Tuesday, March 31, 2015

George Saunders Makes the Cut for Upcoming 100 Years of the Best American Short Stories

Houghton Mifflin has announced the upcoming publication of 100 YEARS OF THE BEST AMERICAN SHORT STORIES, selected and edited by Lorrie Moore and co-edited by Heidi Pitlor. A whopping 752 pages, the anthology, which contains the work of only forty authors, will be released in October.

As could be expected with Lorrie Moore at the helm, the selection of authors and their stories is first rate. The earliest is Edna Ferber’s 1917 “The Gay Old Dog” and the most recent is Lauren Groft’s 2014 “At The Round Earth’s Imagined Corners.” In between are an array of wonderful stories arranged by decade.

George Saunders, one of my favorites, is there with “The Simplica Girl Diaries,” from his fourth collection, TENTH OF DECEMBER, which won the 2014 Folio Prize and was a finalist for the National Book Award.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Get great swag in return for kickstarting Brevity Magazine's two special gender & race issues

BREVITY MAGAZINE, the excellent Lit Magazine founded and fostered by the indispensable Dinty Moore, has sent out a call for help. Sarah Einstein has sent this letter to friends and subscribers:

This is, really, a confession of love, though I suspect it’s not much of a confession… that you all already know that I love Brevity. I love it as a reader, because it has introduced me to so many wonderful writers, many of whom are just beginning their writing careers. I love it as a teacher of writing, because it allows me to build and rebuild my syllabi every semester around new and compelling works that lead my

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Late April brings UNC’s exploration of Jewish literature & a gathering of poets in Winston-Salem


On April 18, the excellent UNC Program in the Humanities will turn its attention to Jewish literature when the 2015 Ulhman Family Seminar will be presented by Dr. Jonathan Hess, the Moses M. and Hannah L. Malkin Distinguished Professor of Jewish History and Culture.

“Since the mid-nineteenth century, literature has played a key role in the way Jews have adapted to the modern world and confronted the challenges of secularization, the dislocations of migration, and the traumas of anti-Semitism.  But what exactly is Jewish literature?  How does it relate to traditional Jewish modes of engaging with sacred

Saturday, March 28, 2015

David Joy explores savagery and redemption in his gritty debut novel, Where All Light Tends to Go

David Joy’s gritty debut novel, WHERE ALL LIGHT TENDS TO GO, achieves something I never thought I’d see: his characters make those in DELIVERANCE look almost like refined, cultivated human beings.

Joy, who was born in Charlotte, has lived in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains since he was a teenager. A graduate of Western Carolina University, he was mentored by the great Ron Rash who he credits with being an important literary influence.

WHERE ALL LIGHT TENDS TO GO is set in Cashiers, North Carolina, and the surrounding area. Jacob McNeely is the 18 year old son of a savage, murderous father who controls a very large meth business

Friday, March 27, 2015

With The Other Language, Francesca Marciano explores the obstacles that ultimately shape us

Francesca Marciano’s collection of nine stories, THE OTHER LANGUAGE, won third prize in this year’s Story Awards behind Elizabeth McCracken and Lorrie Moore. All three writers are in excellent company.

The epigraph for Mariano’s collection is from Derek Walcott: “To change your language you must change your life.” The characters in these stories change their language (and their countries) and thereby change their lives.

In the title story, Emma, a twelve year old Italian girl, and her siblings are taken to a small Greek village by their father. The children’s mother has died six months earlier and their father hopes that “having a real adventure” will take the children’s minds off their loss. Among the people they encounter in the Greek town are two English boys. Emma is very taken with the younger one, Jack, and “she felt a terrible regret for not having

Thursday, March 26, 2015

6 Exciting Summer Writing Workshops For 2015, But You'll Need to Hurry or You'll Miss Out

By now, the writers among us have begun applying to summer workshops. It’s not too late for you. Although programs like Breadloaf at Middlebury, Vt. are full, others are still accepting applications. Below are just a few with their faculty lists.


