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Meet the Critiquers

The Network’s roster of critiquers is selected in accordance with the highest standards of excellence, including publication requirements and extensive mentoring and editing experience.

Karen M. Alley

nonfiction, fiction, memoir

Karen is a graduate of Davidson College and former editor of Carolina Gardener magazine. Her writing has been published in a number of business-to-business and consumer publications, including O. Henry, Carolina Parent, Pet Age, and AAA Living magazines. With over 20 years of experience in the publishing field, Karen brings to each project a broad knowledge of the book production and design process as well as finely tuned line editing and developmental editing skills. Editing interests include literary fiction and romance, as well as memoir and non-fiction in the motivational or business genres. Visit karenalleywriting.com to learn more.

I count myself fortunate to be an NCWN member, and doubly fortunate to have had Karen Alley edit and critique my first manuscript. Karen’s skillful and comprehensive edit, along with her strategic, cogent, and challenging but instructive criticism enabled me to say what I wanted to say—well beyond the writing in my original draft. She is a true writing coach contributing positively to every detail of composition. Karen speaks volumes to the value of NCWN membership, and I could not have asked for more.

NCWN Member Joe Mann-Stadt

Ellyn Bache


Bache is the author of nine novels, including Safe Passage, which was made into a movie starring Susan Sarandon; three short-story collections, including one that received the Willa Cather Fiction Prize; and dozens of short stories that appeared in literary and commercial magazines. As one of the founders of the small press, Banks Channel Books, she edited the guidebook What Locals Know about Wilmington and its Beaches and later judged and edited the winners of the Carolina Novel Award. She is past fiction editor of the literary magazines Antietam Review and Emrys Journal, and has taught fiction classes for NCWN, Emrys, and OLLI at Furman. Visit her at www.ellynbache.com.

Rebecca Bossen

plays, screenplays

is a North Carolina-based playwright, actor, and voice and dialect coach. Her writing credits include Delilah Lee, Blue Straggler, Iced Coffee Five Cubes, The Deepest Dark, Shards of Light, and 27. Her work has been developed and performed at venues across the country, including the Source Festival, Inkwell Theatre, Chicago Dramatists, Courier 12 Collective, Burning Coal Theatre, Seed Art Share, and Sonorous Road Theatre. She is the recipient an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship Grant for Scriptworks and an Ella Fountain Pratt Emerging Artists Grant. Delilah Lee was named an O’Neill National Playwrights Conference finalist. She is a proud member of the Dramatists Guild of America, Inc. www.rebeccabossen.com.

Gregg Cusick

flash fiction, short fiction, longer fiction

Gregg Cusick holds a Master’s in English/Creative Writing from NCSU, where he also taught English Composition and Literature. His story collection, My Father Moves Through Time Like a Dirigible, was published by Livingston Press in 2014, and his stories have appeared in over two dozen journals and won numerous awards, including The Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition and The Florida Review Editor’s Prize. He has been a freelance editor with Carolina Academic Press and for the past nine years a judge for the Raleigh Fine Arts Society student fiction contests. Additionally, he has been a literacy tutor for the past thirteen years. Gregg believes strongly that every piece of writing is important, valuable, and also improvable. His aim is to help writers tap the heart of their fiction/memoir, and to help make each piece the best possible, truest to the writer’s vision.

Golda Fried

fiction, screenplays

Golda Fried taught creative writing and English composition at Guilford Technical Community College for more than ten years, and now teaches English at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte. She is the author of one collection of short stories, Darkness then a Blown Kiss, and one coming-of-age novel, Nellcott Is My Darling, which she recently adapted into a screenplay with a co-writer. Nellcott is My Darling was nominated for the Governor General’s Literary Award in her native Canada. She has a BA in Film and Communications from McGill and a Masters in Creative Writing from Concordia University. Website: www.goldafried.com.

