Archive for the ‘literary’ Category

NC Writers Network to Offer Scholarships to Conference

The Elliott Bowles Screenwriters Scholarship will allow up to four aspiring screenwriters to attend the annual Fall Conference of the North Carolina Writers’ Network from November 2–4

This scholarship will pay for full Fall Conference registration and two nights’ lodging in the conference hotel. Recipients also will receive a one-year membership in the NCW. Any North Carolina resident who has written an unproduced/unoptioned screenplay may apply for the Elliott Bowles Screenwriting Scholarship. The deadline to apply is October 12, 2018.

“The Elliott Bowles Screenwriting Scholarship has been created in remembrance of our son’s screenwriting passion and generous nature,” Beverly Nipper Bowles, Elliott’s mother, said. “This scholarship seeks to lend support to aspiring young screenwriters as they continue to learn and refine their craft, develop connections with industry advisors and production companies, and pursue their dreams in the love of film.”

The nonprfit North Carolina Writers’ Network is the state’s oldest and largest literary arts services organization devoted to all writers, in all genres, at all stages of development. For additional information, visit their website.


Artist Link Project – Arts Access Promotes Accessible Arts & Artists with Disabilities

821364.aa-artist-link-projectby Annie Poslusny

Arts Access recently launched the Artist Link Project – a directory of North Carolina artists, teaching artists, and advocates. Program Coordinator Jennifer Marshburn explains, “The Artists Link Project is primarily designed as a database for artists of all mediums who identify as having a disability, and for arts educators who offer (or wish to offer) inclusive arts programming.” The Artist Link Project will allow the public to search for a unique artist based on a variety of search criteria or to search for teachers of varied art disciplines who welcome all abilities in their programming. Inclusion in the database will enable artists to exhibit and promote their work and fully participate in the cultural and artistic life of our state. To join the database, click here.

“We suggest three broad categories of art form: Visual Arts, Performing Arts and Literary Arts and allow our artists to categorize their work however they see fit.” Marshburn states, “Our current database is populated with 32 artists ranging from painters, photographers, actors, musicians, and writers. All of our artists range in skill level from the Novice or Hobbyist to Professional. The purpose of our program is to support and promote the work of artists who have disabilities and wish to develop in their craft.”

Arts Access also offers monthly opportunities for the group to get together and enjoy cultural events around the Triangle. These events double as a networking opportunity for the artists. Future meetings will include an evening at Imurj’s Just Make Something and a tour of the Museum of Natural Sciences’ current featured exhibit “Race: Are We So Different.” These events are determined based on polling members and venue availability. Check Art Access’s website for more details.

Arts Access, a nonprofit organization based in Raleigh, enables North Carolinians with disabilities to have full access to arts programs and facilities. Arts Access provides audio description, consulting and training services, as well as on online resources on their website which connects individuals, artists, educators and organizations throughout the state. To learn more about Art Access’s programs, click here.

Annie Poslusny is an art history major and interior design/studio arts minor at Meredith College. She enjoys drawing and creating three-dimensional works of art, writing, and research.

New “Read Local Festival” connects and celebrates Triangle’s “literary ecosystem”.

By Taryn Oesch

The Triangle is known for its dedication to eating local and shopping local, with such events as food truck rallies, farmers markets, and Restaurant Week becoming staples of our local culture. Now, thanks to group of dedicated volunteers, the Triangle will also be reading local.

PrintThe Triangle is home to an abundance of literary talent, and its literary culture is only improving, says Elizabeth Turnbull, local author, senior editor of Light Messages Publishing, and organizer of the new Read Local Book Festival. She uses the term “local literary ecosystem” to describe the Triangle’s literary arts scene, and the phrase is apt.  An ecosystem is a community of interdependent groups living in cooperation with each other. Certainly, this description fits our local literary ecosystem, and the Read Local Book Festival is an excellent example.

While many other state and national book festivals may only involve one publisher or bookseller, Read Local avoids competition by inviting all local vendors to participate. The festival is completely volunteer-led; even the authors are attending free of charge. Many of the events are free and the proceeds from those are being donated to the Durham Library Foundation. As Elizabeth points out, a community library, as the place where all members of the local literary ecosystem come together, is the perfect partner of a “read local” book festival.

The idea to create the Read Local Festival came from Elizabeth.  As an editor, she wanted a way to be able to really connect with her local authors – sometimes a difficult task at a small press like Light Messages. The term “Read Local” came from one of her authors. It started as a broad campaign and then they decided to create a small festival. Elizabeth gathered together a group of librarians, nationally bestselling authors, small publishers, and community volunteers, and soon this small festival grew into a two-day event to be held May 16-17. That kind of growth is “what happens when you get a group of brilliant people together,” she says. Events include workshops, panel discussions, an exhibitor fair, celebrity readings, lightning readings by emerging authors, an “Author Buffet,” and – the grand finale – “Writers in the Ring,” a boxing-themed “write-off” complete with audience jeering and cheering.  Find out who is coming, so far,  here.

Members of the local literary ecosystem, such as publishers, booksellers, designers, and artists, can apply online to participate in events or in the exhibitor fair. A full exhibitor table is $100, and half a table is $50 (again, proceeds go to the Durham County Library).

