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NCWN to Offer Writingest State Online Conference in November

Jaki Shelton Green, NC Poet Laureate © Sylvia Freeman
WINSTON-SALEM—True, the Writingest State Online Conference likely will not be as fun as the Network’s traditional Fall Conference.

Also true: the Writingest State Online Conference will not be as likely to kill you.

This November, the North Carolina Writers’ Network will offer its first-ever Writingest State Online Conference, a five-day festival for writers, November 10-14

Registration is open.

The WSOC will feature classes and conversations on the craft and business of writing, as well as a keynote address by North Carolina Poet Laureate Jaki Shelton Green, a Pre-Conference Tailgate and a Prompt Party to get creative juices flowing, online Open Mic readings and Happy Hour virtual gatherings, and an Agents & Editors panel discussion.

“This will be the first year since 1985 that the North Carolina Writers’ Network has not offered its Fall Conference, and we hope it will be the last,” NCWN executive director Ed Southern said. “We’re very excited to offer the Writingest State Online Conference, though, and suspect this will not be its last year. We prefer, though, that in years to come we offer an online conference in addition to the Fall Conference, not in place of it.”

The WSOC will begin Tuesday evening, November 10, with an Online Happy Hour, followed by a Pre-Conference Tailgate featuring writing exercises, led by author and USMC veteran Tracy Crow, on the theme of “Awaken Our Sixth Sense.”

The conference will resume on Wednesday evening, November 11, with an Opening Conversation on “The Place & the Past” between North Carolina novelists Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle and Therese Anne Fowler. Fowler’s 2020 novel A Good Neighborhood explores gentrification and displacement. Clapsaddle is a Network trustee whose debut novel Even As We Breathe came out this summer, making her the first enrolled member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians to publish a novel.

After this conversation, novelist, memoirist, Army veteran, and Wake Forest University graduate Matt Gallagher will lead a class on “Imagination and History” for writers in all genres.

Therese Anne Fowler
The WSOC will continue into the weekend, with a celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Carolina African-American Writers’ Collective (originally planned for the 2020 Spring Conference), a check-in for writers participating or interested in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), Green’s keynote address, and three sessions offering two classes each.

Instructors include poet Allison Adelle Hedge Coke, mystery writer Art Taylor, editors Lyndsay Hall and Betsy Thorpe, multi-genre author Mathieu Cailler, and debut author Leah Hampton, a past winner of the NCWN’s Doris Betts Fiction Prize.

Saturday’s sessions will begin with the Agents & Editors panel discussion, and end with online Open Mics and a “One More On & In the House” Happy Hour.

Full details and a registration form are available on