Eric Glawe


Eric Glawe is a graduate of the UCLA’s Department of Theater, Film, and Television with his MFA in Screenwriting. During his time at UCLA, Eric was able to learn from great screen and television writers such as Ana Lily Amirpour (A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, The Bad Batch), Jill Goldsmith (NYPD Blue, Ally McBeal, Law and Order and Boston Legal), Charles Holland (JAG, The Quad, Black Lightning), Linda Voorhees (Lion King II: Simba’s Pride), Lew Hunter (Fallen Angel, Otherworld), and recently retired department chair Richard Walter. In addition, Eric was chosen to work with Francis Ford Coppola, assisting on his project, Distant Vision. He learned from producing great Joe Roth (The Sixth Sense, Maleficent, Alice in Wonderland) and was an intern at Warner Bros. with Berlanti Productions (Arrow, Flash, Riverdale, Love, Simon). His produced projects include an adaptation of Romeo and Juliet titled Romeo and Julio, a short film screened at UCLA and TV Pilot Salem High which is being submitted to producers along with Eric’s screenplay on the life of Disney artist Mary Blair entitled Small World. Eric teaches Screenwriting and Film Studies at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC, and is represented by William Pettit Agency out of Atlanta.

Linda Hobson

fiction, nonfiction

Hobson, the author of a book on novelist Walker Percy and editor of a second, has a Ph.D in English from the University of Alabama and is a graduate of both Denison and Duke. She is at present an editor and book reviewer. Hobson has edited many published works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry as well as taught writing to adults and to secondary- and university-level students. Her literary interests are American fiction and nonfiction and English/British literature.

I’ve never been edited as thoroughly and with as much consideration as Linda (Hobson) showed toward my story. Her micro edits were precise, and her macro edits found things inside the story that even I didn’t realize were there. She wrote all over every page—an incredible amount of work for what turned out to be a very reasonable fee….I found her edits and critique to be spot-on: demanding more from me as a writer, while also engaging with the story so completely that I felt like she was really invested in its eventual success. That’s the very definition of a great editor, isn’t it?

Anonymous NCWN member

In searching for the right person to critique and edit my manuscript, I studied what was written about each of the persons NCWN has listed. The Anonymous NCWN member’s excellent and concise description of how Linda Hobson edited that member’s work was the reason Dr. Hobson was my first choice. Well, now I can verify that member’s description and add to it. Considering all my efforts in studying how to write my novel, I consider Dr. Hobson’s editing as the best of any course, class, or book, and certainly the most encouraging. And, yes is the answer to the member’s question, ‘That’s the very definition of a great editor, isn’t it?’ By the way, my book is on the market.

Darryl DuBose, NCWN member and author of Passion, Shadows, and Time

Susan Stafford Kelly

fiction, nonfiction (Note: Susan Stafford Kelly critiques only printed submissions)

Susan Stafford Kelly attended UNC-CH, holds a Master of Fine Arts from Warren Wilson College, and has taught creative writing at Salem College, UNCG, and for the NCWN. Her novel, How Close We Come, won the Carolina Novel Award, was reissued nationally by Warner Books, was an Alternate Selection in Book-of-the-Month Club, and was published in Russian and German. Warner Books published her second novel, Even Now. Pegasus Books published her successive novels The Last of Something, Now You Know, and By Accident, which won the Sir Walter Raleigh Award. Susan writes everything from obituaries to speeches, and is a frequent contributor to Our State magazine, as well as O. Henry, Pine Straw, and Salt magazines.

Susan Ketchin

fiction, nonfiction

Susan Ketchin is an author, editor, workshop leader, and teacher with over twenty-five years’ experience in writing, editing, and publishing. Susan has taught fiction writing and creative nonfiction writing, the art of the interview, and professional writing at N.C. State, Duke’s Center for Documentary Studies, Duke Divinity School, Millsaps College, and Meredith College. Susan has worked as Associate Editor at Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill and Fiction Editor at the University Press of Mississippi, and has served as fiction, poetry, and nonfiction editor at Southern Exposure Magazine, DoubleTake Magazine, and the St. Andrews Review.

Stephen Kirk

fiction, nonfiction

Stephen Kirk edited over 200 books in a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction categories during his tenure at John F. Blair, Publisher, including multiple winners of prizes including the Sir Walter Raleigh Award, the Foreword Reviews Book of the Year, the Independent Publisher Book (IPPY) Award, the Benjamin Franklin Award, the Storytelling World Award, the National Outdoor Book Award, and the Parents’ Choice Award. He is the author of Voices from the Outer Banks, Scribblers: Stalking the Authors of Appalachia, and First in Flight: The Wright Brothers in North Carolina and has been reprinted in the Best American Short Stories series.

