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Squire Summer Writing Workshops Move Online for 2020

Patrice Gopo
WINSTON-SALEM—Given the uncertainty surrounding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s Squire Summer Writing Workshops will move entirely online for 2020.

The first-ever Squire Online 2020 runs July 9-12. Click here for information.

The weekend includes three 90-minute workshop sessions; craft lectures; and an “Evening Introduction” on Thursday which will help writers to get to know one another before embarking on an immersive, creatively fulfilling weekend devoted to the craft of writing.

Each workshop is limited to twelve participants. Registrants should be ready to handle the intensive instruction and atmosphere of the workshop.

“In three and half days, we shared the equivalent of a week of class time,” reflects Bo Bowden, who’s attended several summer workshops. “The comradery built was unique to this NCWN event—for me, it’s where the ‘network’ came to life!”

Bryn Chancellor will lead the Fiction workshop, “Begin Again; Begin Better.”

Story and novel openings are a tall order with a ticking timer. In a short space, fiction writers must establish character, voice, point of view, and setting; put the situation and plot in motion; offer some sense of trouble or tension; and deploy arresting language and style that mesmerize and propel a reader deeper into the narrative. In this workshop, we’ll examine some pitfalls of beginnings—throat clearing, feet dragging, false starts—and practice how to craft compelling openings, especially through compression and simultaneity. Of course beginnings don’t exist in a vacuum, so we’ll also talk about middles and ends, those other pesky parts of story-making.

We’ll use the openings of your own submitted pieces (see below), which we will read in advance and discuss in each session, and revise them till they shine. Along the way we’ll start some new ones through prompts. Please also have ready a favorite opening page of a novel or short story that you love.

Bryn Chancellor
Bryn Chancellor is the author of the novel Sycamore, a Southwest Book of the Year, and the story collection When Are You Coming Home?, winner of the Prairie Schooner Book Prize. Her work has appeared in Brevity, Gulf Coast, Colorado Review, Crazyhorse, The Common, Publishers Weekly, and elsewhere, and she is a grateful recipient of fellowships from the North Carolina, Alabama, and Arizona arts councils and the Poets and Writers Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award. A graduate of Vanderbilt University’s M.F.A. program, she is associate professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Patrice Gopo will lead the workshop “But It Really Happened Just Like That: Our Stories, Our Truth: Creative Nonfiction.”

Have you ever written a story from your life, only to discover the details created a dull tale on the page? Or perhaps you wonder if the story you’ve lived, the story you are here to tell, will hold a reader’s attention and matter in this vast world steeped in a multitude of words? In this creative nonfiction workshop, we’ll use the personal essay as our springboard for discussion about how we write creative nonfiction that rises above anecdote and moves forward with unstoppable momentum.

Workshop participants will submit essays or excerpts up to 1,200 words when they register. We’ll intentionally use these contributions to move us into fruitful conversations about craft—both general and specific to creative nonfiction.

Patrice Gopo was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska, and she is the child of Jamaican immigrants. Her writing often considers racial identity formation, race relations, and the search for a sense of belonging. Her essays have appeared in a variety of publications, including Catapult, Creative Nonfiction, and online in The New York Times and The Washington Post. She is the recipient of an NC Arts Council Literature Fellowship, and her essay collection, All the Colors We Will See, was a Fall 2018 B&N Discover Great New Writers selection. When she’s not writing, she enjoys speaking to groups about the power of personal storytelling. She lives with her family in Charlotte:

“Courting the Muse, Finding Your Voice and Other Good Things that Don’t Happen without Applying the Elbow Grease: Poetry” will be led by Dannye Romine Powell.

Dannye Romine Powell
Using the three poems each participant submits with his or her registration, we will look at ways to improve each poem. Is each poem saying what the poet intended? Extra words? Enough music? Cliches? Does the poem make an emotional connection with the reader and with the poet herself?

Using poems by widely published poets as examples, we will look at how mystery works throughout a poem, how sound creates emotion, how repetition appeals to the ear, how dreams can spark poems, how emotion connects the poet to the reader. Also, the tricks of the trade. Respecting the muse. Showing up to write. Reading aloud. Taking care of that fascinating organ called the brain.

Dannye Romine Powell’s fifth collection, In the Sunroom with Raymond Carver, is out in the spring of 2020. She has won fellowships in poetry from the NEA, the NC Arts Council, and Yaddo. Her poems have appeared over the years in The Paris Review, Poetry, Ploughshares, Southern Review, Harvard Review Online, Beloit Journal, 32 Poems, and many others. She is also the author of Parting the Curtains: Interviews with Southern Writers. For many years, she was the book editor of the Charlotte Observer.

Registration is closed.

“Imagine, if you can, a room full of thoughtful readers who have all read your manuscript with the precision of a good editor and are ready to get you on your way to publication,” says author Pam Van Dyk. “If you can imagine this, then you will be at home at the NC Writer’s Squire Workshops.”

Squire Online 2020 is made possible with support from the North Carolina Arts Council, the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina, and the family of Chick and Elizabeth Daniels Squire.