NC Literary Hall of Fame





The North Carolina Writers' Network and the Center for Creative Writing in the Arts bring you a full day of workshops on the campus of the University of North Carolina-Greensboro. We're giving you more of what you've asked for -- small classes, top writing faculty, and intensive workshops in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, playwriting, publishing, and public speaking.

Keynote: Sharyn McCrumb

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Spring Conference 2009 is made possible with support from the Center for Creative Writing in the Arts, UNC-Greensboro, and the North Carolina Arts Council.
UNC GreensboroNC Arts Council

Conference Classes

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All-Day Workshops

  • Five Ways Into A Story (Fiction) with Quinn Dalton ***this class is closed***
  • Nowhere To Hide: A Workshop in Writing Creative Nonfiction (Nonfiction) with Lee Zacharias

Intensive Half-Day Workshops with

Choose one of the all-day workshops, which meet in the morning and resume after lunch.


Choose from among the half-day workshops and select one class for the morning session and another class for the afternoon session.

Either way,

  • Registration from 8:00 - 9:00 am
  • Morning sessions from 9:00 - 10:30 am
  • Keynote Reading from 10:45 - 11:45 *Open to the Public!
  • Lunch with an Author! - Keep the conversations going 12:00 - 1:00 pm
  • Faculty Readings 1:00 - 2:00 pm
  • Afternoon sessions from 2:30 - 4:00 pm
  • Publishing Panel from 4:00 - 5:00 pm *Open to the Public!
  • Publisher Exhibits open all day

See the full schedule for more information about the day's activities.

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Early registration ends Thursday, April 16. Members may register on-site April 25 for $135.

Online Registration is still available at on-site rates

Early registration:

  • $99 for members
  • $150 for non-members
  • $174 for 1 Year membership + registration
On-site registration as a walk-in:
  • $135 for members
  • $165 for non-members

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A limited number of scholarships are available for the Spring Conference. If you would like to apply for a scholarship, please send a letter of interest to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Details will be forthcoming.


Cancellations must be made in writing and arrive at the Network office by 4 pm, Thursday, April 16, for you to receive a 50% refund. Send request to NC Writers' Network, Box 954, Carrboro, NC 27510.

No refunds for cancellations received after April 16 or for no-shows.

Nearby Hotels

For favorable rates at the following hotels, mention that you are attending an event at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro.

Faculty Biographies: Spring Conference 2009

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Sharyn McCrumbSharyn McCrumb is an award-winning Southern writer, best known for her Appalachian “Ballad” novels, set in the North Carolina/Tennessee mountains, including the New York Times Best Sellers She Walks These Hills and The Rosewood Casket.

Her novel St. Dale, The Canterbury Tales in a NASCAR setting, in which ordinary people on a pilgrimage in honor of racing legend Dale Earnhardt find a miracle, won a 2006 Library of Virginia Award as well as the AWA Book of the Year Award.

McCrumb, who has been named a “Virginia Woman of History” in 2008 for Achievement in Literature, was a guest author at the National Festival of the Book in Washington, D.C. sponsored by the White House in 2006.

Her other best-selling novels include The Ballad of Frankie Silver, the story of the first woman hanged for murder in the state of North Carolina; and The Songcatcher, a genealogy in music, tracing the author's family from 18th century Scotland to the present by following a Scots Ballad through the generations. Ghost Riders, an account of the Civil War in the mountains of western North Carolina, won the Wilma Dykeman Award for Literature given by the East Tennessee Historical Society and the Audie Award for Best Record Book.

McCrumb’s other honors include: AWA Outstanding Contribution to Appalachian Literature Award; the Chaffin Award for Southern Literature; the Plattner Award for Short Story; and AWA’s Best Appalachian Novel. A graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, with an M.A. in English from Virginia Tech, McCrumb was the first writer-in-residence at King College in Tennessee. In 2005 she was honored as the Writer of the Year at Emory & Henry College.

Her novels, studied in universities throughout the world, have been translated into ten languages, including German, Dutch, Japanese, and Italian. She has lectured on her work at Oxford University, the University of Bonn-Germany, and at the Smithsonian Institution; taught a writers workshop in Paris, and served as writer-in-residence at King College in Tennessee.

A film of her novel The Rosewood Casket is currently in production, directed by British Academy Award nominee Roberto Schaefer.

