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NC Writers’ spring event to feature Fred Chappell

GREENSBORO — The North Carolina Writers’ Network will host its 2017 Spring Conference on Saturday, April 22, in the MHRA Building and Curry Auditorium on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Registration is now open at www.ncwriters.org.

Julie Funderburk will lead the master class in poetry, “A Poem that Sings.” Her debut poetry collection, “The Door that Always Opens,” was published by LSU Press in 2016. A teacher in the creative writing program at Queens University, Charlotte, she is a graduate of the MFA program in creative writing at UNCG, where Fred Chappell was one of her professors.

Chappell, North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame inductee,  will give the keynote address. The former poet laureate of North Carolina, his newest book is a fantasy novel, “A Shadow All of Light.” He taught for 40 years at UNCG.

Lee Zacharias, who will lead the master class in creative nonfiction, “The Art of Structuring Personal Nonfiction,” taught at UNCG herself for 33 years. An NEA and NC Arts Council Fellow, her newest book is a collection of essays, “The Only Sounds We Make.”

Another Queens University faculty member, David Payne, will lead the master class in fiction, “Acting Out on the Page.” The New York Times Notable author of five novels and a 2015 memoir, “Barefoot to Avalon, A Brother’s Story, “the The Dallas Morning News called him “the most gifted American novelist of his generation.”

Fiction writers can choose “Flash Fiction: Sometimes Less Is More” with Steve Cushman, whose new novel “Hopscotch” is coming soon or “The Mystery of Plot in Fiction” led by James Tate Hill, whose novel “Academy Gothic” won the Nilsen Prize for a First Novel. Writers for children can sign up for “Exercising the Imagination,” led by John Claude Bemis, N.C.’s Piedmont Laureate for Children’s Literature.

On the slate for poets? “Poetic Architects: Building Poems Editors Publish” with Crystal Simone Smith, poet and publisher of Backbone Press; and “Documenting Life through Poetry” with Barbara Presnell, whose “Piece Work” documents the textile industry in North Carolina and won the Cleveland State University Poetry Center’s First Book Prize.

Nonfiction writers can choose “Asking the 5 Hard Questions: Revising Memoir” with Melissa Delbridge, whose memoir “Family Bible” (University of Iowa Press, 2008) evolved from essays written during her fellowship at Duke University’s John Hope Franklin Center for Interdisciplinary and International Studies.

Attendees wanting business guidance, including self-publishing and promotion, can register for Russell Hatler and Nikki Brate’s “Social Media for Self-Published Authors” and “Big, Medium, Small, or Self?” a class on self-publishing led by Edmund R. Schubert, who was head editor of the online, bi-monthly magazine InterGalactic Medicine Show for 10 years.

NCWN also will host its third annual “Slush Pile Live!” Like last year, poetry and prose will be read aloud in two rooms in front of panels of editors and publishers who will raise their hands as soon as they hear something in the pieces that would make them stop reading if they came across the submission in a slush pile. Many attendees have commented how much they learn in this hour of rapid-fire tidbits of wisdom and common sense.

Familiar features remain, including faculty readings, an open mic for conference participants, an exhibit hall packed with publishers and literary organizations, and “Lunch with an Author,” in which conference-goers can spend less time waiting in line and more time talking with the author of their choice. Spaces in “Lunch with an Author” are limited and are first-come, first-served. Preregistration and an additional fee are required for this offering.

Spring Conference is sponsored in part by The MFA in Creative Writing Program at UNCG, which will provide free parking for registrants in the Oakland Avenue Parking Deck, across Forest Street from the MHRA Building (behind Yum Yum Better Ice Cream and Old Town Draught House). Other sponsors include 88.5 FM WFDD: Public Radio for the Piedmont and the North Carolina Arts Council.

Pre-registration closes April 16. Attendees can register at www.ncwriters.org.

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