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Charlotte Writers’ Club Celebrates a Century

The oldest NCWN member that I know of turned 99 earlier this year, which means that the Charlotte Writers’ Club not only is older than the Network, but older than any current Network member.

The Charlotte Writers’ Club turns 100 this year, a remarkable milestone for any literary organization. For context, when the Network started in 1985, the CWC already had been around for 63 years.

According to the centennial celebration page on their website, “Our founder, A L Kimball, sought out writers and writing ideas in 1922 with an eye to building a community of nurturing, encouragement, and education for local writers of all genres and skill levels.”

Kimball succeeded, and then some. The CWC says they now have about 300 members, most of them in the sprawling Charlotte Metro area but some “as far away as California.” They also have a branch for writers near Lake Norman, Charlotte Writers’ Club—North, co-founded by NCLHOF inductee Anthony Abbott.

Charlotte and its environs may be known by some as “the Great State of Mecklenburg,” accused of holding itself apart from the rest of the state, and known more for banking and NASCAR than writing, but the CWC has been a leader and a model for forming literary community and nurturing new writers. Writers who have spent significant time in Mecklenburg include Abbott and fellow NCLHOF inductees William LeGette Blythe and W. J. Cash, Carson McCullers (who wrote most of The Heart is a Lonely Hunter while living there), former NC Poets Laureate Joseph Bathanti and Cathy Smith Bowers, and (cough, cough) the instructors of this year’s Squire Summer Writing Workshops at Davidson College—Jack Jung, Cynthia Lewis, and Alan Michael Parker.

Please join us in wishing CWC a very happy 100th birthday, and hopes for another 100.

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Meet the Spring Conference Exhibitors – Part 2 of 2

Eariler this week, we introduced three exhibitors that will be on-site at the NCWN 2022 Spring Conference on Saturday, April 23. If you’ve already registered for the conference, thank you! If not, you can still register—but only until Monday, April 18!

Here are the other exhibitors that will join us on the campus of UNCG:

NORTH CAROLINA LITERARY REVIEW
www.nclr.ecu.edu
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Published since 1992 by East Carolina University and the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association, the North Carolina Literary Review facilitates the annual Doris Betts Fiction Prize, which awards $250 and publication in NCLR to a short story under 6,000 words. The contest will open for submissions again on September 15. NCLR is currently accepting submissions on the theme of “North Carolina Native American Literature” for its Fall, 2023 issue (guest editor: Kirstin Squint). Submissions are open through April 30 for the James Applewhite Poetry Prize, which will award $250 and publication for the winning poem.

PRESS 53
www.press53.com
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Press 53 has been finding and sharing remarkable voices in poetry and short fiction since October, 2005, having published more than 200 titles that have earned more than 70 awards. Press 53 has published poetry and short fiction collections by authors from 35 states, including six state poets laureate. In 2011, Press 53 established Prime Number Magazine, a free online journal of distinctive poetry and short fiction. The 2022 Press 53 Award for Poetry is open for entries through July 31, 2022, awarded annually to “an outstanding, unpublished collection of poems.” New titles include the poetry collection Bodies in Motion by Joseph Mills; The Italian Professor’s Wife by Ann Pedone; and the Dragonfly. Toad. Moon. by Mary Jane White.

Founder and publisher Kevin Morgan Watson will serve as a panelist on the Slush Pile Live! progarm at the NCWN 2022 Spring Conference.

SCUPPERNONG BOOKS
www.scuppernongbooks.com
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Scuppernong Books is the official bookseller of the NCWN 2022 Spring Conference. Scuppernong Books opened on December 21, 2013 and has been an essential part of the rebirth of downtown Greensboro. They are a general interest/literary bookstore featuring fiction and poetry along with a remarkable children’s section and a broad range of general interest titles. There’s also a coffee bar that serves snacks, beer, wine, and caffeinated products. They were a driving force behind the founding of the annual Greensboro Bound literary festival. Scuppernong Books hosts frequent and fun literary events, including readings, writing workshops, open mics, and more.

WRITERS FOR DEMOCRATIC ACTION
www.writersfordemocraticaction.org
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“WDA is a 2,600 member strong community of writers from all 50 states and 43 nations…committed to bringing together the literary community to demand racial and economic justice.” Reps from their program, “Book the Vote,” will be on-hand to register voters in order to offer “civic resistance to anti-democratic maninpulations of elections.”

The NCWN 2022 Spring Conference happens Saturday, April 23, both on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and online. This is a full-day of classes and sessions on the craft and business of writing, offering courses in fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, and screenwriting.

Registration is open here.

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Meet the Spring Conference Exhibitors – Part 1 of 2

The NC Writers’ Network 2022 Spring Conference happens Saturday, April 23, on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and online. In-person attendees will have access to a scaled-down exhibit hall featuring select vendors spaced out to allow for better social distancing. Registration is open!

