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We Change and So Should Our Characters: Fiction with Jacinda Townsend

Jacinda Townsend
WINSTON-SALEM, NC—According to the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus of Ephesus, nothing in life is permanent, nor can it be, because the very nature of existence is change. Or, as Bob Dylan sang, “He not busy being born is busy dying.”

Life is full of changes, and the same should be true in our fiction. Change sparks action which sparks conflict which sparks reader interest. Easy, right?

On Wednesday, December 9, at 7:00 pm EST, author Jacinda Townsend will lead the online class “Finding Your Voice” (fiction).

Registration is closed.

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

D.H. Lawrence once wrote, “Tragedy is like strong acid—it dissolves away all but the very gold of truth.” Having traveled through the COVID-19 pandemic, we have all had the kind of intense collective experience that has changed our sense of time, our sense of the past, our sense of the future, our sense of ourselves. Accordingly, in this class, we will focus on the theme of “alteration,” marrying theme to narrative as we explore, in our work, the ways in which characters reshape their senses of selves and their senses of other characters. We will talk a bit about Kevin Brockmeier’s novel The Brief History of the Dead and Chris Cleave’s novel Little Bee; though you need not have read the novels beforehand, you may find it helpful to have done so. We will do a bit of writing in our time together: you need not write work about the pandemic itself, though you are welcome to digest and/or heal this experience through your fiction. We will also focus a bit on creative process, with an opening discussion on the practices that most help us cook.

Jacinda Townsend is the author of Saint Monkey (Norton, 2014), which is set in 1950s Eastern Kentucky and won the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize and the James Fenimore Cooper Prize for historical fiction. Saint Monkey was also the 2015 Honor Book of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association.

“Finding Your Voice” is part of the North Carolina Writers’ Network’s 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 “Finding Your Voice” is available to anyone with an internet connection, or who even owns just a telephone. Instructions for accessing the online class on Wednesday, December 9, 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