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The University of North Carolina at Asheville’s Great Smokies Writing Program is a Blue Ridge Level sponsor. The program offers opportunities for writers of all levels to join a supportive learning community in which their skills and talents can be explored, practiced, and forged under the careful eye of professional writers. The program is committed to providing the community with affordable university-level classes led by published writers and experienced teachers. Each course carries academic credit awarded through UNC Asheville. Two of their faculty—Mildred Barya and NCWN trustee Tommy Hays—will lead sessions at the NCWN 2019 Fall Conference.

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The sponsor of Keynote Speaker Ron Rash’s book signing on Friday evening, Asheville FM 103.3 keeps Asheville thriving by producing diverse and eclectic programming that inspires our listeners to build connections across our communities and to discover new music and ideas.

Tom Chalmers, who will lead a session at the NCWN 2019 Fall Conference, “Improv’s Increasing Role in Comedy Writing” (sponsored by Katie Winkler and Teach.Write.), co-hosts a sports talk radio show, called Steve Sax Syndrome, on Asheville FM 103.3.

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Blue Ridge Community College is a two-year, comprehensive post-secondary institution located in the mountains of western North Carolina. It serves Henderson and Transylvania counties.

BRCC maintains an extensive lineup of technical programs designed to prepare students for successful careers in nursing, automotive technology, law enforcement, emergency response, engineering technology, machining technology, and many others, including Theatre Arts, Gaming, and Film and Video Production.

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Born and raised just outside of New York City, Margaret Dardess has lived and travelled across several continents, landing at last in Chapel Hill, North Carolina where she probably should have been all along. She is a past president and currernt trustee of the North Carolina Writers’ Network.

Margaret returned to New York after graduation from Connecticut College to study Japanese history at Columbia University, and after a brief teaching career at the University of Illinois, went on to tackle the law. When she finally stopped going to school, she set off on a journey, masquerading as an international trade lawyer, a corporate communications executive, and a university administrator.

Brutal Silence is Margaret’s debut thriller. After meeting a woman who escaped from human traffickers and hearing all that the poor woman endured, Margaret was so angry that she had to tell others about it. She chose to write an action-packed thriller as a way to make the issue of human trafficking come alive through fiction.

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The Flatiron Writers Room will host the Pre-Conference Tailgate on Friday afternoon at 12:00 pm. Member A.K. Beninghofen will lead a session designed to get participants’ creative juices flowing leading up to the conference. The Pre-Conference Tailgate is free and open to the public; one need not be a member, or even to have registered for the conference, to attend. The Flatiron Writers Room is an outgrowth of the Flatiron Writers, who have been writing and providing workshops and events for the western North Carolina writing community since 1993. They host workshops and events; in addition, their space is available for rent to writers who want to teach, host a book launch, or hold a writers’ group or book club meeting. Their goal: to nurture a vibrant and supportive writing community–inspired by Asheville’s rich literary history–while providing writers with quiet, affordable space in which to write, and classrooms in which to teach or participate in classes and workshops.

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Overall support is provded by the generous contribution of the North Carolina Arts Council, which, over more than a half-century of leadership, has provided resources for arts programming, education, and leadership across the state.

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The winner of the Linda Flowers Literary Award will be announced at Saturday’s luncheon, sponsored by the North Carolina Humanities Council. Founded in 1972, the North Carolina Humanities Council is a statewide nonprofit and affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities dedicated to exploring and celebrating our state’s heritage, history and people. Through programs and partnerships, the Council preserves and shares the stories that bring North Carolina’s culture to life and enrich the lives of residents across the state.

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One of the most popular conference programs—Happy Hour!—is sponsored by NCWN trustee and Board Secretary Alice Osborn: Author/Book Coach/Editor. Alice serves as a critiquer for NCWN’s Critiquing and Editing Service; she’s the author of three poetry collections; and she’s also a singer-songwriter. Her new album is Searching for Paradise.

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Another well-attended program is Sunday morning’s breakfast panel discussion, “Agents & Editors,” sponsored by Smoky Mountain Living.  Smoky Mountain Living is a magazine covering the Southern Appalachians and celebrates the area’s environmental riches, its people, culture, music, arts, history, and special places. Each issue brings the Appalachians to life. Published six times each year, SML is a magazine for those who want to learn more about where they live and those who want to stay in touch with where they love.

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The Thomas Wolfe MFA Program in Creative Writing at Lenoir-Rhyne University will sponsor the Opening Reception on Friday evening. LR’s Master of Arts in Writing is designed to prepare students for careers in creative writing, the teaching of writing, and/or the development of advanced writing skills as a powerful tool within one’s chosen profession. This program is offered through the Thomas Wolfe Center for Narrative on its Asheville campus. It offers graduate-level courses in narrative training across disciplines in Thomas Wolfe’s hometown. Drawing on the creative, social, historical, and intellectual legacy of Thomas Wolfe, the Thomas Wolfe Center for Narrative upholds the practices of positive aesthetics—exploration, eloquence, and attention in developing expansive and insightful narrative.  Program director Laura Hope-Gill will lead the session “Write with the Wolfe—a Poetry/Prose Poetry Rebellion.”

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Saturday night’s Open Mic readings for the brave of heart will be sponsored by Western Carolina University’s Department of English. Professor Jeremy B. Jones will lead the Master Class in Creative Nonfiction, “Exploding Your Drafts.” Faculty members Maryedith Burrell (“Screenplay: Fake vs. Fiction”) and Catherine Carter (“It Looks Like a Hairball” (Poetry)) will lead sessions. And WCU professor Ron Rash will give the conference Keynote Address. WCU’s MA in English helps students prepare for a host of professional careers, including community college teaching, writing and editing positions, research-intensive professions, law and library schools, professional or technical writing and doctoral programs. Students take a broad array of classes and choose a concentration in one of three areas: Literature, Professional Writing, or Rhetoric and Composition.

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Katie Winkler is a trustee of NCWN and the editor of Teach.Write. She’ll sponsor Tom Chalmers’ session, “Improv’s Increasing Role in Comedy Writing” during Session III on Saturday. The Fall/Winter 2019 edition of Teach. Write.: A Writing Teachers’ Literary Journal is now available. Katie lives in the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina. She is a writer, teacher, wife, and mother in love with all of her jobs. She is the former regional rep for Henderson County and is on the English Faculty at Blue Ridge Community College.

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WNCW 88.7 will sponsor Saturday afternoon’s Faculty Readings. Broadcast from Isothermal Community College, The station’s call letters “WNCW” stand for Western North Carolina’s Window—a name that the creators of the station hoped would represent the way listeners would use the station—as a window to look through and see things they my not otherwise see. It is the mission of WNCW to advance the broadest educational goals of Isothermal Community College through the operation of a full service, professional public radio service that encourages its audience to pursue a quest for lifelong learning. WNCWN can be heard from Spindale to Greenville, SC; Charlotte to Boone.