We’ll introduce our eight exhibitors in two separate blog posts. Without further ado…

THE GREENSBORO REVIEW
www.greensbororeview.org
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The Greensboro Review, a literary magazine published by The MFA in Creative Writing Program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, has been willfully and defiantly “old school” since its founding in 1966. Back then, it appeared more or less exactly as it does today, offering readers a simple cover, no distracting graphics, and a complete and total focus on the quality of the text. Recent authors include Jim Whiteside, as well as Casey Guering, whose short story “What Consumes You,” won the Robert Watson Literary Prize in Fiction. Past contributors include Dan Albergotti, NC Literary Hall of Fame inductee and former NC Poet Laureate Fred Chapell, Philip Gerard–recipient of the 2019 NC Award for Literature, the state’s highest civilian honor–and Emilia Phillips. The Greensboro Review facilitates the annual Randall Jarrell Poetry Competition and provides on-site support for the NCWN 2022 Spring Conference.

LONGLEAF PRESS
www.longleafpress.org
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Based in Fayetteville, Longleaf Press “publishes poetry and prose of exceptional literary merit by both established and emerging authors.” Current projects include an anthology of “military-related poems that focus on the theme of healing” (submission deadline: June 1). The Longleaf Press Book Contest awards $1,000 and publication to a manuscript of 50-80 pages; this contest is open and will be judged by Roger Weingarten. Longleaf Press authors include Tina Barr, Joanna Catherine Scott, Crystal Simone Smith, and NC Literary Hall of Fame inductee Carole Boston Weatherford, who will give the Keynote Address at the NCWN 2022 Spring Conference.

Longleaf Press executive editor Shannon C. Ward will be a panelist on the Slush Pile Live! panel at the NCWN 2022 Spring Conference. Shannon is author of the poetry chapbook, Blood Creek. She is a recipient of the 2020 Inez Easley Educator of the Year Award from the Fayetteville-Cumberland Human Relations Commission, America’s 2016 Foley Poetry Prize, the 2016 Prize in Southern Poetry from White Oak Kitchen, and a 2013 Nazim Hikmet Poetry Prize. Her work has received generous support from Willapa Bay AiR, Yaddo, Norton Island, Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts, and the Anderson Center.

NORTH CAROLINA LITERARY MAP
www.library.uncg.edu/dp/nclitmap
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Connecting the lives and creative work of authors to real (and imaginary) geographic locations. The mission of the North Carolina Literary Map is to highlight the literary heritage of the state by connecting the lives and creative work of authors to real (and imaginary) geographic locations. Through the development of a searchable and browseable data-driven online map, users are able to access a database, learning tools, and cultural resources, to deepen their understanding of specific authors as well as the cultural space that shaped these literary works. The NC Literary Map also offers apps for literary walking tours. For example, there are two literary walking tours for Greensboro, one for O. Henry and one for Randall Jarrell–inductees of the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame, both.

Check back soon to learn about what other exhibitors will be on-hand at the NCWN 2022 Spring Conference!

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Knightdale Student Wins NC’s Poetry Out Loud Competition

Today we’re sending out big congratulations to Gabriella Burwell of Knightdale Hight School: Gabriella won North Carolina’s 2022 Poetry Out Loud competition!

Next up? The national semi-finals, where Gabriella will compete against representatives from each of the competition’s 55 states and jurisdictions. The semi-finals happen May 1, and the nine finalists will compete on June 5. Both events will be livestreamed here.

Gabriella began the competition at the local level with her theatre teacher and Poetry Out Loud coach, Mathew Clay Raines. Gabriella won North Carolina with her recitation of Dudley Randall’s poem “Ballad of Birmingham.” (View Gabriella’s reading here.) Gabriella won $200 for taking North Carolina, and Knightdale High School received $500 toward the purchase of poetry materials.

In before-times, Gabriella also would have received an all-expenses paid trip (with chaperone) to the semi-finals in Washington, DC, but due to COVID-19 concerns, this year’s semi-finals and finals will be virtual. At the national finals, a total of $50K is awarded annually.

From the website:

Poetry Out Loud is a national arts education program that encourages the study of great poetry by offering free educational materials and a dynamic recitation competition for high school students across the country. This program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary history and contemporary life. Poetry Out Loud is a partnership of the National Endowment for the Arts, Poetry Foundation, and the state and jurisdictional arts agencies.

For more information about how to compete next year, click here.

Want to organize a contest at the local level? Find helpful resources at the North Carolina Arts Council website, or on the Poetry Out Loud website, here.

And don’t forget to watch Gabriella compete on May 1!

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New Writing Workshops Coming to Winston-Salem

For two years, we’ve watched with sadness as literary events were cancelled; longtime writing groups disbanded; and others moved their regular meetings online. So, it brings no small amount of joy to see a new literary endeavor sprout in Winston-Salem.

