For Immediate Release: October 11, 2022
WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH—During the long days necessary to write a novel or memoir or even a single poem, writers often ask themselves, Will my book ever be published?
These days, though, some writers have to wonder, Will my book be banned?
The schedule for the 2022 Fall Conference of the North Carolina Writers’ Network reflects this new reality of the writing life.
Most of the conference, which will be held November 18-20 in Wrightsville Beach, will feature “normal” classes on the craft and business of writing, with instructors including novelists Wiley Cash, Emily Colin, and Clyde Edgerton; poets Dan Albergotti, Melissa Crowe, and Amber Flora Thomas; and editors Margaret Bauer, KaToya Ellis Fleming, and Emily Louise Smith.
This year’s conference, though, also will include classes on “Writing Stories that are Hard to Read” with Philip Gerard, whose 1994 novel Cape Fear Rising caused protests, and “Escape from Pompeii: How to Write While the World Around You Burns” with poet Gabrielle Freeman, as well as a panel discussion with local members of Writers for Democratic Action, a group that works “with bookstores and literary organizations to promote and protect democracy in the US and worldwide.”
The conference will begin Friday, November 18, with a keynote address by Bolton’s Jason Mott, whose novel Hell of a Book won the 2021 National Book Award for Fiction.
Mott, a UNCW graduate, also will lead the class “The Fundamentals of Building a Novel” on Saturday, November 19. Saturday and Sunday will feature five sessions of classes—20 in total—including Master Classes in creative nonfiction, fiction, and poetry.
The conference also offers a Manuscript Mart with agents and editors, and general sessions including a luncheon featuring humorist Celia Rivenbark, a banquet highlighting “North Carolina in Words, Pictures, and Music” with NC Literary Hall of Fame inductee Bland Simpson and his wife Ann, and the Writers for Democratic Action panel discussion.
“It feels…complicated to be a writer right now,” Fall Conference Faculty Member KaToya Ellis Fleming said. “But it always has. It also—as it always has—feels urgent and important. Writers have always challenged the world to look at itself because by our very nature we reckon on the page with life’s pain, its uncertainties. Given voice to its truths. There will always be those who try to silence truth. As writers, it is our responsibility—in spite of that—to keep on telling it.”
“Calls to ban books are rising in number and in volume,” NCWN Communications Director Katherine O’Hara said. “PEN America’s 2022 report, Banned in the USA, shows data indicating these books often center Black, queer, and trans voices. Silencing writers attempts to erase their stories and the—often already marginalized-—communities they represent.”
Contact: Katherine O’Hara (firstname.lastname@example.org), Communications Director, North Carolina Writers’ Network