.


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Freedom is the app and website blocker for Mac, Windows, Android, iOS, and Chrome, used by over 2,000,000 people to reclaim focus and productivity. software can:

  • Block websites and apps or the entire internet if you want to. With your distractions blocked, you can get into your workflow and stay on task.
  • Helps break the habit of checking whatever digital source is beckoning. The more you experience Freedom time, the more you’ll find it indispensable.
  • Treat your email like a mailbox (the mail comes and goes once a day) and enjoy your social media proactively on your time (not in respond mode.)

Freedom is the spnonsor of Heather Bell Adams’ session “Getting Back into the Writing Groove” on Saturday, November 20.


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lair is a nonprofit, independent press that publishes diverse books, including literary fiction, poetry, and nonfiction about the American South and beyond. New titles include Fight Songs: A Story of Love and Sports in a Complicated South by NCWN Executive Director Ed Southern; The Baddest Girl on the Planet by By Heather Frese; and What Makes You Think You’re Awake?: Stories by Maegan Poland. Blair accepts nonfiction book proposals year-round; they accept fiction and memoir through their three annual contests.

Blair is the spnosor of the “Happy Hour” on Saturday, November 20, at 6:00 pm.


Fall Conference attracts hundreds of writers from around the country and provides a weekend full of activities that include lunch and dinner banquets with readings, keynotes, tracks in several genres, open mic sessions, and the opportunity for one-on-one manuscript critiques with editors or agents.

To register, click here.

The nonprofit North Carolina Writers’ Network is the state’s oldest and largest literary arts services organization devoted to all writers, in all genres, at all stages of development. For additional information, visit