July 21 – August 2 on the campus of Sewanee, The University of the South in Tennessee. Supported by the Estate of Tennessee Williams.
  • Fiction faculty: Richard Bausch, Tony Earley, Adrianne Harun, Randall Kenan, Jill McCorkle, Alice McDermott, Tim O’Brien, Christine Schutt, Allen Wier, and Steve Yarbrough
  • Poetry faculty: Daniel Anderson, B.H. Fairchild, Andrew Hudgens, Maurice Manning, Charles Martin, Mary Jo Salter, A.E. Stallings and Sidney Wade.
  • Playwriting: Dan O’Brien and Paula Vogel

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Four favorite cookbooks satisfy when the yen for real Sicilian food – not just Italian – overtakes me

Two things always get me thinking about Sicilian food: a visit from my brother (the most recent was a week or so ago) and a trip to New York in an often-futile search for real Sicilian restaurants.

Cefalu, Sicily
Notice I said Sicilian, NOT Italian. (Our grandfather was born in the ancient and beautiful seaside town of Cefalu. Our great grandfather came from Ventimiglia near Palermo.) There’s a difference. Just as Sicilians have their own dialect, they have their own cuisine as well.

Sicily’s history is one of domination by larger powers: Roman, Vandal, Byzantine, Islamic, Norman, Catalan, Spanish – all of whom left behind elements of their cuisine. Aristocratic Sicilians imported French chefs called “Monzu” who brought classic techniques with them. To my mind,

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Lorrie Moore’s love of masterful wordplay shows in her award-winning short story collection, Bark

BARK, Lorrie Moore’s collection of eight short stories was one of the three finalists for the 2014 Story Prize. Although the prize was won by Elizabeth McCracken for THUNDERSTRUCK, Moore’s BARK was named A Notable Book by both the New York Times and the Washington Post, and a Best Book of the Year by the San Francisco Chronicle, NPR, Financial Times, St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Book Page. Not shabby recognition.

Moore’s first story collection in fifteen years, BARK plays with the various meanings of the word: the sound a dog makes, marijuana as “sparky bark”, the bark of trees, characters barking orders, the outer

Monday, March 23, 2015

Last day of New York Pitch Conference: I'm told profanity limits your @#$% audience. Who knew?

The New York Pitch Conference ended today and Director Michael Neff was right: I did learn a lot.

This morning we did our final pitch to Michaela Hamilton, Executive and Acquiring Editor at Kensington Publication and Editor-in-Chief of one of its imprints, Citadel Press.

She has been with Kensington for fifteen years (but has been an editor longer than that). She described the company as an independent family-owned enterprise and pointed out that, after the Big Five publishing houses, Kensington, established in 1974, is Number Six. The company is “devoted to entertainment,” is “category-driven,” and specializes in what its audiences in each category want.

She shared some interesting statistics: 40% of all book sales are romance novels and that has remained steady, no matter what happens

Sunday, March 22, 2015

The New York Pitch Conference, the third day: Two “Someones” listen to me

Today’s good news is that it’s stopped snowing. Navigating New York City on foot in snow and ice is not an activity for sissies. Last night, to get out of the weather, I cut through Penn Station to catch the 7th Avenue subway. I felt like the ball in a hotly contested Foosball game. I stopped counting after the 32nd commuter shoved me out of his way. OK, so I exaggerate – but not by much. And to think I used to do this every day – somehow it seems like a rougher sport these days.

The city is quieter on a Saturday morning so I sprang for a cab to get to the conference for Day 3. As soon as I got in, the driver launched into a tirade about “these new moron drivers who don’t know how to find

Saturday, March 21, 2015

New York Pitch Conference: The Second Day

And then there were thirteen – two of our group didn’t come today. I don’t know whether they’ll be back tomorrow – I hope they didn’t run screaming into the night. Maybe, instead, they met their soul mates in a Village restaurant and took the red-eye to Phoenix to start a new life. Good plot possibility there – feel free to steal it.

