Literary Events & Competitions

Fall 2023 Mini-Classes

“What’s Your Intention?”: Building Tension to Create Compelling Fiction with Tony Robles

This event has been canceled.

September 23, 10:00am-12:00pm in-person at UNC Asheville

Tension, one of the building blocks in creating engaging fiction, permeates characters, plot, and setting. In this workshop, participants will analyze a short story and the ways the author uses tension to carry plot and give context to the overall story. Then we will engage in generative exercises meant to strengthen the use of tension in our own work. Finally, we will share and discuss what we have written. Participants will leave with drafts of new material and plenty of inspiration for creating more.

Tony Robles is author of two poetry/short story collections, Cool Don’t Live Here No More—A letter to San Francisco and Fingerprints of a Hunger Strike. His short fiction has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and included in numerous anthologies.  He was named writer in residence by the Carl Sandburg Home Historic Site in 2020. He was also shortlisted for Poet Laureate of San Francisco in 2017 and was an individual artist grantee by the San Francisco Art Commission in 2015 and 2017. A graduate of the MFA in creative writing program at Vermont College of Fine Arts, he lives in Hendersonville, NC.


Telling A Story About Your Truth: A Songwriting Workshop with Alice Osborn

This event has been moved to October 25, 6:00-8:00pm via Zoom

Songwriting is storytelling, and telling your story in a compelling way is all about detail. It’s about what you say, and what you don’t say. It’s about the truth, not necessarily the facts. Songwriting is also about bottling emotion in a rocket and letting the melody stake its course. In this intensive workshop, we’ll explore the process of songwriting—the art and the craft and the delicate balance between the two. Through prompts to get the pump primed, we’ll release our truth to craft the start of memorable lyrics that won’t be easily forgotten by your listeners. Students with all musical backgrounds and levels of ability welcome.

An accomplished songwriter and poet, Alice Osborn seizes the call of home, identity, and history to influence her neo-folk vibe on acoustic guitar. Her most recent CD is Skirts in the Snow: Beyond the Tragedy of the Donner Party and Alice is currently working on a new album incorporating the theme of love and relationships against the backdrop of the Sierra Nevada Mountains’ climate concerns in Northern California. She is the founder, lead singer/guitarist of her Truckee, California-based band, Alice & the Wonderlandz. Listen more at and

This event will be held online via Zoom. Registration costs $20 and is open to the public.  Questions? Email

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Worldbuilding in Speculative Fiction with Lauren Yero

November 4, 10:00-12:00 in-person

Worldbuilding is an essential part of writing speculative fiction, but it can often feel like an overwhelming, endlessly recursive, downright daunting process. Where do you even begin? In this workshop, we’ll break down different worldbuilding considerations—including the creation of novel political systems, technologies, histories, and more. Together we’ll analyze excerpts of speculative fiction, focusing on different worldbuilding techniques. We’ll then work through a series of exercises designed to help writers clarify specific aspects of creating fictional worlds. Participants will leave the workshop with a set of resources and tools for developing their own speculative worlds and stories.

Ideas for specific fictional worlds are welcome but not required for participation in this workshop!

Lauren Yero is a Cuban American writer and teacher who writes speculative, near-future stories of first love and resistance that question the structures our world is built upon. Born in Florida, she received her BA from Davidson College and her MA in Literature and Environment from the University of Nevada Reno. Her debut novel, Under This Forgetful Sky (Simon & Schuster), was a Poets & Writers Get the Word Out pick and a Kirkus Reviews Best of the Month selection. She lives with her family in the mountains of western North Carolina.

This event will be held on UNC Asheville campus, location TBA. Registration costs $20 and is open to the public. Questions? Email

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Big Themes, Little Details: Showing & Telling to Cultivate Meaning in Creative Nonfiction with Jasmin Pittman Morrell

November 11, 10:00-12:00 in-person

During our time together, we’ll explore constructing personal narratives, defined as stories about ourselves, the world, and the intersections of the two. By engaging poetry, excerpts of memoir essays, and using a tool called “the ladder of abstraction,” we’ll discuss the value of showing and telling in storytelling–and why we need both to deepen meaning. Making meaning is the purview of storytellers, and when we share our interpretations of events both public and intimate, we have a powerful opportunity to create empathy and shared understanding. There will be time for writing and feedback in this workshop that welcomes you to craft art birthed from your true stories.

Jasmin Pittman Morrell writes about identity, place, and belonging. Her work is most recently featured in Bigger Than Bravery: Black Resilience and Reclamation in a Time of Pandemic, from Lookout Books, as well as Meeting at the Table: African-American Women Write On Race, Culture and Community. She is also a contributor to The Bitter Southerner, Oxford American, and other magazines, and in 2022 she won the North Carolina Writers’ Network Rose Post Creative Nonfiction award. She graduated from the University of Georgia with an MFA in Narrative Nonfiction Writing and currently calls Asheville, North Carolina home.

This event will be held on UNC Asheville campus, location TBA. Registration costs $20 and is open to the public. Questions? Email

Register Now


Check out our events calendar to see what’s happening in the Asheville writing community!