Literary Festivals in North Carolina

By the North Carolina Arts Council
October 25, 2019

Many of these festivals are funded by the North Carolina Arts Council. Please visit the websites to verify dates and other details.


North Carolina Book Festival
Raleigh, N.C.
The festival happens at venues throughout Raleigh, including Kings, Neptunes, HQ Raleigh, NC State University’s Hunt Library, Quail Ridge Books, So & So Books, and others. It features readings, panels, demonstrations, and lectures from award-winning presenters and performers, and showcases non-traditional genres such as comic books and graphic novels.


Sensoria: A Celebration of Literature and the Arts
Held at Central Piedmont Community College, this multi-day, multidisciplinary festival features author keynotes, student poetry and prose readings, and literature workshops in addition to music, film and theater events.

WCU Spring Literary Festival
Western Carolina University, Cullowhee
The annual WCU Spring Literary Festival is a regional literary gathering with a multicultural and international focus.

Center City Literary Festival
Sponsored by the UNC Charlotte English Department and UNC Charlotte Center City, this festival features children’s activities during the day and readings, discussion, book signings, and socializing with award-winning authors in the evening.


Asheville Wordfest
Lenoir-Rhyne Asheville Campus
Asheville Wordfest maintains a commitment to multicultural programming, inviting audiences and participants to venture deeply into spaces of tension and complexity in search of possibility. It includes readings and workshops from poets, authors, artists, storytellers, and community facilitators.

North Carolina Writers’ Network Spring Conference
UNC Greensboro
A full day of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, playwriting, marketing, and publishing workshops offered by the North Carolina Writers’ Network, the only statewide organization serving North Carolina writers. The day includes a keynote address, faculty readings, on-site “lunch with an author,” publisher exhibits, and an open mike for conference participants.


Greensboro Bound: A Literary Festival
Greensboro Bound: A Literary Festival celebrates diverse voices from around the world, honors North Carolina’s long and varied literary traditions, and welcomes an inclusive community of readers from Greensboro and beyond.


Carolina Mountains Literary Festival
The Carolina Mountains Literary Festival brings together authors, readers of all ages, novice writers, listeners and learners in small, intimate settings throughout the town of Burnsville. It focuses on regional writers and works from smaller presses.

Bookmarks Festival of Books and Authors
Bookmarks is the largest book festival in North Carolina, including keynote events, author visits in schools, writing workshops, and a street festival.

On the Same Page Literary Festival
West Jefferson
Sponsored by the Ashe County Arts Council and Ashe County Public Library, On the Same Page presents authors with North Carolina connections whose works include fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and mystery. The festival includes creative writing workshops, readings, discussions and “an hour with an author” at local eating establishments.

Book 'Em North Carolina
“Buy a book and stop a crook” is the goal of this festival, which raises public awareness of the correlation between high illiteracy rates and high crime rates. Held at Robeson Community College, it brings together more than 75 authors, publishers, literary agents, and publicists, and offers a series of panel discussions and talks for aspiring authors at all levels, along with children’s’ activities.


North Carolina Writers’ Network Fall Conference
The NC Writers’ Network’s biggest conference of the year features workshops in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, playwriting, marketing, and publishing; lunch and dinner banquets with readings; keynote speakers; open mike sessions for participants and the opportunity for one-on-one manuscript critiques with New York editors or agents. The host city rotates annually among Asheville, Charlotte, Raleigh or Durham, and Wilmington.

NC Writers' Network 2019 Fall Conference

by the North Carolina Arts Council
October 21, 2019

The North Carolina Writers’ Network calls this “The Writingest State from Manteo to Murphy and from Calabash to Crumpler" and as a recipient of a Statewide Service Organization grant from the N.C. Arts Council they find and welcome writers from all parts of North Carolina to gather in Asheville for their annual Fall Conference, scheduled Nov. 8 to 10. Registration is open at www.ncwriters.org.

Asheville and the surrounding mountains offer a true bounty for the literary arts. Authors who led master classes in 2015, the last time the Network held its Fall Conference in Asheville, will be leading single sessions this year, not replaced but graciously making room for other talented instructors. Even with agents and editors, award-winning authors, and a former North Carolina Poet Laureate on faculty, the Fall Conference line-up represents only a sampling of Asheville’s abundant literary culture.