This morning, my group met with Sillisa Kenney, an associate editor at St. Martin’s Press.

She began by discussing the role of an editor: “the middleman between the author and the reader.” An editor, she said, is not only a representative of the company but also of the reader so “Trust Your Editor” should be the byword. “Trust and listen and try to put aside your ego and your love for what you’ve written,” she urged. And always remember that publishing is a business and the realities of the market affect us all.

While the volume of submissions has increased, Kenney said, the number of outlets for sales has decreased. This is particularly true in regard to mass market books. Changes in retail merchandising have resulted in a reduction in shelf space in such outlets as Costco, Target

Friday, March 20, 2015

New York Pitch Conference: The First Day

Was it only yesterday that I wrote that the prospect of the New York Pitch Conference seemed both exhausting and exhilarating? I’ve survived the first day I can tell you: it is definitely exhausting!

We started the day with what was billed as a “Pep-Scare Talk” by the Director, Michael Neff, who told us, in no uncertain terms, that not a single Conference participant has a manuscript ready to send anywhere. Even if an agent or editor asked for our manuscript, he said, we should not send it because “it is not ready.” I don’t dispute his expertise – after all, he’s been directing these conferences for ten years. I am, however, a little puzzled by such a categorical pronouncement since no one connected to the conference has read any of the manuscripts. Is it not possible that at least one of the participants has a polished gem? Apparently not.

In any event, we were then assigned to workshop groups but not on the basis of genre as I had thought. It’s unclear how they decided who would

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The New York Pitch Conference begins today

I’m in Manhattan to attend the New York Pitch Conference from early this morning through Sunday. My posts during this time will be about the Conference and what I learn there.

The Conference is limited to 65 participants who each have a completed manuscript in one of these genres: upmarket and literary fiction, general fiction, serious and light women’s fiction, historical fiction, military fiction, mystery/thriller and detective, historical romance, paranormal romance, all forms of adult fantasy/SF, young adult and middle grade fantasy/SF, memoir and narrative nonfiction.

Twenty-four acquisition editors are attending. They are from such publishing houses as Akashic Books, Berkeley/Penguin, Berkeley

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Read Cara Black's Newest Mystery – Then Join Her on a Trip to Paris

Guest contributor

Bonjour, fans of Cara Black!

Her 15th mystery, MURDER ON THE CHAMP DE MARS, pits protagonist Aimée Leduc's new maternal instincts against her determination to finally solve the mystery surrounding her father's murder. The story unfolds in 1999 in the seventh arrondissement or neighborhood, of Paris, home to the elite of the city.

The spark that enflames the investigation is the appearance of Nicu, a French gypsy boy (manouche). He convinces Aimée to go with him to see his dying mother, who wants to undo a past injustice by revealing a secret that involves Aimée's father's death.

But, when Aimée and Nicu arrive at the hospital, the boy's mother has vanished and cannot survive for long without the medicines and procedures necessary to keep her alive. When Nicu is killed, Aimée

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Remembering Natalia Revuelta

Natalia Revuelta Clews as a young
beauty (above) and in 1998 (below)

Natalia Revuelta Clews died last week at the age of 88. Who, you may ask? “Naty” Revuelta was a beautiful (and married) Cuban socialite who became enamored of a imprisoned revolutionary, the also-married illegitimate son of a Cuban landowner: Fidel Castro. Naty wrote to him while he was in prison after the failed attempt on the Moncada barracks. He wrote back and a passionate exchange of love letters ensued. She sent him books, gave money to his compatriots, and allowed them to hold meetings in her home. When Castro was released from prison, he very briefly met her, consummated the relationship and then went off, leaving her pregnant with their daughter who was born in 1956. She expected him to come

Monday, March 16, 2015

Write your way into ownership of this historic Maine Inn & Restaurant, and possibly $20,000

In 1993, Janice Sage won the Central Lovell Inn and Restaurant in an essay contest. After running the bed and breakfast for twenty years, Ms. Sage, now 68, is ready to give it to the next owner: the person who writes the best 200 word essay on “Why I Would Like To Own and Operate a Country Inn.”

