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“Writing Joy as an Act of Resistance” Online Panel Discussion Coming January 24

Registration is now closed for the NC Writers’ Network’s next online program, the panel discussion “Writing Joy as an Act of Resistance.”

The 2022 anthology Bigger Than Bravery, the last book edited by the late Valerie Boyd, “explores comfort and compromise, challenge and resilience, throughout the Great Pause that became the Great Call.” Named a “Big Indie Book of Fall” by Publishers Weekly and one of Library Journal’s Best Books of 2022, Bigger Than Bravery, in the words of Emmy-winning actor Courtney B. Vance, “isn’t just an anthology; it is a survival guide.”

“Writing Joy as an Act of Resistance” will find Bigger Than Bravery contributors Josina Guess and Destiny Birdsong in conversation with Lookout Books editor KaToya Ellis Fleming as they discuss cultivating community, sheltering your spirit in times of crisis, and how reclaiming (and writing about) your own joy can be an act of resistance.

The panel will take place at 7 pm on Wednesday, January 24, 2024. Registration for “Writing Joy as an Act of Resistance” is $45 for NCWN members, $65 for nonmembers, and will be open until Tuesday, January 23.

KaToya Ellis Fleming is the editor of Lookout Books and an assistant professor of publishing arts at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. She holds a BA in English from Spelman College and an MFA in Narrative Nonfiction from the University of Georgia. She’s currently at work on her debut nonfiction book entitled Finding Frank, an excerpt from which was published in the Spring 2020 issue of the Oxford American. Her words have additionally appeared in the Georgia Review, The Rumpus, and elsewhere.

Destiny O. Birdsong is a poet, novelist, and essayist. Her debut poetry collection, Negotiations (Tin House, 2020) was longlisted for the 2021 PEN/Voelcker Award. Birdsong’s debut novel, Nobody’s Magic (Grand Central Publishing, 2022) – which was longlisted for the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize, a finalist for the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence, and winner the 2022 Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction – is a searing meditation on grief, female strength, and self-discovery. Set against a backdrop of complicated social and racial histories, Nobody’s Magic is a testament to the power of family—the ones you’re born in and the ones you choose. Across three narratives, among the yearning and loss, each of Birdsong’s characters finds a seed of hope for the future. She has won the Academy of American Poets Prize and has received support from Cave Canem, Callaloo, Jack Jones Literary Arts, Pink Door, MacDowell, The Ragdale Foundation, and Tin House. Previously, she was the Hurston-Wright Foundation’s inaugural Writer-in-Residence at Rutgers University-Newark. Birdsong’s work has appeared in the Paris Review DailyAfrican American Review, and Poets & Writers, among other publications. She serves as a 2022-24 Artist-in-Residence at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.

Josina Guess writes about race, place, displacement, and love from her home in rural Georgia. She is an assistant editor for Sojourners magazine, and her work has been published in Oxford American, The Bitter Southerner, Ecotone, Christian Century, and moreGuess earned her BA in Art from Earlham College and is a 2023 graduate of the low residency MFA in Narrative Nonfiction program at the College of Journalism at the University of Georgia and is a host of UGA’s Hear Tell Podcast.

For questions, contact the NCWN at or 919.308.3228.