Local writers will have the opportunity to hone their skills with UNC Asheville's Great Smokies Writing Program (GSWP) workshops in fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry. Classes will be offered in community locations in Asheville, Hendersonville, Black Mountain and Burnsville. Classes range from five to 15 weeks.
Making The Big Dipper: Poems In Sequence with Tina Barr – Like the stars in the constellation, a group of poems can create a greater whole than the sum of smaller parts. This workshop for those with all levels of experience will include writing of interlaced poems on family, epistolary poems (or letter poems) assuming a persona, and ekphrastic poems based on paintings or photographs supplied by the instructor. Reading sequences of poems, including work by William Wright and Natasha Trethewey, participants will discover ideas and strategies for sequences of poems. Barr’s five poetry volumes include The Gathering Eye (Tupelo Press Editor’s Award) and Kaleidoscope, as well as three chapbooks, all winners of chapbook competitions. Class meets for 10 weeks beginning Sept. 19, Mondays, 1-3:30 p.m., at the Black Mountain Center for the Arts, 225 W. State St., Black Mountain.
Writing between the Borders: Investigations into Hybrid Work, A Poetry Workshop with Nickole Brown – The uncharted space between the genres is the focus of this course that will study experiments in literature – prose poetry, novels-in-verse, and hybrid work – for a deeper understanding of what’s possible. Both an intensive literature and a creative writing course, participants will explore texts as readers and try their hand at writing their own cross-genre work. Required texts: Bluets by Maggie Nelson and Other Electricities by Ander Monson. Brown’s books include Sister, a novel-in-poems, and Fanny Says. She was the editorial assistant for the late Hunter S. Thompson. Class meets for 10 weeks beginning Sept. 13, Tuesdays, 6-8:30 p.m., at Spellbound Children's Bookshop, 640 Merrimon Ave., Asheville.
Telling the Truth Slanted: Writing History in Fiction with Katherine Scott Crawford – For writers of all levels, this course will explore the ways in which we can make history come alive in our fiction, all while staying true to both history and the story. It will consider the origins of historical fiction, the work of masterful historical novelists, and the genre's place in the literary canon. The workshop will emphasize place, character development and research, as participants work to create vivid historical fiction. Crawford, the author of the historical novel Keowee Valley, is a teacher, newspaper columnist and essayist, now at work on a novel set during the Civil War. Class meets for 10 weeks beginning Sept. 13, Tuesdays, 6-8:30 p.m., at Novels & Novelties Bookstore, 408 N. Main St., Hendersonville.
Writing as Healing: A Creative Prose Workshop with Abigail DeWitt – For those who have experienced a life-changing trauma or are simply dealing with the ordinary stresses of everyday life, certain kinds of writing can have a profoundly positive effect on the overall sense of well-being. This course will explore a wide variety of writing techniques designed to bring access to participants’ own capacity for healing. The techniques are beneficial for everyone – published authors, beginning writers, and non-writers alike. DeWitt is the author of two novels, Lili and Dogs, and is currently working on a collection of short stories. She is the recipient of a 2016 Artist Fellowship from the North Carolina Arts Council, as well as a Michener Fellowship. Class meets for 10 weeks beginning Sept. 13, Tuesdays, 6-8:30 p.m., at RiverLink, 170 Lyman St., Asheville.
A Beginner Begins: Creative Prose Workshop Primer with Jordan Dolfi – For those who want to explore the issues, opportunities and challenges of becoming a writer without adding pressure and stress to an already-busy life, this short course will offer a supportive environment to learn the basics of writing and critiquing fiction or creative non-fiction in a workshop setting. Dolfi, a lifelong writer who has provided feedback and editing for writers as program associate at the university’s Asheville Graduate Center, earned a Master of Liberal Arts and Sciences at UNC Asheville with a concentration in creative writing. Class meets for five weeks beginning Oct. 12, Wednesdays, 6-8:30 p.m., at Spellbound Children's Bookshop, 640 Merrimon Ave., Asheville.
Your Next – and Next – Essay: Finding and Bending Form in Creative Nonfiction with Christine Hale – Participants in this workshop will create at least one piece of short creative nonfiction and begin revision of that piece. Although no one will be discouraged from writing memoir, the territory of this class expands to invite exploration of any material that is fact- or observation-based and/or driven by personal experience or insight. Discussion and readings will center on contemporary, non-traditional forms of creative nonfiction. Hale is the author of A Piece of Sky, A Grain of Rice: A Memoir in Four Meditations. Her debut novel, Basil’s Dream, received honorable mention in the 2010 Library of Virginia Literary Awards. Class meets for 10 weeks beginning Sept. 12, Mondays, 6-8:30 p.m. at RiverLink, 170 Lyman St., Asheville.