According to the Inn’s website, the property sits on 12 acres, fifteen minutes outside Portland, Maine. In the main building, there is a parlor and dining rooms on the first floor. On the second floor, there is a den

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Politically Incorrect and Hilarious

It seems like some politician or celebrity is always apologizing these days for having “misspoken” about someone or something. The apologies usually are along the lines of, “I’m sorry you were offended by…” as opposed to, “I was a stupid doofus and deserve to be put on an ice floe and shoved out to sea for having said…”

Today, I’m going to write about a book that might possibly be considered offensive by some uptight folks – mostly Free Will Southern Baptists – in today’s climate. Certainly, some of the reviews on Good Reads did seem awfully prissy. But, let me make one thing perfectly clear: Clyde Edgerton is NOT a stupid doofus. Far from it. He’s a treasure and does NOT deserve to get anywhere near an ice floe. So, all you grim and scowling “Gotcha’ Squads” should go look somewhere else because I have no intention of saying, “I’m sorry you were offended by…”

Edgerton’s very first novel, RANEY, written in 1985 is, simply, hilarious. It is also, less simply, very wise.

Then, too, it has the best jacket blurb I’ve ever read. From Roy Blount, Jr.: “A funny, deft, heartening book. If I were single, I’d marry it.” Me, too. I not only laughed out loud, I kept following my husband around the house yelling, “You gotta’ hear this. Lemme read this to you.”

The book details the engagement and marriage of Raney Bell and Charles Shepherd. Raney and her family worship at the Bethel Free Will Baptist Church where folks know what’s right and what’s just plain wrong. Her daddy owns the Hope Road General Store. The Bells are small-town, conservative folks who don’t drink demon alcohol or curse or look at dirty magazines or socialize with African-Americans. Raney attended Listre Community College and, as the book opens, is newly engaged to Charles Shepherd, the assistant librarian at the Community College.

Charles’ family is from big-city Atlanta. His father’s a doctor. His mama’s a vegetarian. They’re Episcopalian and liberals and involved in

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Elizabeth McCracken’s Prize-Winning Collection

Elizabeth McCracken’s THUNDERSTRUCK & OTHER STORIES (which won the 2015 Story Prize) is her first collection of short stories in twenty years. It was worth the wait. There are nine beautiful, finely crafted stories.

Common themes become apparent: children are lost, bullied, starved, wounded. There are fraught relationships between parents and children. Happiness is elusive. Tragedy lies in wait and catches its victims by surprise.

But, as Sylvia Brownrigg wrote in the New York Times (6/5/14): “The fact that there is nothing depressing about the ubiquity of accident and disaster in ‘Thunderstruck and Other Stories’ is a powerful testament to the scratchy humor and warm intelligence of McCracken’s writing.”

“Something Amazing” is a grim (and somewhat Grimm) story of two mothers. The first is laid low by grief and haunted by her young daughter who has died from lymphoma. She has sealed off the girl’s room but Missy is “everywhere in the house, no matter how their mother scrubs and sweeps and burns and purges.” The dead girl’s brother is left to cope with his mother alone:

“ ‘I would die without you,’ she tells her son one morning. He knows it’s true, just as he knows he’s the only one who would care. Sometimes he thinks it wouldn’t be such as bad bargain, his mother’s death for his own freedom."

