UNC Asheville’s Great Smokies Writing Program announces spring 2018 classes

Press release from UNC Asheville: 

UNC Asheville’s Great Smokies Writing Program (GSWP) will present 13 workshops this spring – fiction, memoir, poetry, the business aspects of writing, and courses focusing on writing as healing and as life planning – taught by some of Western North Carolina’s finest authors. Classes will be offered in many community locations in Asheville, and in Black Mountain, Brevard and Burnsville. Classes range from five to 15 weeks.

Story Medicine for Aging: A Creative Writing Workshop with Meta Commerse – In this class, participants will remember and return to their roots in search of the wise voice of aging. Contemplating the role of elders, and examples of how that role has been played, participants will reflect, discuss, study, write and re-write the aging script using the modality Commerse calls “story medicine.” Commerse, author of the novel The Mending Time, was founding director of Story Medicine Asheville, and is now CEO of Story Medicine Worldwide. She has taught at Haywood Community College, Wright College (City Colleges of Chicago) and East-West University. Class meets for five weeks beginning March 14, Wednesdays, 2-4:30 p.m., at West Asheville Garden Retreat and Sanctuary, 20 Beverly Rd. West, Asheville.

Riding the Wings of Pegasus: Poetry as Solace with Tina Barr –This course will present poems by many writers that uplift and connect with a sense of presence, through humor, beauty, terror, celebration, reverence and compassion. These works, and a series of optional exercises, will help produce inspired writing by participants. Barr’s third full-length book, Green Target, won the 2017 Barrow Street Press Book Prize and is forthcoming in October 2018. Poems from that book have been published in Alaska Quarterly Review, American Book Review, Atlanta Review, Crab Orchard Review, The Gettysburg Review, Hanging Loose, Louisiana Literature, Texas Review, and elsewhere. Class meets for 10 weeks beginning Feb. 19, Mondays, 1-3:30 p.m., at Black Mountain Center for the Arts, 225 W. State St., Black Mountain.

Ostranenie: Poetry as Practice of Awareness with Nickole Brown – “Ostranenie,”a Russian term used in literature translated as “defamiliarization,” is defined as “the technique of forcing the audience to see common things in an unfamiliar or strange way, in order to enhance perception of the familiar.” This course, intended for writers at all levels, will attempt to refresh the senses with a deep practice of awareness and an unflinching dedication to scrubbing away one’s preconceived notions of a thing in order to see it for what it really is. Brown’s books include Sister, a novel-in-poems, and Fanny Says, a biography-in-poems. She was the editorial assistant for the late Hunter S. Thompson. Class meets for 10 weeks beginning Feb. 21, Wednesdays, 6-8:30 p.m., at Thomas Wolfe Memorial, 52 North Market Street, Asheville.

Healing Perspectives: A Creative Prose Workshop with Abigail DeWitt – Whether reckoning with the ordinary stresses of everyday life or dealing with a major life challenge, certain kinds of writing can have a profoundly positive effect on the sense of well-being. This workshop will employ exercises allowing participants to experience both memory and the present moment in new ways, to take control of their own life stories. DeWitt is the author of three novels, Lili, Dogs, and News of Our Loved Ones, forthcoming from HarperCollins. Class meets for 10 weeks beginning Feb. 20, Tuesdays, 6-8:30 p.m., at Thomas Wolfe Memorial, 52 North Market Street, Asheville.

Finishing that Memoir: How To Start, Structure and Conclude Your Story, with Christine Hale – This class provides a way to continue or begin work on a memoir, with instruction, examples, and a friendly push toward finishing a fascinating true-life story, using a variety of techniques for priming memory’s sometimes balky pump. Participants will share writing with the goal of helping each other recognize and develop the emerging themes and narrative arcs. Hale is the author of A Piece of Sky, A Grain of Rice: A Memoir in Four Meditations, and the novel Basil’s Dream. Class meets for 10 weeks beginning Feb. 19, Mondays, 6-8:30 p.m. at RiverLink, 170 Lyman Street, Asheville.

Wordplay: To Get You in the Mood for Writing with Vicki Lane – This no-stress, no-guilt workshop is intended for writers who may not be ready to commit to a lengthy work, but want to reignite the flame of creativity. “Wordplay” will employ a wildly varied set of prompts, adaptable to ideas participants may already have, and based on different ways to tell a story. 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 Feb. 20, Tuesdays, 6-8:30 p.m. at RiverLink, 170 Lyman Street, Asheville.