Founded by Adam Fagin, Red Bird Writers Workshop offers intimate writing workshops and manuscript consultations for writers wherever they happen to be on their writing journey. Located at the Delurk Gallery (207 W. 6th St. in Winston-Salem), Red Bird Writers Workshop hopes to build an inclusive writing community that believes curiosity is the surest way to growth.

Two writing workshops will be offered this spring:

  • Open-Genre Workshop 1, Wednesdays, April 27 – June 8, 6:00-8:00 pm
  • Open-Genre Workshop 2, Sundays, May 1 – June 12, 4:00-6:00 pm

Open to writers of all levels. In this seven-week class, participants may submit poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction for workshop. We will read and discuss each other’s work while receiving peer and instructor feedback, undertaking an assortment of in-class writing activities, and reading short assigned texts intended to highlight writing techniques and illuminate the writing process. This class will be tailored to the work of its participants and will explore strategies for brainstorming, writing, and revising works in every genre. The cost is $225.

Adam Fagin is the founder and lead instructor of Red Bird Writers Workshop. A teacher of writing for over a decade, Adam received his Ph.D. in creative writing from University of Denver and has taught the art of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction there, at Lighthouse Writers Workshop, University of Colorado, and Weber State University. He is the author of Furthest Ecology, which was named a Best Book by Entropy Magazine, and his work has been published widely at Poetry Daily, Boston Review, Conjunctions, Colorado Review, and many other journals. As a teacher, Adam is committed to creating a dynamic and inclusive space for writers to learn and grow as they pursue their art.

Find out more at Redbirdwriters.org or e-mail Adam for more info—or to register—at redbirdworkshops@gmail.com.

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Celebrate National Poetry Month with WFDD

Poet Ashley Lumpkin reads at the NCWN 2019 Spring Conference

April is National Poetry Month, and this year, WFDD 88.5 in the Triad is offering something special: a Poetry Month Challenge!

First, sign up to receive bi-weekly poems sent directly to your e-mail inbox. These bits of inspiration alone are sure to keep us in a celebratory state of mind all month long.

Throughout April, subscribers will be invited to share their poetry with WFDD—if they feel so inspired—for the chance to be featured in the Poetry Month Collection on the WFDD website at the end of April.

This is the inaugural Poetry Month Challenge for the station. Sign-up here!

88.5 WFDD, Public Radio for the Piedmont is:

…the state’s charter NPR® member and the longest continuously broadcasting public radio station in North Carolina. WFDD is a member of the North Carolina Public Radio Association. It is a broadcast service of Wake Forest University.

In Boone, you can hear WFDD at 100.1 FM.

This year, the station is celebrating its 75th anniversary.

Visit them on the web at wfdd.org and on Facebook.

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If You Write, then You Need to Subscribe to Literary Mags

The Greensboro Review

Each year, but especially during contest season, the North Carolina Writers’ Network works closely with several literary journals that facilitate our contests, often publish our winners and finalists, stand at exhibit tables for long hours during conferences, sponsor conferences, and help make North Carolina the fertile literary ecosystem that it is.

Writers should subscribe to literary journals to stay current on who’s publishing what. Subscribing to one or two—or five—is just plain, good, old-fashioned literary citizenship. If we hope to be published one day, we need to support those outlets now that we hope to be published in later.

Like who? Glad you asked.

The Greensboro Review was established in 1966. Published by the MFA Program in Creative Writing at UNC-Greensboro, recent contributors include Thomas Lux, Jill McCorkle, and Natasha Trethewey. The Greensboro Review is published twice a year: subscriptions are $14 for one year, $24 for two years, and $30 for three years. Subscribe here.

Ecotone is an award-winning magazine founded in 2005 at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Recent contributors include Destiny O. Birdsong, Cathey Ulrich, and comic-writer Lee Lai. Ecotone is published twice a year. Subscriptions are $24 for one year; $44 for two years; or $64 for three years. Subscribe here.

The Thomas Wolfe Review publishes critical and scholarly writing on the work of NC Literary Hall of Fame inductee Thomas Wolfe, as well as biographical and newsworthy items related to Wolfe. Founded in 1977, The Thomas Wolfe Review is included as a benefit for all Thomas Wolfe Society members. Membership dues are $30 annually. Join here.

The North Carolina Literary Review is just out with its Winter 2022 online issue. NCLR publishes fiction through the Doris Betts Fiction Prize, poetry through its James Applewhite Poetry Prize, and nonfiction through the Alex Albright Creative Nonfiction Prize. There is one print issue per year: $18 for one year, $30 for two. Subscribe here.

The most recent issue of The Carolina Quarterly features Caleb Johnson, Francisco Márquez, and George Singleton, among many others. Published four times each year out of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, subscriptions to the print version of CQ run $30 per year for one year or $25 per year for two- and three-year subscriptions. To subscribe, click here.

