NCWN-West Writing Conference, Saturday May 6, 2017


Mark Saturday, May 6, 2017, 9:00 AM to- 4:30 PM, on your calendar now for A Day for Writers. This is a one day conference sponsored by the North Carolina Writers' Network-West and the Jackson County Public Library, in Sylva, NC at the library, 310 Keener St. Sylva, NC 28779.

Members of NCWN and NCWN-West will have the opportunity to register at a discounted price. Check back for more information in the coming weeks.

Content for the event will include: Poetry, Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, YA and Children's Writing, Marketing and Publishing, something for all writers.

We are delighted that the first woman Poet Laureate of North Carolina, Kathryn Stripling Byer, widely published and highly praised member of NCWN-West, will teach a two-hour workshop at A Day for Writers, Saturday, May 6, 2017.

Byer’s poetry, prose, and fiction have appeared widely, including Hudson Review, Poetry, The Atlantic, Georgia Review, Shenandoah, and Southern Poetry Review. Often anthologized, her work has also been featured online, where she maintains the blogs "Here, Where I Am," and "The Mountain Woman." Her body of work was discussed along with that of Charles Wright, Robert Morgan, Fred Chappell, Jeff Daniel Marion, and Jim Wayne Miller in Six Poets from the Mountain South, by John Lang, published by LSU Press. Her first book of poetry, The Girl in the Midst of the Harvest, was published in the AWP Award Series in 1986, followed by the Lamont (now Laughlin) prize-winning Wildwood Flower, from LSU Press.

Byer's subsequent collections have been published in the LSU Press Poetry Series, receiving various awards, including the Hanes Poetry Award from the Fellowship of Southern Writers, the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance Poetry Award, and the Roanoke-Chowan Award. She served for five years as North Carolina's first woman poet laureate. She lives in the mountains of western North Carolina with her husband and three dogs.

Ms. Byers workshop topic will be: "Lifelines: letting another poet's work help us revitalize ours". In this workshop, each participant will each bring a copy of a poem by a poet whose work they admire (even envy) and a poem of theirs that needs to be energized, and to greater or lesser degree, re-evaluated in terms of its poetic elements. The poems to which we return over and over again have clues that can help us transform a struggling poem into a fully realized one. Please bring 12 copies of each of the two poems.

Other presenters include: Terry Kay, novelist and short story writer, Catherine Carter, Poet, Glenda C. Beall, poet, writer and teacher, Tara Lynne Groth, freelance writer and journalist,  Deanna Klingel, author of Young Adult and Children's Literature,and Gary Carden, playwright, storyteller and author.

Terry Kay, a 2006 inductee into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame, has been a sports writer and film/theater reviewer (Atlanta Journal-Constitution), a public relations executive, and a corporate officer. He is the author of 17 published works, including The King Who Made Paper Flowers, Song of the Vagabond Bird, The Greats of Cuttercane, Bogmeadow's Wish, The Book of Marie, To Dance With the White Dog, The Valley of Light, Taking Lottie Home, The Kidnapping of Aaron Greene, Shadow Song, The Runaway, Dark Thirty, After Eli, and The Year the Lights Came On, as well as a book of essays, Special K: The Wisdom of Terry Kay, and two children's books, The Seventh Mirror and To Whom the Angel Spoke.

Mr. Kay's topics will be: “The Things Dr. Epps Didn’t Teach Me” (addresses basic writing techniques) and "Questions and Considerations, Issues that Writers might have that go beyond the typing of words".The first session will address basic writing techniques Kay describes as the DNA of writing. In this session he will share his experiences in the practical application of writing, such as the value of rhythm, the imperative power of verbs, the sense of voice, and some smoke and mirror tricks that work. To explain the title, Dr. Epps was a professor of English and literature and LaGrange College. Kay adored her, but has to confess that he didn’t learn a lot about writing from her, because, like many instructors, she taught a lot of theory.

The second session will be some of a free-for-all, inviting questions/comments from attendees, but it will also address such issues as outlining for plot, identifying intrusions in a story, dialogue, character development — in short anything that a writer might encounter. Kay calls it Questions and Considerations rather than Questions and Answers because he does not believe there are any ‘fixed’ answers for most of the issues that writers face; rather, there are many possibilities.

Catherine Carter, poet and teacher at Western Carolina University, will be a presenter at the conference giving us two of the finest poets in the region.
Born on the eastern shore of Maryland and raised there by wolves and vultures, Catherine Carter lives with her husband in Cullowhee, near Western Carolina University, where she teaches in the English Education and Professional Writing programs. Her most recent full-length collection is The Swamp Monster at Home (LSU, 2012); her first, The Memory of Gills (LSU, 2006) received the 2007 Roanoke-Chowan Award from the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association. Her chapbook Marks of the Witch won Jacar Press’ 2014 chapbook contest; other awards include the 2013 poetry award from Still: The Journal, the 2014 Poet Laureate’s award from the North Carolina Poetry Society, placing twice in the Asheville Poetry Review’s annual William Matthews Prize poetry contests, and several Pushcart Prize nominations. Her work has also appeared in Best American Poetry 2009, Orion, Poetry, North Carolina Literary Review, Asheville Poetry Review, Tar River Review, and Ploughshares, among others. She does editorial work for Cider Press Review and One.