New York Times bestselling author Ron Rash will give the Keynote Address. Rash is the author of the 2009 PEN/Faulkner finalist and New York Times bestseller Serena and Above the Waterfall, in addition to four prizewinning novels: The CoveOne Foot In EdenSaints at the River, and The World Made Straight; five collections of poems; and six collections of stories, among them Burning Bright, which won the 2010 Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award, and Chemistry and Other Stories, which was a finalist for the 2007 PEN/Faulkner Award. Twice the recipient of the O. Henry Prize, he teaches at Western Carolina University. 

On Saturday morning, the North Carolina Humanities Council will present the winner of the Linda Flowers Literary Award during the “All Stories Connect” breakfast panel.

Saturday’s Luncheon will feature former North Carolina Poet Laureate Joseph Bathanti and a special reading from Brothers Like These, comprised of stories and poems written by Vietnam combat veterans. Under Bathanti’s guidance, they gathered to write every Wednesday for almost two years. These are stories and poems, large and small, funny and heartbreaking, that only these men can relate in their own inimitable styles—stories and poems not just invaluable to succeeding generations of soldiers, but to every citizen of our country, and beyond.

Saturday night’s annual banquet features Asheville’s home-grown music collective, Pan Harmonia, celebrating their 20th season with the premiere of a music and poetry fusion work, “Rubble Becomes Art,” a triptych of songs composed by Dosia McKay inspired by poetry by North Carolina writers Sally Atkins, Valerie Foote, and Cathy Larson Sky.

Sunday morning includes an “Agents & Editors” panel. The weekend also features faculty readings, open mics, and an exhibit hall packed with vendors, including the official conference booksellers, Malaprop’s.

A variety of classes are scheduled including fiction sessions on “Pre-Writing Is a Matter of Pre-Trusting” with Kevin McIlvoy; “Thievery, Loss, & Scars: A Fiction Workshop” with Heather Newton; and “If You’re Afraid to Write About It, Write About It” with NCWN trustee Tommy Hays. Creative nonfiction writers may take “Power Up the Truth You Tell” with Christine Hale and “The Limits of Perception: Invention & Speculation in CNF” with Tessa Fontaine. Poets may register for sessions including “Write with the Wolfe—a Poetry/Prose Poetry Rebellion” with Laura Hope-Gill; “Capturing the Persona Poem” with Keith Flynn; “Ekphrasis: Growing Art from Art” with Eric Tran; “It Looks Like a Hairball” with Catherine Carter; and “Freedom & the Imagination” with Mildred Barya.

For those looking for more generalized writing sessions—Dale Neal will lead “Why Not Ask?” and Meta Commerse will lead “Story Medicine 2.0.” Also, Alli Marshall, Kevin Evans, Lockie Hunter, and Steve Shell will sit on the panel, “Writing Out Loud.”

If you feel you’ve got a manuscript ready to take to market, or you’ve already published and want to know how to maximize sales, plenty of sessions will focus on the business of books. Gold Leaf Literary Services will walk registrants through “The Elements of the Industry”; Meg Reid, the director of Hub City Press, will let authors know “What Writers Should Know about Book Design”; Catherine Campbell will teach how to “Write Your Best Agent Query Letter”; Luke Hankins, founder and editor at Orison Books, will lead “The Ins and Out of Small Press Publishing”; and Anne Fitten Glenn will offer “Creative Ways to Promote Your Book (and Yourself).”

Writers for stage and screen can sign up for “Screenplay: Fake vs. Fiction” with Maryedith Burrell and “Improv’s Increasing Role in Comedy Writing” with Tom Chalmers.

Sponsors of the North Carolina Writers’ Network 2019 Fall Conference include The University of North Carolina at Asheville’s Great Smokies Writing Program; Asheville FM 103.3; the Flatiron Writers Room; The Thomas Wolfe MFA Program at Lenoir-Rhyne University; the North Carolina Arts Council; the North Carolina Humanities Council; Alice Osborn: Author/Book Coach/Editor; Smoky Mountain Living; Western Carolina University’s MA in English Program; Katie Winkler and Teach.Write.; and WNCW 88.7.

Pre-registration is open through Friday, Nov. 1 at www.ncwriters.org.

Durham Author Receives Sally Buckner Emerging Writers’ Fellowship

by the North Carolina Arts Council
October 8, 2019

Durham author Jasmine Kumalah has been named the recipient of the 2020 Sally Buckner Emerging Writers’ Fellowship from the N.C. Writers Network.

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