Great Smokies Writing Program announces summer workshops

Published 10:00 pm Monday, May 9, 2016

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. These five-week classes are offered in the afternoon and evening in Asheville and Burnsville. Class size is limited, so early registration is suggested.


One Story: A Fiction Workshop with Abigail DeWitt – This workshop for both beginners and experienced writers will consider how to free-write an entire draft of a short story. In-class exercises are designed to help writers uncover their best material and discuss how to shape that material into compelling narratives. DeWitt’s own stories have been shortlisted for The Best American Short Stories and nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

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She has taught creative writing at Appalachian State University, Harvard University Summer School and the Table Rock Writers Workshop (formerly the Duke Writers Workshop), and she has written two novels, Lili (W.W. Norton, 2002) and Dogs (Lorimer Press, 2010).


Classes meet Tuesday afternoons, 4-6:30 p.m., June 14, 21, 28 and July 5 and 12 at the Yancey County Public Library, 321 School Circle, Burnsville.


Inside Out: A Personal Essay Workshop with Marjorie Klein – Helping participants give voice to important experiences and buried memories, this workshop will feature in-class exercises to enable writers to create and communicate deeper understanding through personal essays. Classes will focus on elements of literary craft – description, character, setting and theme – and help writers emerge with a final polished essay.


Klein’s first novel, Test Pattern (William Morrow, 2000) was chosen as a Discover Great New Writers selection by Barnes & Noble, and her creative nonfiction appeared for many years in Tropic, the Sunday magazine of the Miami Herald.

She has taught at Warren Wilson College, the University of Miami and Florida International University.


Classes meet Wednesday evenings, 6-8:30 p.m., June 8, 15, 22, 29 and July 6 at RiverLink, 170 Lyman Street, Asheville.


Through Grief and Beyond: A Creative Nonfiction Workshop with Jennifer McGaha – Grief can be powerfully consuming, but writing about loss can help work through sorrow and lead to greater understanding of self and of the dearly departed. This workshop will emphasize scene setting, candid reflection and character development to create vivid stories that celebrate loved ones lost.


A native of Western North Carolina, McGaha’s creative nonfiction, essays and humor pieces have appeared in dozens of blogs and journals including The Good Men Project, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Your Impossible Voice and Baltimore Fishbowl. She is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post.


Classes meet Thursday evenings, 6-8:30 p.m., June 9, 16, 23 and July 7 and 14 at Spellbound Children’s Bookshop, Merrimon Square, 640 Merrimon Avenue, Asheville.


Summer Writing Workout: A Fiction and Creative Nonfiction Workshop with Heather Newton – For both beginning and experienced writers, this workshop will focus on practical ways to make writing an integral part of life. Field trips are possible – whatever it takes to get participants’ writing muscles into shape.


Newton’s novel, Under the Mercy Trees (Harper Collins, 2011) won the 2011 Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award, was chosen by the Women’s National Book Association as a Great Group Reads Selection, and was an “Okra Pick” by the Southern Independent Bookstore Alliance. She is a founding member of the Flatiron Writers, a collective dedicated to serving as a resource for the western North Carolina writing community.


Classes meet Tuesdays evenings, 6-8:30 p.m., June 7, 21, 28 and July 5 and 12 at the Thomas Wolfe Memorial, 52 North Market Street, Asheville.


Contemporary Poetry Workshop with Eric Steineger – Writers of all levels of experience are welcome at this workshop that will examine leading literary journals and work from local poets with an eye toward finding things to apply to each participant’s work. Steineger is the poetry editor of The Citron Review and his work has been featured in The Los Angeles Review, Tinderbox, Redheaded Stepchild, and Asheville Poetry Review.


He teaches English at Mars Hill University and organizes occasional poetry events for the Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center.


Classes meet Wednesday evenings, 6-8:30 p.m., June 8, 22, 29 and July 6 and 13 at Grateful Steps, 333 Merrimon Avenue, Suite A, Asheville.


The Great Smokies Writing Program is committed to providing the community with affordable university-level classes taught by professional writers. The costs are higher for out-of-state residents. A non-refundable application fee for new students also is required.


For more information or to register, visit or call 828-250-2353.


-Submitted by News Services at UNCA