New creative writing program at UNCA to make its debut this summer

From UNC Asheville News Services:

“Write Now,” a new creative writing program for high school students, debuts this summer at UNC Asheville. “Write Now” offers each participating student experience in different styles of writing – fiction, creative non-fiction and poetry – under the tutelage of three of Asheville’s finest writers. “Write Now” will be held weekdays, June 18-29, from 10 a.m.-3 p.m., on UNC Asheville’s campus.

Students will have workshops each day with novelist Tommy Hays, freelance writer and memoirist Janet Hurley, and poet Sebastian Matthews. All three are experienced instructors and part of UNC Asheville’s Great Smokies Writing Program. Students will participate in discussion, activities and exercises, share and critique each others’ writing, and read works on writers’ craft.

Tommy Hays, executive director of the Great Smokies Writing Program, will lead workshops in fiction. Hays will guide young writers in creating two stories, tapping into the settings they know and their own life experiences as sources of material. He will also discuss how writers create sufficient distance to separate real life from the fiction they invent. Hays is author of a forthcoming young adult novel, “What I Came to Tell You.” He is best known for prior novels, “In the Family Way” (Random House, 1999), a Book-of-the-Month Club selection and winner of the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award, and “The Pleasure Was Mine” (St. Martin’s Press, 2005).

Hurley will lead sessions on creative non-fiction, including memoirs, magazine-writing, and explorations of historical events. The first week will focus on exercises and activities as well as discussions of ethics and craft. During the second week, students will produce and workshop one complete creative non-fiction work. Hurley is a teaching artist in Asheville City Schools and is founding director of True Ink, which provides creative programming for young writers. She is publisher and editor of, an online literary and arts magazine for teens.

Matthews will use craft handbooks and his own exercises to guide students through a variety of poetic styles, voices and forms, including haiku, persona poems, found poetry and free verse. Each student will create a small chapbook of their own poems. Matthews is the author of the poetry collection, “We Generous” (Red Hen Press, 2007), and the memoir, “In My Father’s Footsteps” (W.W. Norton, 2004). He edits Rivendell, a place-based literary journal, and his prose has appeared in Atlantic Monthly and many other journals.

“Write Now” is a program of the Asheville Graduate Center at UNC Asheville. The session fee is $445 and includes course instruction, materials, required books, and lunch each day. For more information and to register, visit or contact Nancy Williams at 828/250-2353 or


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