Logo for: North Carolina Writer's Network


  • Xhenet Aliu

    Xhenet Aliu is the author of the novel Brass, a Barnes & Noble “Discover Great New Writers” selection, winner of the Townsend Prize, the Georgia Author of the Year First Novel Prize, and long-listed for the 2018 Center for Fiction First Book Prize. Her first book, Domesticated Wild Things and Other Stories, won the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Fiction. Aliu’s writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Boston Globe, Glimmer Train, Buzzfeed, and elsewhere, and she’s received fellowships from the Bread Loaf and Sewanee Writers’ Conferences, a grant from the Elizabeth George Foundation, and a fellowship from the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, among other awards, including a special mention in the Pushcart Prize anthology. She teaches Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina Greensboro.  

  • Dana Coen

    Dana Coen is the former director of the Writing for the Screen and Stage Program at UNC Chapel Hill. A former New York actor and stage director, he has written extensively for television, Including Co-Executive Producer/Writer positions on the Fox series Bones; the CBS series JAG, where he spent eight seasons and wrote 37 episodes; and a comedy development deal for Walt Disney Studios. His screenwriting awards include the 2021 Silver Bullet Screenwriting Award for his screenplay Sleeping Upright, The Jewish Image Award, and The Templeton Prize. As a playwright his work has been produced extensively, including an off-Broadway production of his play Sympathy. 

  • Abby Freeland

    Abby Freeland is a senior acquisitions editor at the University Press of Kentucky. She began her career in book publishing in the UK before returning to her home state of West Virginia, where she was the sales and marketing director and fiction editor at West Virginia University Press for over ten years. She now lives in Winston-Salem with her family. 

  • Nathan Ross Freeman

    Nathan Ross Freeman is the writer, director, and producer of the independent feature films Gem, Mr. Bones and Authoring Action Official Documentary, screened in over 40 national and international film festivals. He also co-founded Authoring Action, Montage Showcase Ensemble, Assegai Film Group, Bushfire Theatre and Pen & Voice, each representing powerful vehicles for discovering one’s authentic voice, expressing voice and vision with impact. 

  • James Tate Hill

    James Tate Hill is the author of a memoir, Blind Man’s Bluff, a New York Times Editors’ Choice and a Washington Independent Review of Books Favorite Book of 2021. His fiction debut, Academy Gothic, won the Nilsen Literary Prize for a First Novel. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Literary Hub, Shondaland, Prairie Schooner, Poets & Writers, and Writer’s Digest, among others, and his work has been listed as Notable in three editions of The Best American Essays. He serves as fiction editor for Monkeybicycle and contributing editor at Literary Hub, where he writes an audiobooks column. 

  • Jefferson Holdridge

    Director of Wake Forest University Press and Professor of English, Jefferson Holdridge is the author of four volumes of poetry, Eruptions (2013), Devil’s Den and Other Poems (2015), The Sound Thereof (2017), and The Wells of Venice (2020). His poetry has been published in such journals as Prairie Schooner, Poetry Ireland Review, The Irish Times, Mantis, The Anglican Theological Journal, The Quint, Honest Ulsterman, Southword, among others.  He has written two critical books, Those Mingled Seas: The Poetry of W.B. Yeats, the Beautiful and the Sublime (2000) and The Poetry of Paul Muldoon (2008). He has also edited and introduced two volumes of The Wake Forest Series of Irish Poetry (2005; 2010), as well as Post-Ireland? Essays on Contemporary Irish Poetry, which he co-edited and introduced with Brian O’Conchubhair. His most recent critical work, Stepping through Origins: Nature, Home, and Landscape, was published by Syracuse University Press in February 2022. 

  • Zelda Lockhart

    Zelda Lockhart is Associate Professor of Creative Writing and African American Literature and Distinguished Endowed Fellow in the Language & Literature Department at North Carolina Central University. She holds a PhD in Expressive Art Therapies, an MA in Literature, and a certificate in writing, directing and editing from the New York Film Academy.  Her latest books include the forthcoming HarperCollins 2023 release Trinity, Mama Bear: One Black Mother’s Fight for Her Child’s Life and Her Own (by Shirley Smith with Zelda Lockhart), and The Soul of the Full-Length Manuscript, which takes readers on the emotional, psychological and spiritual journey of utilizing personal stories to transform their lives while completing a work of fiction, memoir or poetry. Lockhart is author of novels Fifth Born, a Barnes & Noble Discovery selection and a Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Award finalist; Cold Running Creek, a Black Caucus of the American Library Association Honor Fiction Awardee; and Fifth Born II: The Hundredth Turtle, 2011 Lambda Literary Award finalist. Lockhart is Director at Her Story Garden Studios: Inspiring Black Women to Self-Define, Heal, and Liberate Through Our Stories & Nature.  