Because of her odd behavior and appearance, the neighborhood children believe this grieving mother is a witch. A dirty, bullied child comes to her door. She takes him in and bathes him (even though her inner voice tells her ‘you can’t just bathe someone else’s child’). She unseals the dead

Friday, March 13, 2015

April is coming: Love and poetry are in the air

APRIL 25 | Poetry

April is National Poetry Month! The Fifth Annual Press 53/Jacar Press “Gathering of Poets” will take place on Saturday, April 25, 2015 at the Historic Brookstown Inn in Winston-Salem. North Carolina Poet Laureate Shelby Stephenson will read and there will be four workshops included along with an optional one on Sunday morning (April 26). Details and Registration at press53.com.

MARCH 14 | More Poetry

Carolyn York, President of the NC Poetry Society, will speak at the next meeting of Pittsboro Writers’ Morning Out on Saturday March 14 at 1:00 p.m. (Yeah, I know, but they used to meet in the morning.) All writers, any genre, are invited. It’s held in the Barley Lounge at Carolina Brewery. Writers’ Morning Out is sponsored by the NC Writers’ Network and led by Al Manning. Check out the blog at pittsboro-wmo.blogspot.com.


Thursday, March 12, 2015

Beauty and truth of language elevate Anya Seton's historical fiction classic, Katherine

Guest Contributor

Katherine Swynford (née de Root), orphaned daughter of a favored knight, arrives at Queen Phillippa’s court on an ancient, balking horse, excited and hoping for a good marriage. The prioress whose poor priory has cared for Katherine hopes to receive compensation for that care. Neither is satisfied. The Queen is ill and has no thoughts for either the priory or Katherine.

But the coarse Sir Hugh Swynford has had thoughts since first seeing Katherine. Finding her alone, he forces himself on her, only to be stopped by his lord, John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, and future king of Castile. John is repulsed by Katherine’s grey eyes and happy to approve Swynford’s face-saving request to marry Katherine. Only later does John remember the grey eyes he loved as a boy, those of the woman who raised him and died of the plague.

So begins the love affair between John and Katherine that spanned thirty-five years. Their four children, legitimized by both king and pope after their marriage three years before John’s death in 1399, were the ancestors of the Stuarts and the Tudors—the royal line of England.

Ann Seton, writing under the pen name Anya Seton wrote a definitive story of their relationship in KATHERINE. In continual print since it

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

My crush on Allan Gurganus

Having confessed to a major writer’s crush on Allan Gurganus, I thought I’d add a few words of explanation today. Well, of course, for starters, how could you not love a man who founded “Writers Against Jesse Helms?”

­But there’s more, much more. Damned if I can find it again, but somewhere I read a quote from Gurganus that went something like this, “I write the funniest books I know how to write about the most terrible things I can imagine.” I can’t find where I read this and maybe I made it up because I wanted him to say it. It’s certainly evidenced in his writing. As a native Alabamian, I recognize this from deep in my roots: the storytellers I grew up with, the ones I later read: Faulkner, Welty, O’Connor – all of them mixed humor and the "terrible things" of life.

Of course, Gurganus can write pure hilarity. “Nativity, Caucasian,” one of the twelve stories in WHITE PEOPLE, is an example. It begins:
“(What’s wrong with you?” my wife asks. She already knows. I tell her anyway.)
I was born at a bridge party.”
Tell me you aren’t hooked by that opening. HA! What follows is a laugh-out-loud (maybe even slapstick?) story that perfectly captures Southern

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Edmund de Waal traces a century of heartbreaking family history through a set of tiny, beloved figurines

Edmund de Waal, Geoff Dyer and John Jeremiah Sullivan, have won the 2015 Windham Campbell Prize for nonfiction. Each of them will get a $150,000 award to be presented at Yale in September.

Photo by Hannah Jones
De Waal is the author of THE HARE WITH AMBER EYES: A FAMILY’S CENTURY OF ART AND LOSS. If you haven’t read it, please get up right now and go to your nearest library or book store and get a copy. We’ll wait right here until you’re back.

Edmund de Waal is a British ceramicist whose work has been exhibited in major museums around the world. (As an aside, I should say that I have seen a few examples of it in the excellent collection of post-1940 pottery and ceramics at the Mint Uptown Museum in Charlotte – worth the drive, indeed.)