Her most recent novel Faster Pastor (in press), a comic racing novel set in a small mountain town, was co-authored by NASCAR/ARCA driver Adam Edwards.

McCrumb’s great-grandfathers were circuit preachers in North Carolina’s Smoky Mountains a hundred years ago, riding horseback over the ridges to preach in a different community each week. It is from them, she says, that she gets her regard for books, her gift of storytelling and public speaking, and her love of the Appalachian Mountains.

“My books are like Appalachian quilts,” says Sharyn McCrumb. “I take brightly colored scraps of legends, ballads, fragments of rural life, and local tragedy, and I piece them together into a complex whole that tells not only a story, but also a deeper truth about the culture of the mountain South.”

Spring Conference Faculty

Alan Cook Alan Cook (Playwriting Improv) has taught playwriting and other theatre courses at the Universities of Montana, California at Santa Cruz, Ibadan (Nigeria), and for the last 17 years at University of North Carolina-Greensboro. He has worked professionally as a director/actor at the Long Wharf (New Haven) Theatre, Montana Rep Theatre, Madison Rep Theatre, Magic Theatre (San Francisco), Western Stage (Salinas, CA) and the Actors Theatre of Louisville. He is the author of eight plays, the most successful being a three-part adaptation of John Steinbeck’s East of Eden produced three times at the Western Stage and highlighted as the center piece at Actors Theatre of Louisville’s celebrated “Classics in Context” in 1996.

Quinn Dalton Quinn Dalton (Five Ways Into a Story) is the author of a novel, High Strung, and two story collections, Bulletproof Girl and Stories from the Afterlife. Her stories and essays have appeared in literary magazines such as Glimmer Train, One Story, and Verb, and anthologies such as New Stories from the South. She is the winner of the Pearl 2002 Fiction Prize for her short story “Back on Earth” and a recipient of a North Carolina Arts Council 2002-03 artist fellowship in literature. Currently, she teaches fiction writing one-on-one and through the North Carolina Writers’ Network. She received a BA in English at Kent State University and completed her MFA in creative writing at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro. She lives with her husband and daughter in Greensboro.


***this class is closed***

Marianne Gingher Marianne Gingher (Writing Life Stories) is the author of five books, most recently Adventures in Pen Land, a comic memoir about her writing life, as well as Bobby Rex's Greatest Hit, Teen Angel & Other Stories of Wayward Love, How to Have a Lucky Childhood, A Girl’s Life: Horses, Boys, Weddings and Luck. Her work has appeared in the Oxford American, Southern Review, Carolina Quarterly, North American Review, Redbook, Seventeen, Family Fun, McCall’s, the Washington Post Magazine, the New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times. Her novel, Bobby Rex’s Greatest Hit, was made into a NBC Movie of the Week. Both Bobby Rex and Teen Angel were recipients of ALA Notable and Best Book awards, and Bobby Rex won North Carolina’s Sir Walter Raleigh prize in 1987. Her memoir, A Girl’s Life, received a Foreword magazine “Book of the Year” citation in 2001.

Valerie Nieman Valerie Nieman (Under Pressure) is the author of two novels, a short story collection, and a poetry collection. Her first novel, Neena Gathering, was a science fiction title that was also translated for the Brazilian market. Her second novel, Survivors, was a story of loss and recovery in a Rust Belt town in the 1970s. Feral, a novel set in North Carolina, will appear in 2010 from Press 53 in Winston-Salem, NC. Her collection of short stories, Fidelities, from West Virginia University Press, appeared in 2004 with stories that first appeared in The Kenyon Review, Arts & Letters, West Branch, and other journals and anthologies. Wake Wake Wake was published in 2006 and included work published in two chapbooks; in journals including Blackbird, Poetry, New Letters, and REDiViDER; and in numerous anthologies. A former newspaper reporter and editor, she continues to freelance articles on travel and sailing. She has received an NEA creative writing fellowship, two Elizabeth Simpson Smith prizes in fiction, and the Greg Grummer Prize in poetry. A graduate of West Virginia University and the MFA program at Queens University of Charlotte, she teaches writing at N.C. A&T State University.

***this class is closed***

Jack Riggs Jack Riggs (Oh Give Me a Home, Where My Characters Roam: The Importance of Character and a Sense of Place in Fiction), a native of Lexington, NC, is the award-winning author of When the Finch Rises. Published by Ballantine Books, Finch was recognized as the Georgia Author of the Year-First Novel award. It was named a Top Ten First Novel by the American Library Association, while the Atlanta Journal Constitution called it one of the top Southern novels for 2003. Riggs’ 2nd novel, The Fireman’s Wife, is a Target Bookmarked Breakout Book for 2009.