Steven Manchester


Steven Manchester is the author of the #1 bestsellers Twelve Months, The Rockin’ Chair, Pressed Pennies, and Gooseberry Island; the national bestsellers, Ashes, The Changing Season, and Three Shoeboxes; the multi-award winning novel, Goodnight Brian; and the beloved holiday podcast drama, The Thursday Night Club. His work has appeared on NBC’s Today Show, CBS’s The Early Show, CNN’s American Morning and BET’s Nightly News. Three of Steven’s short stories were selected “101 Best” for Chicken Soup for the Soul series. He is a multi-produced playwright, as well as the winner of the 2017 Los Angeles Book Festival and the 2018 New York Book Festival. He is also an accomplished speaker and currently teaches the popular workshops, “Publish: See Your Work In Print and Writing Fiction that Sells.” As a professional editor, he provides line-by-line editing for spelling, punctuation, grammar, and sentence structure, as well as critical commentary on plot, character development, scene setting, and dialogue. As a well-published author, Manchester understands the polish needed to approach potential agents and publishers and will review cover letters and synopses. He has also written The Author’s Toolbox, assisting other writers in their quest to be published. See: www.stevenmanchester.com

I have been working on my novel for quite some time and really wondered if I was on the right track. Therefore, I decided it would be most helpful to send a few pages just to see what someone thought about it. I must say, I am really glad I did, as Mr. Manchester’s words greatly inspired me to continue on.

NCWN member Jennifer Bower

Meredith McCarroll


Meredith McCarroll is a native North Carolinian with an undergraduate degree from Appalachian State University and a PhD from University of Tennessee. With twenty years of experience as a professor of writing and American Literature, Meredith works with nonfiction writers and memoirists to find the best ways to get the complicated truths onto the page. Her work focuses on Appalachia and the Mountain South. Unwhite: Appalachia, Race and Film focuses on cinematic representations of Appalachia; Appalachian Reckoning: A Region Responds to Hillbilly Elegy (co-edited with Anthony Harkins) offers counternarratives from the region and won the American Book Award and the Weatherford Award. Her work is available at www.meredithmccarroll.com.

Jen McConnel

children’s, middle grade, young adult, academic

Jen is a graduate of Hollins University master’s program in writing and critiquing Children’s Literature, and the author of over 10 books for adolescent readers, including the award-winning novel Beautiful Curse. A long-time teacher and researcher, she completed her PhD in 2020, focusing on the complicated emotions we bring to our writing. Her most recent book, Styling Your Writing, is aimed at helping all writers develop comfort and flare in their academic writing. She specializes in critiques for children’s literature, YA and MG, and academic writing. Visit her at http://jenmcconnel.com/

Ruth Moose

fiction (Note: Ruth Moose critiques only printed submissions)

Moose has published stories in The Atlantic, Alaska Quarterly Review, North American Review, and other places. She taught creative writing at UNC-Chapel Hill for fifteen years. After she retired, she published two novels, Doing It at the Dixie Dew and Wedding Bell Blues, which won the Malice Domestic prize from St. Martin’s Press. She has also published six books of poetry, including The Librarian and Other Poems. She is the author of the short-story collection Going to Graceland. She lives in Pittsboro.

Elizabeth Oliver

flash fiction, short fiction, nonfiction

Oliver is the founding managing editor of The Rambler, a national literary magazine. She has extensive experience critiquing and editing across genres, from flash fiction to long memoir pieces. She is passionate about the preservation of personal voice in stories and has worked with writers with a variety of experience, from beginners to accomplished authors. Oliver holds a BA in journalism and an MFA in creative writing; her work has appeared in various publications and the flash fiction anthology Long Story Short (UNC Press).

Alexis Orgera

children’s, young adult, poetry

Alexis Orgera is a poet, editor, and co-founder/publisher of Penny Candy Books and Penelope Editions, an indie kids’ book press and imprint that encourage big conversations and promote diversity. As a poet, Orgera has published two books, How Like Foreign Objects (H-ngm-n Books, 2011) and Dust Jacket (Coconut Books, Braddock Prize winner, 2014), and her poems have appeared in various literary journals like Bennington Review, Black Warrior Review, Carolina Quarterly, Chattahoochee Review, Denver Quarterly, Gulf Coast, Hotel Amerika, The Journal, jubilat, New South, Prairie Schooner, storySouth, Third Coast, and elsewhere. In addition to editing and publishing award-winning picture books and middle grade / young adult titles, Orgera enjoys editing poetry and nonfiction adult titles. She has a BA in literature, an MFA in poetry, and a certificate in copyediting, has edited literary journals and city magazines, and taught college writing for over a decade. You can find her and some of her work at www.alexisorgera.com and at www.pennycandybooks.com.