THE HARE WITH AMBER EYES is a family memoir tracing the history of the wealthy and influential Ephrussi family. As de Waal has written, “It is the story of the ascent and decline of a Jewish dynasty, about loss and diaspora and about the survival of objects.”

The Ephrussis were bankers who spread their empire from Odessa to the capitols of Europe in the 19th century. Charles Ephrussi eschewed the family business to study and collect art. He moved to Paris and became an early supporter of the impressionists and is said to be pictured in Renoir’s “Luncheon of the Boating Party.” He is also said to have been Marcel Proust’s model for Swann in

Monday, March 9, 2015

Elizabeth Gilbert's The Signature of All Things

All right, here’s your assignment. In as few or many words as you need, please explain to me why Alice Walker told her audience at the San Miguel Writers Conference that Elizabeth Gilbert’s THE SIGNATURE OF ALL THINGS is a “wonderful” book. Please. I’m serious.

The first hundred pages read as if Gilbert had come across some botany books and wanted to make sure she stuffed every single fact they contained into this novel. Amongst the botanical esoterica are sketches of the 19th century Whittaker family: the crude, low-born patriarch who has made a fabulous fortune in botanical pharmaceuticals; his stolid Dutch wife, Beatriz; and their only surviving child, Alma. Alma is a large, homely, awkward girl who grows up to be a large, homely, awkward but accomplished botanist, the author of several well-received scholarly books.

Then there’s Prudence, neé Polly, an incredibly beautiful child, whose father, a worker on the Whittaker estate, has murdered his wife and killed himself. She is taken into the Whittaker’s stately home, not as a

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Two speakers, a looming deadline, and a significant cash prize awarded

March 19 | Allan Gurganus Bookends book club guest
Allan Gurganus, on whom I have a serious writer’s crush, will be the special guest at a meeting of Bookends book club on Thursday, March 19th at 4 p.m. The meeting will be at McIntyre’s Books, Fearrington Village, Pittsboro, NC.

Gurganus’ terrific collection of short stories, WHITE PEOPLE, will be discussed. For more information, call (919) 542-3030.

March 31 | Glimmer Train deadline looms
A March 31 deadline for Glimmer Train literary journal submissions is looming. The topic is “Family Matters” and the first place winner gets $1,500 and publication in Issue 96. Second prize is $500; third place gets $300.

The editors say they’re looking for stories “about families of all configurations.” Most submissions, they add, run 1,500-6,000 words but up to 12,000 words is acceptable. For details and to submit, go to glimmertrain.com/familymatters.html.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Pat Shipman, Shelia Rudesill & Fran Wood

Pat Shipman’s newest book, THE INVADERS: HOW HUMANS AND THEIR DOGS DROVE NEANDERTHALS TO EXTINCTION (the subject of an earlier blog post) is now the #1 best seller in three different categories: Biology of Fossils, Paleontology and Physical Anthropology. It’s getting big play in the UK as well as here. You can order it from Harvard University Press, Amazon, and elsewhere. Congratulations to the author!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Anthony Doerr: All The Light We Cannot See

I may have been the last person on earth who had not read Anthony Doerr’s ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE. Forty-one weeks on the New York Times Print/Hardcover Best Sellers List and counting. National Book Award Finalist. One of the Ten Best Books of 2014 selected by the New York Times Book Review.

Well, I finally remedied this lamentable lapse in my reading life this week. It’s a page-turner, all right. Laundry, cooking, feeding the (very patient) dogs – everything was ignored while I read. And read. And read.

Set mainly in France and Germany in 1934-1945 (with brief chapters in 1974 and 2014), it interweaves the stories of two young people: Marie-Laure LeBlanc, a blind, motherless girl who lives with her father, the

Thursday, March 5, 2015

The 2015 Prime Number Magazine Awards contest now accepting online submissions

Prime Number Magazine (a Press 53 publication) announces the 2015 Prime Number Magazine Awards with prizes and/or publication for their top three entries in Poetry, Short Fiction, and Creative Nonfiction.