***this class is closed***

Carol Roan Carol Roan (Readings by Writers) writes and teaches voice and stage presence in Winston-Salem. Her experience in teaching stage presence--how to communicate with an audience--began with her voice students, expanded into the first college-level course for musicians in the United States, and broadened to include other professions in Speak Easy: A Guide to Successful Performances, Presentations, Speeches, and Lectures (Starrhill Press, 1995). She is currently co-editing an anthology, Of a Certain Age: Voices of Experience, with a writer whom she met in Russia while on a fellowship to Summer Literary Seminars 2006.
David Roderick David Roderick's (Local Atmospheres: Roots, Rhythms, and Time in Poetry) first book, BLUE COLONIAL, won the APR/Honickman Prize and was published jointly by the American Poetry Review and Copper Canyon Press in 2006. He has published poetry and fiction in several journals, including The Hudson Review, The Missouri Review, New England Review, Prairie Schooner, TriQuarterly, Verse, and The Virginia Quarterly Review. The recipient of the Amy Lowell Travelling Scholarship for 2008, he spent last year in a dozen countries, including Italy, Ireland, and Japan. He currently teaches poetry and creative writing in the MFA Writing Program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Ed Southern Ed Southern (Editing Nonfiction, Including Your Own) is the executive director of the North Carolina Writers' Network, and the author/editor of three nonfiction collections: The Jamestown Adventure, Voices of the American Revolution in the Carolinas, and the forthcoming Sports in the Carolinas.

Carolyn Beard Whitlow Carolyn Beard Whitlow (Writing in Circles: Creating the Sestina and Villanelle) is Charles A. Dana Professor of English at Guilford College in Greensboro, NC, where she teaches creative writing and African-American literature. She was selected as one of ten North Carolina poets to appear on the 1997 PBS series “Poetry Live” hosted by Charles Kuralt, and was recipient of a 2001, 2002, and 2007 Yaddo Residency, a 2008 Hedgebrook Residency, and a Cave Canem Fellow. Finalist for both the 1991 Barnard New Women Poets Prize and the 2005 Ohio State University Poetry Prize, she won the 2006 Naomi Long Madgett Prize in Poetry, and the winning manuscript, Vanished, was published by Lotus Press in Detroit. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals including The Kenyon Review, Crab Orchard Review, Indiana Review, The Massachusetts Review, Cold Mountain Review, and African American Review, and her poems and essays have appeared in anthologies such as A Formal Feeling Comes: Contemporary Poems in Traditional Forms by Women; After New Formalism: Poets on Form, Narrative, and Tradition; Word and Witness: 100 Years of North Carolina Poetry; Writing Your Rhythm: Using Nature, Culture, Form and Myth; and American Diaspora: Poetry of Displacement.
Lee Zacharias Recent nonfiction by Lee Zacharias (Nowhere To Hide: A Workshop in Writing Creative Nonfiction) appears in Shenandoah, Pleiades, Prairie Schooner, North Carolina Literary Review, and The Best American Essays 2008. Professor Emeritus at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, she is the author of a short story collection, Helping Muriel Make It Through the Night, and the novel Lessons, which won North Carolina's Sir Walter Raleigh Award.

