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New Newsletter Name

Written by Executive Director Ed Southern

As of the Spring 2023 issue, what had been Writers’ Network News has a new name. 

For months, the Network staff and board brainstormed and went back-and-forth on possibilities and permutations. 

We didn’t want to go with the most obvious option – The Writingest State – because we want to start moving away from that sort of aggressive Tarheel jingoism. We’re a kinder, gentler Network. We want to welcome and work with writers from and in other states, who make up more than 10% of our membership. 

We did want, though, to find a name that evokes North Carolina as our home, that makes a community of the entire state, that reflects the state’s ongoing transformation while calling up its past. 

We believe we have found a name that does all that. We are proud to introduce you to— 

(Drumroll.) 

Highway 64: The NCWN Journal 

(Trumpet fanfare.) 

First, the subtitle: When the Network began publishing its newsletter, it truly was a newsletter. Paul Jones and Al Gore had invented the Internet, but few could access it. E-mail was not a thing. The Writers’ Network News (for a while) came out once a month, and did in fact contain all the news from the Network. 

For some years now we’ve published this “newsletter” only twice a year, and have been including more essays and other meaty content in its pages. We deliver most Network News through our website and e-blasts. Really, what we publish hasn’t been a “newsletter” for some time: We’ve just kept calling it one. “Journal” is a more accurate, and we think more appealing, description. 

We have named our journal Highway 64 after North Carolina’s longest road. Beginning at Whalebone Junction, just south of Nags Head, Highway 64 twists and turns to the north and south as it crosses the state. Highway 64 passes through Roanoke Island and Raleigh; through Siler City, near the Devil’s Tramping Ground, and Asheboro in the state’s geographic center. The road goes right by Lexington Barbecue and Lake Lure, Sliding Rock and Bust Your Butt Falls. Highway 64 crosses into Tennessee out of Cherokee County: It travels North Carolina not just “from Manteo to Murphy,” but past Manteo and Murphy both—and, crucially, it keeps going, not ending at the state line. 

Driving Highway 64 takes you from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Smoky Mountains; over rivers and swamps and red-clay hills; past farm fields and skyscrapers, thick woods and new subdivisions. Highway 64 shows you the state’s variety, its natural and cultural resources, its traditions and its creativity, its past and its future. It’s neither a statue nor a monument but a means to get from one place to another. 

We hope that Highway 64 will be all that, as well, and more. We hope you like the name. We hope you like what it names.