There are, of course, many more literary journals around the state of North Carolina to subscribe to. Happy reading!

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Coming 2025: NC’s First Ph.D in Creative Writing

Big things are happening in the Department of English and Multimedia Studies at St. Augustine’s University in Raleigh. Starting in 2024, SAU will offer a B.F.A. in Creative Writing; they will offer a Ph.D in creative writing beginning in 2025. Students also may minor in creative writing and literary publishing.

This will make Saint Augustine’s the only academic institution in the state of North Carolina to offer a Ph.D program in creative writing.

Already, the program aims to create fully formed literary citizens that harness creative inspiration with technical expertise. Through various internship programs with the lit journal Raleigh Review and the publisher Backbone Press, students immerse themselves in the world of literature; an expanding course catalog prepares students academically for the 21st century.

Founded in 1867, SAU offers more than 20 undergraduate degree programs. Creative innovation has always been part of its legacy:

the University was the nation’s first historically black university to own an on-campus commercial radio station (WAUG-AM Power 750) and television station (WAUG-TV 168).

For more about creative writing at SAU, including a list of faculty, click here.

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UNC-Asheville Creates Writer-in-Residence Program at Wilma Dykeman Home

The Wilma Dykeman residence, courtesy of UNC-Asheville

Somewhere in the train wreck of a year that was 2020, we missed the exciting news that UNC-Asheville has established a Writer-in-Residence program at the childhood home of NC Literary Hall of Fame inductee Wilma Dykeman.

“This is a program not just for writers, but for all of us who live here Asheville,” said UNC Asheville Chancellor Nancy J. Cable. “The Writers-in-Residence Program will allow writers through the spring semester, and summer, and even through the fall, to live in Wilma Dykeman’s original childhood home, located only several miles outside of the city of Asheville. We will bring writers who teach for an entire semester. We will bring writers, particularly during the summer, who may be here only for a weekend or for a week at a time, but having the privilege to live in the house.”

The official press release from UNCA offers extensive quotes from many important people affiliated with the project, and they’re worth a read. In short, the residencies will be interdisciplinary, brief but year-round, sustainable, and tied to a sense of place.

Wilma Dykeman (1920-2006) was elected to the NC Literary Hall of Fame in 1998. A novelist, essayist, and historian, she received a Guggenheim Fellowship and the 1985 North Carolina Award for Literature. She held the honorary title of Tennessee State Historian from 1981 until she died. According to the Wilma Dykeman Legacy, she made “the first full-fledged economic argument against water pollution (seven years before) in her 1955 book The French Broad.”

Although as of right now, no information seems to be available as to when the program might welcome its first writer-in-residence, we’ll be sure to let you know as soon as we have more details.

Hat tip to Wiley Cash, who put this project on our radar when he designated his winnings from the 2022 Southern Book Prize for Fiction for “the creation of the Wilma Dykeman Writer-in-Residence Program at UNC-Asheville to support other writers.”

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Wiley Cash Wins 2022 Southern Book Prize

Congratulations to Wiley Cash, winner of the 2022 Southern Book Prize for Fiction from the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance, for his novel When Ghosts Come Home (William Morrow, 2021).

The Prize, representing Southern bookseller favorites from 2021, is awarded to “the best Southern book of the year” as nominated by Southern indie booksellers and voted on by their customers. Winners were chosen by popular vote from a ballot of finalists in fiction, nonfiction, and children’s literature. Approximately 1,500 ballots were cast making each Southern Book Prize winner a true Southern reader favorite.

Other winners included Graceland, At Last by Margaret Renkl (Nonfiction) and Keep Your Head Up by Aliya King Neil and Charly Palmer, Illustrator (Children’s). Winners receive a donation in their name to the charity or nonprofit of their choice.

North Carolina authors Jaye Robin Brown (The Key to You and Me, Children’s); Alan Gratz (Ground Zero, Children’s); and NCWN Executive Director Ed Southern (Fights Songs, Nonfiction) were on the longlist for this year’s prize.

Fiction winner Wiley Cash said:

“I was honored to have been included among the finalists for this year’s prize, and I cannot express my surprise at having won against such incredible competition, many of whom I know personally and admire as people as much as I admire their work. SIBA has given me so many opportunities to grow as a writer, and I’m excited to know that the funds from this award will go toward the creation of the Wilma Dykeman Writer-in-Residence Program at UNC-Asheville to support other writers.”

The Southern Book Prize, formerly known as the SIBA Book Award, has been awarded annually since 1999. SIBA launched the public ballot in 2019 to encourage stores to engage their customers in the important question of what books deserve to be called “the best Southern book of the year.” For more information, visit the Southern Book Prize home at The Southern Bookseller Review: https://thesouthernbooksellerreview.org/southern-book-prize.

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