Publishing Panel

Rick Campbell (Publishing Panel) is the director of Anhinga Press and the Anhinga Prize for Poetry, and he teaches English at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida. His newest book of poems is Dixmont, from Autumn House Press. His other books are The Traveler’s Companion (Black Bay Books, 2004); Setting The World In Order (Texas Tech 2001), which won the Walt McDonald Prize; and A Day’s Work (State Street Press 2000). He’s won a Pushcart Prize, an NEA Fellowship in Poetry, and two poetry fellowships from the Florida Arts Council. He’s published poems and essays in many journals including The Georgia Review, The Florida Review, and Prairie Schooner. He was born on the Ohio River 20 miles downriver from Pittsburgh and lives with his wife and daughter in Gadsden County, Florida.
M. Scott Douglass (Publishing Panel) is the Publisher and Managing Editor of Main Street Rag Publishing Company, founded in 1996. His poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and he was the recipient of an NC Arts & Science Emerging Artist Grant in 2001. His four collections of poetry are Auditioning for Heaven, Balancing on Two Wheels, STEEL WOMB Revisited, and Dip Says Hi. He has a degree in graphic arts and has taught graphic design at Central Piedmont Community College.
Donna J. Long (Publishing Panel) is Editor-in-Chief of Kestrel and Associate Professor of English at Fairmont State University in Fairmont, WV. She teaches advanced creative writing classes including poetry, prose, and drama, as well as seventeenth-century British literature. Her poetry has been published in North American Review, Tampa Review, GW Review, Puerto del Sol, and other journals. She has five cats and spends her spare time working to save historic buildings, including her own 1925 bungalow.
Matt O'Donnell (Publishing Panel) is founding Editor & Executive Director of From the Fishouse (, an online audio archive of emerging poets, based in Pittston, Maine. O’Donnell graduated from Holy Cross and earned an MFA in poetry from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He is Associate Editor of Bowdoin magazine at Bowdoin College, and an assistant editor of Poets on Poets, an online audio archive of contemporary poets reading Romantic-period poems, from Colby College. His poems have appeared in journals such as The Greensboro Review, 32 Poems, and Ecotone, and he co-edited From the Fishouse: An Anthology of Poems that Sing, Rhyme, Resound, Syncopate, Alliterate, and Just Plain Sound Great (Persea Books, April 2009).
Kevin Morgan Watson (Publishing Panel) is the founder and owner of Press 53, a small, independent literary publishing company in Winston-Salem. As a publisher, he has worked with writers ranging from first-time published authors to winners of the National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize. As a writer, his short stories, poetry, and essays have appeared in numerous publications. Kevin also serves as an advisor to the screenwriting faculty at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, School of Filmmaking, for student adaptation of short stories to screenplays.



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8 – 9 AM

8 AM – 6 PM
Exhibitor Tables Open

9 – 10:30 AM
Five Ways Into A Story (All-Day Fiction) Quinn Dalton ***this class is closed***
Through in-class writing exercises and discussion, this workshop will explore five elements of fiction: character, point of view, plot, setting, and metaphor. We will try letting each of these elements “drive” as we generate new material to be shaped into stories. The goal will be both to become more comfortable with all of these elements and to become more conscious of how we use them in our writing.

Nowhere To Hide: A Workshop in Writing Creative Nonfiction (All-Day Nonfiction) Lee Zacharias
The workshop will cover the basic forms of creative nonfiction with an emphasis on writing the personal essay and memoir, will include a discussion of legal and privacy issues and of the line between truth and fiction, and will culminate with a prompt for writing to be shared with the class. Handouts will include other exercises and bibliographies of anthologies and texts.

Oh Give Me a Home, Where My Characters Roam: The Importance of Character and a Sense of Place in Fiction Jack Riggs ***this class is closed***
We all come from somewhere, and we are all on a journey to some place else. During that time, the geography that surrounds us matters. It plays on our minds, affects our moods, thoughts, and actions. It is part of our history, our present, and our future. When a writer is creating story, she or he must be concerned with a sense of place and how it might affect the character. Historical place and present geography must be considered. In this workshop on Character and Sense of Place, we will discuss ideas on how best to set character in a geography that not only feels right, but is authentic to the story and true in the reader's mind. If you're going to place an Eskimo on a beach in Malibu, you better be able to make the reader believe he's supposed to be there!

Readings by Writers Carol Roan
This workshop will demonstrate how to give a successful reading of your work, beginning with the inevitable stage fright and ending with the hoped-for applause. Fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and the special issues of dialogue and humor--we’ll cover them all. Be prepared to read one page of prose or one poem, preferably, but not necessarily, from a published format, and to provide the leader with a photocopy of your selection.

Local Atmospheres: Roots, Rhythms, and Time in Poetry David Roderick
What makes a particular poem worth our time? How do poets shape their ideas and feelings into written verse? In this craft workshop, students will consider the answers to these questions by examining and discussing fundamental aspects of poetic technique: the sounds, words, rhythms, and patterns that make up poems. Handouts will include classic and contemporary poems for study, and a series of poetry writing exercises to try at home.