Time To Write: A Critique for Creative Prose with Vicki Lane – In this critique class for intermediate and advanced writers, each student will have two pieces (each one 18 double-spaced pages or less) critiqued by the group and thoroughly line edited by the facilitator. These pieces can be parts of a novel, short stories, essays, bits of a memoir – any fiction or creative non-fiction. Instructor’s permission required. Lane is the author of the Elizabeth Goodweather mystery series from Bantam Dell: Signs in the Blood, Art’s Blood, Old Wounds, In a Dark Season, and Under the Skin, as well as a standalone, The Day of Small Things. Class meets for 10 weeks beginning Sept. 14, Wednesdays, 6-8:30 p.m. at the Thomas Wolfe Memorial, 52 N. Market St., Asheville.
The Art of the Dispatch: Creative Nonficton Workshop with Sebastian Matthews – At the heart of all creative nonfiction lies the act of witness. In this class, participants will read, write and workshop short pieces emerging out of day-to-day experience. In the process, through a series of exercises, the class will practice the art of observation, description, dialogue, scene making and writing about place. Readings include works by Eula Biss, Claudia Rankine, David Abram, Ross Gay, Annie Dillard, Jon Anderson, Maggie Nelson, Verlyn Klinkenborg, Tim O’Brien, Joan Didion, Tejú Cole, Geoff Dyer, Leslie Jamison, Fabio Morábito and Ta-Nehesi Coates. Instructor’s permission required. Matthews is the author of a memoir, In My Father's Footsteps, and two books of poems, We Generous and Miracle Day. Class meets for 10 weeks beginning Sept. 14, Wednesdays, 6-8:30 p.m. at Roots & Wings School of Art, 573 Fairview Rd., Asheville.
Heart of the Story: Writing for Children Fiction Workshop with Joy Neaves and Cynthia Surrisi – This workshop is designed for serious writers who are working on a longer piece of fiction intended for children or young adults. Weekly class discussions will cover topics ranging from aspects of craft to ways to approach editors and agents. The course emphasis will be on reading and critiquing each other's work, as well as revision-focused strategies to evaluate one’s own work critically. Co-taught by a children’s book editor and a middle grade/young adult author, the supportive workshop atmosphere focuses on distilling the narrative arc to find the core of the story while fostering the heart of the writer’s aims. Neaves, formerly an editor for Front Street, is a freelance editor of children’s books at namelos. Surrisi’s debut novel The Maypop Kidnapping, is the first in the middle grade series The Quinnie Boyd Mysteries. She also has a picture book scheduled for publication next year. Class meets for 10 weeks beginning Sept. 15, Thursdays, 6-8:30 p.m. at Spellbound Children's Bookshop, 640 Merrimon Ave., Asheville.
Writing a Memoir: Finding the Themes, Shaping the Scenes with Catherine Reid – Keeping in mind that memoir differs from autobiography in that one focuses on themes, while the other chronicles a life, this class will explore ways to claim and shape personal narratives, digging below the immediate experiences to find the themes that lie beneath them. The class will use a combination of activities and undertake several different forms (a braided essay, a lyric essay, an essay that attaches an aspect of one’s life to some larger social or cultural moment) in order to hone the craft elements that make for meaningful work. Reid is the author of two works of nonfiction: Coyote: Seeking the Hunter in Our Midst and Falling into Place: An Intimate Geography of Home (listed as one of “ten books to pick up now” by O, The Oprah Magazine). Class meets for 10 weeks beginning Sept. 14, Wednesdays, 4-6:30 p.m.at the Mountain Heritage Center, 113 Green Mountain Dr., Burnsville.
Prose Master Class with Elizabeth Lutyens – The Prose Master Class is a next step for those who are looking for an intensive writing and critiquing experience. This small–group workshop is limited to experienced writers who are working on an ongoing project: a collection of essays or stories, a novel, a memoir. If the work is new, the writer should have at least sixty pages ready to submit for three critiques during the 15-week semester. Each class begins with a craft session requiring outside reading, sometimes led by a student wishing to share his/her examination of an aspect of craft, or with a writing exercise to practice craft elements and inspire new approaches to ongoing projects. A focus for this semester will be scenework. However, the emphasis is on the review of student work, which includes extensive and in-depth comments from the instructor. Instructor’s permission required. A former journalist, Lutyens is the editor in chief of The Great Smokies Review, the online literary magazine published by UNC Asheville’s Great Smokies Writing Program. Class meets for 15 weeks beginning Aug. 30, Tuesdays, 6-8:30 p.m. at Asheville School, 360 Asheville School Rd., Asheville.
The Great Smokies Writing Program is committed to providing the community with affordable university-level classes taught by professional writers. For in-state residents, five-week courses cost $152.50; 10-week courses cost $305; 15-week courses cost $457.50. The costs are higher for out-of-state residents. A $20 non-refundable application fee for new students also is required. For more information or to register, visit unca.edu/gswp or call 828.250.2353.