Alice Osborn

speculative fiction, fiction, memoir, poetry

Alice Osborn’s past educational and work experience is unusually varied, and it now feeds her work as a singer-songwriter, educator, and book editor. In the past fourteen years, Alice has taught thousands of aspiring fiction, poetry, and memoir authors, and songwriters of nearly all ages both around the corner and across continents. Heroes without Capes is her most recent collection of poetry. Previous poetry collections are After the Steaming Stops and Unfinished Projects. Alice is the recipient of a United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County 2019 Professional Development Grant, a Roads and Let’s Talk About It Scholar for the NC Humanities Council, the artist-in-residence for the Western Wake Farmers’ Market, and is a senior docent at the NC Museum of History. A former editor for Wake Living magazine, Alice is also the editor of the anthologies Tattoos and Creatures of Habitat, both from Main Street Rag. The President of the NC Songwriters’ Co-op, a member of the boards of both the NC Writers’ Network and NC Museum of History Docents, and a Pushcart Prize nominee, she’s currently working on a novel and CD about the ill-fated Donner Party. She also plays old-time fiddle, mandolin, electric bass, and bluegrass banjo. Alice lives in Raleigh with her husband, two children, and four birds all named after musicians. Visit Alice’s website and blog at www.aliceosborn.com and check out her music at www.reverbnation.com/aliceosborn.

A.D. Reed

nonfiction, fiction

A.D. Reed (www.myowneditor.com) has been a professional writer and editor for more than thirty years, in journalism, commercial writing, and book editing and publishing, best known as the author of Reed’s Homophones: A Comprehensive Book of Sound-alike Words, now in its fourth edition. Prior to returning to NC in 1993, he worked as a writer, copywriter, and marketing executive with NBC Television in New York while moonlighting as a freelance editor for ArtNews & Antiques World Books. He began editing full-time in the 1990s. He has edited Asheville’s monthly Urban News (www.theurbannews.com) since its founding in 2005, previously wrote a regular column for The Asheville Citizen-Times, and edited its monthly neighborhood edition, West Asheville News. His editing work includes two nonfiction volumes by Prof. Mallory McDuff of Warren Wilson College, and the Revolutionary War study Swords in Their Hands: George Washington and the Newburgh Conspiracy, by Dave Richards, scheduled to be added to the curriculum at West Point in 2020. He also edited and published the acclaimed novel Trang Sen by Sarah-Ann Smith; RF Wilson’s Rick Ryder Mystery series; two memoirs by Robin Russell Gaiser, Musical Morphine and Open for Lunch; several books of children’s literature; and five collections of poetry. He is the founder and owner of Pisgah Press in Asheville and its poetry imprint, ArsPoetica.

Dawn Reno Langley

fiction, nonfiction

Dawn Reno Langley is a Fulbright scholar (Pakistan) with an MFA in Fiction from Vermont College, and a Ph.D in Interdisciplinary Studies from The Union Institute and University. She began her career in journalism, writing and editing for such magazines and newspapers as Vermont Woman, USAir Magazine, Better Homes and Gardens, and dozens more. She has managed, edited, or written for literary journals such as howl!, The Hyco Review, The Green Mountains Review, The Oklahoma Review, Burrow Press, the Provo Canyon Review, and many others. Her published books include children’s books, YA novels, nonfiction books on art and antiques, and novels, including her most recent, a National Book Award nominee titled The Mourning Parade. Finally, she has taught writing at many levels, from Montessori grammar school kids to graduate level university, and in several countries. Reno Langley offers developmental editing on literary and academic texts, as well as line editing on most other written works.

