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Writers' conference and book baskets

More than 300 writers, editors and literary agents will gather Nov. 20-22 for the North Carolina Writers’ Network Fall Conference.
Registration for this year’s conference, at the Holiday Inn SunSpree Resort in Wrightsville Beach, is now open at the network’s Web site, www.ncwriters.org.
The conference will feature a keynote address by novelist Cassandra King, author of “Queen of Broken Hearts,” “The Same Sweet Girls,” “The Sunday Wife” and “Making Waves.” Her fifth novel, “Bridal Falls,” will be released in 2010. King will speak Friday at 8:30 p.m., followed by a reception and book signing.
More than 30 writers and editors will lead workshops, master classes and panel discussions on topics including finding the form in free verse; how to write how-to books; the fundamentals of screenwriting; the importance of food writing; using dialect; and selling your work to an agent or editor.
The conference will again offer the Manuscript Mart and Critique Service sessions, in which registrants can discuss their unpublished works with book professionals.
The conference will offer a wider range of registration options, including one-day-only and no-meals registrations, allowing writers on a reduced budget to attend part of the conference without paying full fees.
The faculty includes authors Ellyn Bache, Wendy Brenner, Marianne Gingher, Philip Gerard, Peter Makuck and Robert Anthony Siegel.
Emily Smith, director of The Publishing Laboratory at UNC Wilmington, will teach a workshop on what writers should look for in a cover design, and Ben George, editor of UNCW’s literary journal Ecotone, will discuss writing for and submitting to literary magazines.
Agents and editors at the conference will include Peter Steinberg of The Steinberg Agency in New York; Stephen Kirk of John F. Blair, Publisher; David Perry of University of North Carolina Press; Betsy Thorpe of Novello Festival Press; and Kevin Watson of Press 53.
Saturday’s luncheon will feature readings of flash fiction by contributors to the book “Long Story Short: Flash Fiction by Sixty-five of North Carolina’s Finest Writers,” followed by the Network Town Hall Meeting, a chance for members to share their thoughts on the direction and activities of the network.
The banquet on Saturday evening will be accompanied by a musical performance by Philip Gerard, the director of the department of creative writing at UNCW.
Anyone can sign up online, or by calling the Network at 336-293-8844 or 919-251-9140.
Friends baskets for sale
The Friends of the Library are bringing out their annual book baskets for this holiday season. There are more than 500 baskets that will be placed in all branches of the library. The baskets are filled with books and items of every sort and are attractively wrapped. There are gifts for every taste … cookbooks, novels, gardening, crafts, inspiration, sports, humor, pets and many other topics. There are lots of children’s gift bags at excellent prices. New baskets will be brought out weekly until two weeks before Christmas or until baskets are gone.
All funds raised in this project go to support library programs including Stories by the Millstream, summer reading programs and staff scholarships.

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