UNC Asheville’s Great Smokies Writing Program (GSWP) will present five workshops this summer, offering writers in the community a chance to hone their craft in many different genres. All classes are Asheville-based and will meet weekly for five weeks.
Liberated Literature: Experiments with Flash Fiction with Scott Branson – Class meets Tuesdays, 6-8:30 p.m., June 4-July 2 at Hanger Hall, 64 W.T. Weaver Blvd., Asheville. Flash fiction, or microfiction, can be a way of throwing off the rules, methods and collective weight of literary history.
As Branson puts it, “There is no limit on the form or content: if it makes you feel or think, it works.” The workshop will leave writers freedom to explore and experiment with style and content, as well as reading essays on craft; the focus will be on workshopping.
A poet and artist who has taught at Hampshire College, Amherst College and the University of Massachusetts in addition to UNC Asheville, Branson was a key organizer of the university’s 2018 Queer Studies Conference and more recently, Davidson College’s symposium, Breaking Cages, Building Community, Queering Justice. EAH, Branson’s chapbook of words and abstract image, is now available.
The Story Behind the Story: A Creative Prose Workshop with Abigail DeWitt – Class meets Thursdays, 6-8:30 p.m., June 6-July 11 (no class on July 4) at RiverLink, 170 Lyman Street, Asheville. Most of us have a story from our lives that we regularly share with others. In this class, participants will look behind their own stories to uncover what may have been forgotten, especially the sensory details associated with an event.
Writers also will practice viewing experiences from multiple points of view and gain new tools for developing those hidden narratives. DeWitt is the author of three novels, Lili, Dogs, and News of Our Loved Ones, named an Editor’s Choice by BookBrowse and the Historical Novel Society. She has taught creative writing at Appalachian State University, Harvard University Summer School and Boston University, and has been writer-in-residence at Lenoir-Rhyne University.
Turning Points: Writing the Personal Essay, with Marjorie Klein – Class meets Tuesdays, 6-8:30 p.m., June 4-July 2 at the Thomas Wolfe Memorial, 52 North Market St., Asheville. While we all remember big turning points in our lives, Klein contends that “sometimes, it’s the little moments that change us the most, creating, in their accumulation, the complex, constantly evolving people we are now.” This class will be devoted to writing about turning points large and small, with each week devoted to a life stage – childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and recent revelations, so by the fifth week, a finished essay inspired by those prompts can be shared and discussed.
Klein is the author of the novel, Test Pattern, a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection, and narrative nonfiction that appeared regularly over two decades in the Miami Herald’s Sunday magazine. She has taught at the University of Miami, Florida International University and Warren Wilson College as well as UNC Asheville.
Dream Prompts: Using Your Subconscious to Write Picture Books, with Linda Lowery – Class meets Wednesdays, 6-8:30 p.m., June 5-July 10 (no class July 3) at Hanger Hall, 64 W.T. Weaver Blvd., Asheville. “While we sleep, our internal critic sleeps too,” says Lowery, who offers a children’s book workshop for writers who want to tap into their subconscious minds to unleash fresh ideas and imaginative story directions. In addition to offering techniques of remembering and journaling dreams and creating stories based on dream themes and words, the workshop will cover rhythm and rhyme, style, pacing and issues like word count.
The goal is for writers to emerge from the workshop with a 24-page picture book text, as well as a collection of their own intuitive prompts for future use. Lowery is a New York Times best-selling author of 65 fiction and non-fiction books for young readers age 2 to 12, with inclusion on the Best Books of the Year lists of the American Library Association, Bank Street College of Education, Publishers Weekly, and more. Pants!, Lowery’s newest picture book, was entirely inspired by a dream.
Slowing the News: A Poetry Workshop with Carolyn Ogburn – Class meets Mondays, 6-8:30 p.m., June 3-July 1 at RiverLink, 170 Lyman Street, Asheville. With this workshop, Ogburn will inspire participants to slow and digest the news cycle through poetry. “We’re bombarded with news, with information, with thoughtful journalism and with junk. … Our cup is full, our receptors are numbed,” says Ogburn.
Drawing from the slow food and slow crafts movements and taking inspiration from PoetsReadingTheNews.com, this workshop is designed to bring poetic responses to the news, with different forms – sonnets, pantoums, terza rima, blank verse and erasure poetry – in each class. Students will be encouraged, but not required to share work aloud and the course does not include critiquing. Ogburn, UNC Asheville’s director of accessibility services, holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts and has published works in Poetry International Online, Our State Magazine, The Missouri Review, Empty Mirror, and others.
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. The costs are higher for out-of-state residents. For more information or to register, visit unca.edu/gswp or call 828.251.6099.