If, like me, you are excited by the thought of becoming a more integral member of the local literary ecosystem, sign up for email updates or to volunteer at the festival. There are opportunities for everybody, and the volunteer sign-up form not only allows you to select which days and times are best for you, but will tailor your volunteer shift(s) based on your interests. (For example, if you really want a volunteer role that will enable you to interact with the authors, you can say so!) If you have any questions about volunteering, email Elise Sharpe, the festival’s volunteer coordinator..

Do you tweet? Facebook? Share the event with your friends and followers! And of course, one of the easiest ways you can support the festival and your local literary ecosystem is to show up. Come to a workshop on graphic novels or a panel on writing about music, buy tickets for the Author Buffet and meet your favorite local authors, or come to Sunday’s free exhibitor fair to learn more about ecosystem members and get some swag (free in exchange for a donation to the Durham Library Foundation)! You can also contribute financially by sponsoring the event or donating online.

Aside from the Read Local Book Festival, Elizabeth and her team are working on other ways to build the “read local” movement in the Triangle and beyond. (Stay tuned for a Cookbook Rodeo!) For instance, Elizabeth wants to create a booklet to share her experience and advice for people in other towns who want to create similar “read local” festivals. She encourages everyone to “read local” by going to local booksellers and asking what local authors and presses they represent. In fact, she expands the definition of “local” and recommends doing the same when you visit another town, state, or even country: It “gives you a depth of understanding and richness you wouldn’t have otherwise.” It’s like reading Huckleberry Finn while traveling the Mississippi or perusing the poems of William Wordsworth when visiting England’s Lake District.

Taryn Oesch is a freelance writer and long-time Raleigh resident, graduating from Wakefield High School in 2006 and Meredith College in 2010. She enjoys volunteering for The Justice Theater Project and organizations that support children and teens with chronic illness and disabilities. In her free time, she plays the piano, spoils her godchildren, and battles for apartment space with her uncontrollable collection of books.


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Carolina Wren Press establishes Lee Smith Prize

by Sarah Hager

The Triangle has always supported (and produced) great writers, but one Triangle-based publisher is taking it one step further. Chapel Hill-based Carolina Wren Press has established the Lee Smith Prize to be awarded to a novel by an author from, living in, or writing about the American South.  The author chosen for the inaugural Lee Smith Novel Prize receives an award of $1,000 and publication of one novel.  The biennial prize seeks to find and promote novelists who can explore and expand the definition of southern literature.

The Press, originally founded in 1976 by Judy Hogan, has positioned itself as having a deep local base and providing a home for quality southern literature. It also provides opportunities for works by authors “traditionally underrepresented in mainstream publishing, such as women, southerners, people of color, and talented midlist authors looking for new publishing homes.” The company runs as an independent nonprofit and is known for their support of Triangle writers and poets, from publishing and promotion to bringing more literary events to the local community.

In establishing this prize, Carolina Wren Press combined their passion for helping authors and southern literature with honoring a prominent author in the genre, teacher Lee Smith. The prize, named in Smith’s honor, aims to inspire both local and national writers to create or find a niche for their current unpublished works.

“Lee Smith has been such an unfailingly gracious, giving, and supportive mentor and influence for so many other writers and readers both here in the South and around the country that we felt it was time there was a major publication prize named for her,” Robin Miura, co-director of Carolina Wren Press, said. “She is interested in exploring the ways that the South has changed and is continually changing—how that affects those of us from this region and those coming to this region—and that is something we are also excited to explore.  We are thrilled and honored that Lee Smith has agreed to lend us not only her name, but also her wholehearted support for this prize.”

The first winner of the Lee Smith Novel Prize will be chosen next year and the first novel will be published in 2015.  This prize is open to local, regional, national, and even international authors as long as there is a connection in the work to the American South. Submissions will be accepted electronically until November 30, 2013.  More information on how to submit and requirements are on Carolina Wren Press’ website. Only electronic submissions will be considered.  For the Lee Smith Novel Prize, board members will read submissions blindly.  The editorial board will then vote to choose a winner to be published.

“Contests are a great way to level the playing field so that experienced and emerging writers can all throw their hats into the same ring and have an equal chance at being published,” Mirua said. “We are completely open to reading works by new and unknown writers and are hoping we will find new and exciting voices in southern literature through this prize.”

Operating on a shoestring, donations and a grant-funded budget, Carolina Wren Press welcomes support to help get the Lee Smith Novel Prize off the ground.  If Triangle arts supporters and friends would like to honor Lee Smith with a tax-deductible gift to support the prize, they can send a check to Carolina Wren Press, 120 Morris St., Durham, NC 27701, or they can donate online.

For more information about Carolina Wren Press and the Lee Smith Prize, you can visit their websiteFacebook, or Twitter.

Sarah Hager is a graduate of N.C. State University and currently works in marketing. She DJs at WKNC 88.1 and is enthusiastic about North Carolina’s music scene. In her free time, she enjoys going to shows, reading and playing guitar. You can follow Sarah on Twitter  or email her.