Writing for Children and Young Readers with Linda Lowery – Through exercises and prompts, participants will focus on finding their authentic voices and the reading levels that best suit their work in fiction and creative nonfiction. Topics will include: how words and art interact; practical insights into publishing; and how not to preach or “dumb down” the story for this very bright, intuitive audience. Lowery is a New York Times bestselling author of 65 fiction and nonfiction books for young readers published by Random House, Scholastic and others, with many named to Best Books of the Year lists. Class meets for 10 weeks beginning Feb. 21, Wednesdays, 4-6:30 p.m. at Hanger Hall School for Girls, 64 W.T. Weaver Boulevard, Asheville.

Transforming Fallibility into Art: A Memoir Workshop with Jennifer McGaha – Creating art from mistakes requires a writer to dive deeply into the psyche to explore underlying hopes, fears, and motivations, to discover the story beneath the story and place one’s actions in a larger context. Designed for writers of all levels, this workshop will include short readings and generative exercises designed to bring those hidden truths to the surface, with extensive written feedback from the instructor on all submissions. McGaha is the author of the memoir, Flat Broke with Two Goats, and her writing has also appeared in The Huffington Post and The Chronicle of Higher Education. Class meets for 10 weeks beginning Feb. 21, Wednesdays, 3:30-6 p.m., at Quotations Coffee Cafe, 147 East Main Street, Brevard.

Motion in Poetry: Making Poems Flow with Eric Nelson – In this workshop for writers of all levels, the primary focus will be on ways poems flow from start to finish – the rhythm, form, pacing and tone. Through discussion, prompts and exercises, participants will practice multiple elements, including imagery, figurative language and tension, to create motion and movement in their poems. Nelson’s six books of poetry include the collections Some Wonder, which won the Gival Press Poetry Award, Terrestrials, and The Interpretation of Waking Life. Class meets for 10 weeks, beginning Feb. 19, Mondays 4-6:30 p.m. at Yancey County Library, 321 School Circle, Burnsville.

Methodical Madness: A Creative Prose Workshop with Heather Newton – This course is for writers of fiction and creative nonfiction who want to generate new work and have work critiqued for revision in a supportive workshop setting. Students should come committed to writing in response to prompts, and giving and receiving thoughtful criticism as members of a community of writers. Newton, program manager for Asheville’s Flatiron Writers Room, is the author of the novel, Under the Mercy Trees, which won the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award and was chosen by the Women’s National Book Association as a Great Group Reads Selection. Class meets for 10 weeks beginning Feb. 20, Tuesdays, 6-8:30 p.m., at the Flatiron Writers Room, 5 Covington Street, Asheville.

Developing a “Voice”: A Fiction Workshop with Jamieson Ridenhour – Fiction is woven together from a multitude of voices: omniscient authors, first person narrators, and individual characters. This course will look at authorial and character voice as an integral part of storytelling, with participants receiving feedback from the instructor and fellow writers, revising 10-15 pages focusing on some form of voice. Ridenhour is the author of the werewolf murder mystery Barking Mad and two award-winning short horror films. His play Grave Lullaby was a finalist for the Kennedy Center’s David Mark Cohen National Playwriting award. Class meets for 10 weeks beginning Feb. 22, Thursdays, 6-8:30 p.m. at RiverLink, 170 Lyman Street, Asheville.

Keeping Ourselves Company: A Creative Prose Workshop with Tommy Hays – This class is for prose writers who have been in at least one prior writing workshop and have projects underway (or who want to start something new). The emphasis will be on reading and critiquing each other’s work and the instructor will respond at length to three submissions with a limit of 15 pages each. Instructor’s permission is required for admittance – email thays@unca.edu. Hays is executive director of the Great Smokies Writing Program and core faculty for the Master of Liberal Arts & Sciences program at UNC Asheville. He is the author of four novels including What I Came to Tell You, a Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) Okra Pick and a nominee for the North Carolina Young Adult Award; The Pleasure Was Mine, which has been chosen for numerous community reads and was a finalist for the SIBA Fiction Award; and In the Family Way, which won the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award. Class meets for 15 weeks beginning Jan. 31, Wednesdays, 6-8:30 p.m. at Asheville School, 360 Asheville School Rd., Asheville.

Prose Master Class with Elizabeth Lutyens – The Prose Master Class is a next step for those seeking 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. The writer should have at least 60 pages ready to submit for three critiques during the semester. Each class begins with a craft session requiring outside reading, or with a writing exercise to practice craft elements and inspire new approaches to ongoing projects. The emphasis is on the review of participants’ work, which includes extensive and in-depth comments from the instructor. Admission is by invitation from Tommy Hays or Elizabeth Lutyens (elutyens@unca.edu), who has led this class for 10 years. 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 Jan. 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 $155.81; 10-week courses cost $311.62; 15-week courses cost $467.43. 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.

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