  • First Prize in each category: $1000 plus publication
  • Second Prize in each category: $250 plus publication
  • Third Prize in each category: Publication

Submission period: Now until March 31, 2015 online only using Submittable online submissions manager. Multiple submissions are accepted; each entry requires a separate reading fee.

Winners Announced: No later than July 1, 2015

Reading Fee: $15 per entry

Judges: Alan Michael Parker (Poetry), Rebecca Makkai (Short Fiction), and Sarah Einstein (Creative Nonfiction)
    For complete information on how to enter, including biographies for our esteemed judges, please visit Prime Number Magazine.

    Wednesday, March 4, 2015

    Burlington (NC) Writers Club seeks entries for their spring 2015 Adult Writers Contest

    The Burlington (NC) Writers Club is now accepting entries for its 2015 Adult Writers Contest. It is open to writers in Alamance, Caswell, Chatham, Durham, Guilford, Orange, Randolph and Rockingham counties. Cash prizes will be offered in six categories and rules are below. Deadline is March 14.

    1. Adult writers living in Alamance, Caswell, Chatham, Durham, Guilford, Orange, Randolph, and Rockingham Counties, NC are eligible.
    2. Manuscripts, including poetry, must be the original, unpublished work of the contestant, not pending publication, and must not have received a first place award in any competition.
    3. Writers may submit one (1) entry in each category. No entry may be placed in more than one category.
    4. Poetry Requirements: Two (2) original or clear copies. NO index cards.
    5. • 1st copy: Place member/non-member, county, title, category, name, address, telephone, e-mail address at top right of page.
      • 2nd copy: Do NOT place name on entry. Place TITLE ONLY at top of page. 100 lines maximum, 11 or 12 point size font, single spacing, on 8½ x 11 white plain paper. No illustrations.

    Tuesday, March 3, 2015

    This harder-than-you-think monosyllabic story contest is both challenging and a lot of fun

    You may not be geographically eligible to enter this Pittsboro (NC) Writers Morning Out contest, but do the exercise anyway, just for kicks:

    Write a story, any genre, not to exceed 300 words, including the title. Here’s the hard part: only words of one syllable allowed. (Contractions pronounced as one syllable are OK. Examples: I’m, I’d, I’ve, can’t, won’t, don’t. Also, possessives pronounced as one syllable: Joe’s, Ann’s, Kate’s etc.)

    It’s harder than it sounds – I was on my third draft before I realized I

    Monday, March 2, 2015

    Ron Rash opens Reynolds Price Reading Series at Duke's Smith Warehouse Wednesday night


    On Wednesday night, March 4, Ron Rash will be reading – it’s the inaugural event of a new reading series honoring former Duke University professor Reynolds Price.

    Presented by the Duke University English Department, the reading will take place at 8 p.m. at Smith Warehouse, Bay 4 off Main Street and Buchanan Boulevard in Durham. It’s free and open to the public.

    Rash will read from his new short story collection, SOMETHING RICH AND STRANGE, which Janet Maslin called “a magnum opus” in her NY Times review. The Times of London said, “Rash can create a character in a single sentence; this is the great American short story at its best.”

    In addition to this collection, he has published five novels, the bestselling SERENA, as well as THE COVE, ONE FOOT IN EDEN,

    Sunday, March 1, 2015

    Redbird Theater Company presents a festival of one act plays by North Carolina playwrights

    Redbird Theater Company is presenting a festival of new one-act plays by North Carolina playwrights March 13-22 at the Carrboro Arts Center.

    The plays include: PROPERTY by Dana Coen; THE FIRE OF FREEDOM by Howard L. Craft (inspired by the book by David Cecelski), LINNAEUS FORGETS by Marianne Gingher and Debby Seabrooke (adapted from the story by Fred