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Make Your Dialogue Work Naturally with Xhenet Aliu

Xhenet Aliu
WINSTON-SALEM—We may pen lush descriptions and plots that move at breakneck speed. But at some point, our characters are going to need to talk to one another.

No matter our genre, dialogue should never appear just because it’s probably time for our characters to say something. Instead, dialogue has a whole lot of work to do…and not a lot of room to do it in.

On Wednesday, May 20, at 7:00 pm, author Xhenet Aliu will lead the online class “Revealing Character Through Dialogue.”

Registration is closed.

The cost for the class is $35 for NCWN members, $45 for non-members. Space is limited.

Writers are articulate, but our characters may not be. So how does one write compelling, natural dialogue that communicates meaning and intent when our characters evade, lie, stammer, and suppress? In this class, we’ll work on methods to implant context and subtext into our characters’ conversations while respecting their natural language patterns and psychologies.

Xhenet Aliu’s novel, Brass, was awarded the 2018 Georgia Author of the Year First Novel Prize, was a Barnes & Noble “Discover Great New Writers” selection, was long-listed for the 2018 Center for Fiction First Book Prize, and was named a best book of the year by numerous outlets, including Entertainment Weekly, The San Francisco Chronicle, Real Simple, and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Her debut fiction collection, Domesticated Wild Things, won the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Fiction. Aliu’s writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, Glimmer Train, Hobart, American Short Fiction, Lenny, LitHub, Buzzfeed, and elsewhere, and she has received fellowships from the Bread Loaf and Sewanee Writers’ Conferences, a grant from the Elizabeth George Foundation, and a fellowship from the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, among other awards, including a special mention in the Pushcart Prize anthology. She is an assistant professor of Creative Writing at the UNC-Greensboro and has previously worked as an academic librarian, private investigator, waitress, and secretary.

“Revealing Character Through Dialogue” is the North Carolina Writers’ Network’s first offering in their 2020-2021 series of online classes.

“The Network has offered online programming since 2016,” said NCWN communications director Charles Fiore. “We’re proud to already have the educational framework in place that allows us to continue to serve the writers of North Carolina, and beyond, during this time of social distancing.”

The online class “Revealing Character Through Dialogue” is available to anyone with an internet connection, or who even owns just a telephone. Instructions for accessing the online class on Wednesday, May 20, will be sent to registrants no less than twenty-four hours prior to the start of class. The class will be archived and made available to registrants for repeated viewings.

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