Amy Rogers

fiction, nonfiction

Amy Rogers was a founder and the Publisher of Novello Festival Press, the award-winning independent press that put more than 300 writers into print since its founding in 2000. Rogers’ books include Hungry for Home: Stories of Food from Across the Carolinas and Red Pepper Fudge and Blue Ribbon Biscuits. Her work was included in Cornbread Nation 1: The Best of Southern Food Writing. Rogers is a frequent food and culture commentator for NPR station WFAE. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including the design magazine American Bungalow, the literary magazine the Oxford American, and the Charlotte Observer. She has been Writer in Residence at the Wildacres Center and a program presenter at dozens of events, festivals, arts centers, schools, and other venues.

Amy Rogers framed the feedback in a way that left me inspired to improve my novel. She provided excellent overall critiques and within the manuscript highlighted specific things I’d done well and need to do more often as well as repeated errors that I need to be aware of. I’m very pleased with the cost and quality of editing though the NC Writer’s Network. Thank you all for providing this service.

NCWN member Heather Brewer

Debra Simon

 fiction, nonfiction 

Debra Simon is a journalist, editor and writer with decades of experience. She served as a New York-based reporter for Reuters, a copyeditor for the Hartford Courant, and an assistant business editor of the Miami Herald. She has contributed articles to publications ranging from Seventeen magazine to Businessweek, Advertising Age, and theWall Street Journal. During a year-long backpacking trip around the world, she conceived of Carolina Woman, which she launched in 1993. As the editor and publisher, Debra has overseen its transition from print to web. She initiated Carolina Woman’s popular annual writers’ contest, a springboard for many talented North Carolinians, and continues to serve as chief judge. Debra has been a coach and editor for hundreds of writers from novices to award-winners

Robert Wallace

fiction, nonfiction

Robert Wallace has received an Emerging Artist grant from the Durham Arts Council, a Writer’s Fellowship from the NC Arts Council, and has been a Blumenthal reader. He has had fiction and nonfiction published in various journals and newspapers, including Bryant Literary Review, NC Literary Review, Proximity, Cagibi, International Journal of Comparative Literature and Translation Studies, Aethlon, O. Henry Festival Stories, and The News & Observer in Raleigh. He is a two-time winner of the Doris Betts Fiction Prize. His work also has been in several anthologies, including Racing Home: New Short Stories by Award Winning North Carolina Writers. He is the author of the novel A Hold on Time.

Tamra Wilson

fiction, nonfiction

Wilson is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and earned her MFA at Stonecoast. She has been a fellow at the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, a Blumenthal reader, and the recipient of two artist project grants funded by the NC Arts Council. She is co-editor of Idol Talk: Women Writers on the Teenage Infatuations that Changed Their Lives (McFarland). All but two of twenty-one stories in her collection Dining with Robert Redford were previously published in such journals as The MacGuffin, Emrys Journal, Epiphany, and North Carolina Literary Review. She has written three first-place entries in the Charlotte Writers’ Club Children’s Story Contest and won the Jesse Stuart Prize for Young Adult Fiction in 2009. She has served as a Road Scholar for the NC Humanities Council with special interest in Southern fiction and child narrators, and for years has written a slice-of-life column for her local newspaper. A collection of essays from her column, A Fork in the Road, is forthcoming from Red Hawk Publications.

Gideon Young

poetry, children’s, YA

Gideon Young has been steeped in reading and writing his whole life—years as a Connecticut librarian, a K-12 Literacy Specialist & Reading Teacher for North Carolina Public Schools, and Instructor for the Duke Young Writers Program. He is a member of the Carolina African American Writers’ Collective. Gideon’s poetry has appeared in Acorn, Carve Magazine, North Carolina Literary Review, and Obsidian: Literature in the African Diaspora, as well as, All the Songs We Sing, and The Elizabeth Keckley Reader: A Determined Life, Vol. II, among others. Gideon’s debut haiku collection my hands full of light was published by Backbone Press, Spring 2021. He is the author of Prince Rivers: A Leader for Justice, an early/middle reader biography forthcoming from Gibbs Smith Education in 2021. Gideon is a co-author of One Window’s Light: A Collection of Haiku, published by Unicorn Press, 2017, winner of the Haiku Society of America Merit Award for Best Anthology. Gideon earned a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education from North Carolina State University and Bachelor’s in Literature from the University of Connecticut. Winner of a Borchardt Award from Global Teachers NC, Gideon is a Fellow for A+ Schools of North Carolina. He lives in Chapel Hill, NC. Discover more at www.gideonyoung.com.