  • Timothy O’Keefe

    Timothy O’Keefe is the author of You Are the Phenomenology, winner of the 2017 Juniper Prize for Poetry, and The Goodbye Town, winner of the 2010 FIELDPoetry Prize. His poems and lyric essays have appeared in American Poetry Review, Best American Essays, Boston Review, Colorado Review, Denver Quarterly, Massachusetts Review, VOLT, and elsewhere. He serves as Senior Editor for Seneca Review and teaches writing and literature at High Point University. 

  • M. Randal O’Wain

    M. Randal O’Wain is the author of Meander Belt: Family, Loss, and Coming of Age in the Working-Class South and the short story collection Hallelujah Station. He teaches creative writing at UNC Chapel Hill.  

  • Michael Parker

    Michael Parker is the author of eight novels – Hello Down There, Towns Without Rivers, Virginia Lovers, If You Want Me to Stay, The Watery Part of the World, All I Have In This World, Prairie Fever, and I Am the Light of This World–and three collections of stories, The Geographical Cure, Don’t Make Me Stop Now and Everything, Then and Since.   His short fiction and nonfiction have appeared in numerous publications, including Five Points, the Georgia Review, The Southwest Review, the Washington Post, the New York Times, Oxford American, New England Review, Trail Runner, Runner’s World, and Men’s Journal.  He has received fellowships in fiction from the North Carolina Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as the Hobson Award for Arts and Letters, the North Carolina Award for Literature, and the 2020 Thomas Wolfe Prize. His work has been anthologized in the Pushcart and New Stories from the South anthologies, and he is a three-time winner of the O.Henry Award for short fiction. For nearly thirty years, he taught in the MFA Writing Program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Since 2009 he has been on the faculty of the Warren Wilson Program for Writers.  He lives in Austin, Texas. 

  • Jacob Paul

    Jacob Paul is the author of Last Tower to Heaven (C&R, 2019) and two previous novels, A Song of Ilan(Jaded Ibis, 2015) and Sarah/Sara (Ig, 2010), which Poets & Writersnamed one of 2010’s five best first fictions. His collaborations have led to the fine art books, Home for an Hour (Otherwise, 2014) and Feed Mayonnaise to Tuna (Otherwise, 2016). His work has also appeared in Hunger Mountain, Western Humanities Review, Green Mountains Review, Massachusetts Review, Seneca Review, Mountain Gazette and USA Today’s Weekend Magazine as well as on therumpus.net, fictionwritersreview.com and numerocinqmagazine.com. He teaches creative writing at High Point University. More at www.jacobgpaul.com/bio 

  • Leslie Pietrzyk

    Leslie Pietrzyk’s collection of DC stories, Admit This to No One (Unnamed Press, November 2021) was called “insidery, insightful, and deftly executed” by Washingtonian magazine. She’s the author of three novels, including Silver Girl, published by Unnamed Press in 2018. Her first collection of short stories, This Angel on My Chest, won the 2015 Drue Heinz Literature Prize and was published by University of Pittsburgh Press. Short fiction and essays have appeared in Ploughshares, Story Magazine, Southern Review, The Gettysburg Review, The Iowa Review, The Sun, The Washington Post Magazine, and others. Awards include a Pushcart Prize in 2020. Organizations awarding fellowships include the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, Virginia Center for the Arts, the Hambidge Center, and Hawthornden International Retreat at Hawthornden Castle in Scotland. For more information: www.lesliepietrzyk.com 

  • Jacinta V. White

    Jacinta V. White is a poet, facilitator, and coach. She’s the founder of The Word Project (poetryheals.com), where she has spent more than 20 years facilitating creative workshops for those looking to use poetry and art as catalysts for healing, and she’s also the publisher of the international quarterly  Snapdragon: A Journal of Art & Healing. Her latest poetry collection, Resurrecting the Bones: Born from a Journey through African American Churches & Cemeteries of the Rural South, was published by Press 53 in 2019. She has received numerous awards and recognitions, including the Duke Energy Regional Artist Project Grant from the Arts Council of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County, the Palm Beach Poetry Festival Fellowship, the 100 W Corsicana Residency Fellowship (with the Navarro Council for the Arts), and the 2019 Outstanding Women Leaders Award by the City of Winston-Salem. 

  • Phoebe Zerwick

    Phoebe Zerwick is an award-winning journalist, narrative writer, and college professor. Her 2022 book, Beyond Innocence, The Life Sentence of Darryl Hunt, was shortlisted for the Southern Book Award in nonfiction.  Her writing has appeared in O, The Oprah Magazine; National Geographic; The Nation; the Winston-Salem Journal; The Washington Post; and Glamour, among other publications and recognized by the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University, Investigative Reporters and Editors, the Society of Professional Journalists, Columbia University, and the North Carolina Press Association. A graduate of the Journalism School at Columbia University, Zerwick is the director of the journalism program at Wake Forest University, where she teaches writing and journalism. She lives in Winston-Salem with her husband, a dog, and three cats. Between them, they have three grown children.