Writing Life Stories Marianne Gingher
In this workshop, we'll discuss the elements and aspects of writing successful memoirs/personal narratives with emphasis on structure, technique, the delicate art of selection (what to put in, what to leave out), and voice. Books that may be referred to will include Tobias Wolff's THIS BOY'S LIFE, Mary Karr's THE LIAR'S CLUB, Mark Salzman's LOST IN PLACE, Jo Ann Beard's THE BOYS OF MY YOUTH, and the instructor's recent memoir ADVENTURES IN PEN LAND. Familiarization with these books is merely suggested, not required. There will be a brief in-class writing exercise and feedback.

10:45 AM – 11:45 AM
Keynote Reading - “Keepers of the Legends: Writing about North Carolina” Sharyn McCrumb

12 – 1 PM
Lunch with an Author (or on your own) Sign-up Available at Conference Registration Table

1 – 2 PM
Faculty Readings

2:30 – 4 PM
Five Ways Into A Story (All-Day Fiction) Quinn Dalton ***this class is closed***

Nowhere To Hide: A Workshop in Writing Creative Nonfiction (All-Day Nonfiction) Lee Zacharias

Under Pressure Valerie Nieman ***this class is closed***
Fictional characters, just like “real people,” reveal themselves more deeply when placed in difficult situations. With a scene-making exercise sparked by an ethical dilemma.

Writing in Circles: Creating the Sestina and Villanelle Carolyn Beard Whitlow
This workshop will explore the joys of creating poems that require repetition and circularity of words or lines. With each repetition, a new meaning or fresh image should emerge. We'll read samples by poets who've mastered these forms and then learn how to make such poems.

Playwriting Improv Alan Cook
Using improvisational techniques this workshop can excite adventurous exploration of plot, character, and theme. It generates ideas. It often provokes writers into honest probing of emotion and humor. Or it can merely serve to warm up the writer’s mind. It makes a wild, undocumented, and unsupported claim to attack writer’s block. No books are required, though I do recommend several at the end of the workshop. Required are paper and pen. And a pair of dice: chance is enlisted. Some of the material will be read aloud during the workshop, though it is always on a voluntary basis.

Editing Nonfiction, Including Your Own Ed Southern
This workshop will look at how to shape the facts of your subject into an engrossing story, while not crossing the line from nonfiction to fiction.

4 – 5 PM
Publishing Panel
Moderated by Ed Southern

Donna Long, Kestrel
Matt O’Donnell, From the Fishouse
Kevin Watson, Press 53
Rick Campbell, Anhinga Press
M. Scott Douglass, Main Street Rag Publishing

5 – 6 PM
Open-Mike Readings Sign-up Available at Conference Registration Table

Spring Conference 2009 Schedule at a Glance

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Saturday, April 25
8:00 - 9:00am Registration
Exhibit Tables and Book Sales (open from 8:00 am - 6:00 pm)
9:00 - 10:30am

Morning Classes:

Five Ways Into A Story (All-Day Fiction) Quinn Dalton ***this class is closed***
Nowhere To Hide: A Workshop in Writing Creative Nonfiction (All-Day Nonfiction) Lee Zacharias
Oh Give Me a Home, Where My Characters Roam: The Importance of Character and a Sense of Place in Fiction Jack Riggs ***this class is closed***
Readings by Writers Carol Roan
Local Atmospheres: Roots, Rhythms, and Time in Poetry David Roderick
Writing Life Stories Marianne Gingher

10:45am - 11:45pm

Keynote Reading - “Keepers of the Legends: Writing about North Carolina” Sharyn McCrumb

12:00 - 1:00pm Lunch on your own OR "Lunch with an Author": A new chance for the Network to network. From 8 - 9 am, registrants can sign up to join a group of no more than 10 who will take one of our faculty members out to lunch for some good company and informal conversation. Participants will split the cost of their author's lunch, as well as paying for their own meal.

Elliott Center Food Court and Commons
Exhibit Tables Open, Book Sales
1:00 - 2:00pm Faculty Readings
2:30 - 4:00pm Afternoon Classes

Five Ways Into A Story (Part II) Quinn Dalton ***this class is closed***
Nowhere To Hide: A Workshop in Writing Creative Nonfiction (Part II) Lee Zacharias
Under Pressure Valerie Nieman ***this class is closed***
Writing in Circles: Creating the Sestina and Villanelle Carolyn Beard Whitlow
Playwriting Improv Alan Cook
Editing Nonfiction, Including Your Own Ed Southern

4:00 - 5:00pm Publishing Panel
5:00 - 6:00pm Open Mic Readings



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