Ms. Carter's topic will be: “ Free Verse Isn’t’: Sound and Structure in Free Forms”. Lewis Turco, among others, has remarked that free verse isn’t free. Writing in free verse, we still make choices. Strong free verse has organizing principles, structure that works to reinforce its content, well-chosen line breaks, and sonic devices, even though these are sometimes less visible than in formal verse. Led by Catherine Carter, participants will explore some tightly crafted free verse poems to illuminate the author’s choices. If time permits, participants will also have the opportunity to write and share some free verse which makes use of the some of the devices we discuss and will receive handouts to take home to encourage further experimentation with subtle structure.

Glenda Beall has been writing for as long as she can remember. She wrote stories about horses when she was a child. She began writing poetry in high school after a teacher suggested she submit one of her poems to a magazine.

In 1996, after moving to Hayesville, NC, she became a student of Nancy Simpson, poet, at the John C. Campbell Folk School. Since that time she has published many poems in numerous journals and reviews, both traditional and online. Her poems have also been published in a number of anthologies. Beall is a multi-genre writer and has published nonfiction and fiction in Reunion Magazine, Breath and Shadow, Living with Loss and in several online journals. Some links to her published work can be found on a page of her blog: 

Glenda Beall is owner of Writers Circle around the Table, where she invites outstanding poets and writers to teach at her studio. She teaches memoir writing for senior adults at Tri-County Community College in Murphy, NC and at Writers Circle.She served as Program Coordinator for North Carolina Writers' Network West in 2007 - 2009 and serves as a Clay County Representative for the organization now. She is also volunteer Coordinator of the Representatives of NCWN West. 

Ms. Beall's topic will be: "What is a memoir? Where do we begin"? Is the thought of writing about your life overwhelming ? Do we begin with the day we were born? In this class we will take away your fear, anxiety, mystery, and mental block about writing your life stories. Learn a simple way to write the true stories you want to tell.

Tara Lynne Groth magazine articles have appeared for more than a decade in magazines and newspapers. She has written for trade and consumer publications including GRIT, Produce Business, Blue Ridge Country, Durham News and more. Tara Lynne is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors, an invitation-only network of just over 1,000 independent working writers. She has made her living entirely by the pen since 2010. Her blog breaks down misconceptions about freelance life.

Ms. Groth's topic will be: "Why Authors Need Bylines in Magazines and How to Make That Happen". Authors are responsible for their own marketing, and part of that is building credibility. Authors who focus entirely on writing books miss out ways to reach new audiences for their books. Freelance journalism is a writing opportunity authors already have the skills for. This session focuses on how an author's bylines in magazines and newspapers can help attract literary agents, grow their writer platform, aid in book marketing, craft a perfect query letter, build authority, and produce income. Writers need not have prior freelance journalism experience to benefit from this session.

Deanna Klingel

Ms. Klingel's topic will be: "The Merry Go Round of Children's Literature". Klingel will discuss how to recognize the types of children's literature, the myths about writing for children, and the writing process for Child Lit and how it differs for each kind of Child Lit. She will also cover working with illustrators and finding the proper publisher for your work. Klingel will go over questions to ask your publisher before signing the contract , and will address how to market Child Lit. 

Klingel writes primarily, not exclusively, for young adult readers. She has thirteen books published and others in the queue. In addition, one of the picture books is also in Spanish, and there are teacher/classroom study guides for two historical fictions. Many of the books have received recognitions and awards. Two of her short stories were contest winners. She's a member of SCBWI, ACFW, Catholic Writers Guild, and NCWN. She blogs twice a week at, and travels with her books across the South and beyond, appearing at schools, museums, and events. Her books are widely distributed and are available wherever books are sold.

After a long career that included fifteen years as a literature and drama teacher, Gary Carden is now a full-time storyteller. He is the author of Mason Jars in the Flood, a collection of stories which won the Appalachian Writers Association Book of the Year prize. Carden's earlier collection of stories, Belled Buzzards, Hucksters and Grieving Spirits, was co-authored with Nina Anderson. He was the narrator of and "chief inspiration," according to Neal Hutcheson, for the 2005 PBS documentary "Mountain Talk", and collaborated with Tom Davenport on From the Brothers Grimm: A Contemporary Retelling of American Folktales and Classic Stories. He has taught at the Highlands and Lake Junaluska Elderhostels for more than twenty years.

Carden is also an award-winning playwright whose one act and dramatic works have been produced throughout the South and across the country. His plays, including The Raindrop Waltz, Land's End, and Birdell are based upon his stories. His play The Prince of Dark Corners is based on the life of the outlaw Major Lewis Redmond and is now a film featured on PBS. Carden's most recent play, Outlander, is about the creation of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and premiered at the Parkway Playhouse in 2012.

In recent years, Carden has taken up painting as another medium for sharing stories. Among the many other awards he has received is the 2006 Brown-Hudson Award from the North Carolina Folklore Society and the 2012 North Carolina Award for Literature. Carden has an honorary doctorate from Western Carolina University for his work in storytelling and folklore. 

Mr. Carden's topic: "Folk Drama". Mr. Carden will discuss folk drama and its origin at Chapel Hill and his exposure to folk drama at Western Carolina Teacher's College, in Josefina Niggli's classes. He will end his presentation with a discussion of how his work defines the purpose of folk drama as defined by Paul Green and Fred Koch. The folk drama movement used theater as a means of defining North Carolina history and folklore.

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