Fall 2021 Classes


**Please note that all classes will be held remotely, via Zoom/Google Meet or other video conferencing platforms.**

5-Week Classes

Lang 371: Where to Begin: Introduction to the Creative Writing Workshop

Instructor: Annie Frazier Crandell
Starts October 12, Tuesday evenings, 6:00-8:30 p.m.

You want to write, or you’ve started writing and want to take the next step. But, where to begin? In this course, students will learn the basics of writing, discussing, and revising fiction and creative nonfiction in a supportive, encouraging setting. Each week, students will read articles and chapters from writing texts about fundamental craft elements, as well as short pieces of published fiction and nonfiction. Students will also complete writing assignments each week, which they’ll have the option of sharing with their classmates in a private online message board setting. Separately, students will receive detailed feedback from the instructor on each writing assignment. Our weekly class meetings on Zoom will include engaging discussions of the week’s readings and further opportunities for students to share new writing with the group.

Annie Frazier Crandell lives in Asheville and works as a freelance editor and a fiction faculty member for Great Smokies Writing Program. She has previously taught for Flatiron Writers Room in Asheville and served as a fiction reader for Longleaf Review. Her fiction and poetry can be found in Appalachian Review, Paper Darts, Hypertrophic Literary, Longleaf Review, CHEAP POP, North Carolina Literary Review, and elsewhere. Learn more and read some of Annie’s published work at anniefrazier.com.


Lang 371: The Literary Ecosystem: How It Works and the Writer’s Role

Instructors: Caroline Christopoulos & Lauren Harr
Starts October 13, Wednesday evenings, 6:00-8:30 p.m. 

2020 brought a lot of shifting perspectives and new opportunities to the world of publishing and bookselling. We want to prepare aspiring and current writers for the best of times and the worst of times by giving them the knowledge and tools they need. We will look at what we refer to as the literary ecosystem: the roles within the publishing community, self vs. traditional publishing, working with agents, publishers, and bookstores, and how to build a community that will sustain, and be sustained by, you as an author. We will also help you hone your goals for your work, craft an elevator pitch, and practice talking about your work as a finished product. Virtual vs. in-person events, using social media, newsletters, and other digital resources to connect with readers, and other tips and tricks for making the most of pandemic times and after are included.

Caroline Christopoulos and Lauren Harr met working at Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe and dreamed of having the time and ability to educate writers about the industry. They founded Gold Leaf Literary Services in 2016 to do just that, as well as to help authors and publishers spread the word about their books. Caroline still works for Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe, where she has been a bookseller for 20 years and buyer for 16. She is on the steering committee of the Asheville Grown Business Alliance and was on the programming committee for the Carolina Mountains Literary Festival. Lauren has worked in the book world for 20 years—as a bookseller in Asheville and Albuquerque, an assistant at literary nonprofits in Santa Fe, an intern at Graywolf Press, and a marketing assistant and publicist at Coffee House Press. She will always be a bookseller at heart.


Lang 371: Intro to Memoir: How to Tell Personal Stories That Hold a Mirror Up to Humanity

Instructor: Madelyn Petrovich
Starts October 14, Thursday evenings, 6:00-8:30 p.m. 

“Everybody I know who wades deep enough into memory’s waters drowns a little.” Mary Karr

Our histories, so often thought of as deep and dormant, can swim underneath the thinnest parts of our skin for decades. When used well, memoir allows us to educe these water-logged memories and make sense of the past.

Join us in this course as we examine how elements of craft, particularly voice and detail, help us to recognize our own truths and, more importantly, introduce universal ones. Designed for those new to memoir, we will create our own narratives and workshop each other’s pieces in an encouraging environment. Through examining the works of renowned memoirists such as Mary Karr, David Sedaris, and Paul Kalanithi, we will work to define just what makes a stranger’s past readable.

Madelyn Petrovich is an alumna of UNC Asheville’s Master of Liberal Arts and Sciences program, where she focused on creative writing and global studies. Madelyn has taught English literature at home and abroad, most recently at Hanger Hall School for Girls in Asheville, NC. An excerpt from Madelyn’s current memoir work, which is centered on a childhood lived alongside her autistic sister in small-town 90’s Appalachia, can be read in The Great Smokies Review.


Lang 371: Heart of the Story: Writing for Children & Young Adults

Instructors: Joy Neaves & Rebecca Petruck
Starts October 11, Monday evenings, 6:00-8:30 p.m.

“Great children’s books use new kinds of language and show evidence of not just a brilliant mind, but of a brilliant heart.” –Beth Kephart

This ten-week workshop welcomes students at all stages of the writing process who are interested in writing literature for children and young adults, including novels, picture books, and short fiction. You will discover powerful tools for generating material or revising your work for young readers. Our focus will be on ways to use all the essential aspects of craft to develop dynamic characters & compelling plots. Emphasis will be placed on generating powerful scenes (the building blocks of story) that serve the core of your story (the overall narrative arc). Special topics related to children’s fiction and picture books will be discussed. 

The supportive atmosphere of this workshop aims to facilitate your writing process, while keeping your goals as a writer at the heart of our work together.  Using critique as our main tool, along with a combination of mini-lectures, writing exercises, and group discussion the instructors will encourage you to develop your ability to look at your own work critically. The instructors will also provide written feedback on individual writers’ work and will recommend useful outside reading and resources geared toward individual student projects. A portion of the workshop will focus on the business of publishing and the best ways to approach editors and agents when you’re ready to submit your work to the market.

Joy Neaves has over fifteen years of experience as an editor of children’s picture books, poetry, middle grade, and young adult fiction, first from Front Street, an award-winning publisher of books for children, and later at Boyds Mills Press. She is currently a freelance editor of children’s books at namelos. She is passionate in her approach to talking about both children’s literature & the craft of writing for children, and enjoys helping writers hone their craft, with an eye toward publication. She has helped many writers see their work come to fruition.

Rebecca Petruck is the author of the middle grade novels Boy Bites Bug and Steering Toward Normal, both with Abrams. Bug received a starred review from Booklist, who said it’s “…funny, perceptive, and topical in more ways than one.” It is on the Louisiana Young Readers Choice awards list for 2020-2021. Steering was an American Booksellers Association New Voices selection and Kids Indie Next List title. Petruck has an MFA in Creative Writing from UNC Wilmington, and is a mentor for Pitch Wars and SCBWI Carolinas. Visit Rebecca at rebeccapetruck.com and @RebeccaPetruck on Twitter.


10-Week Classes

Lang 372: Mastering Techniques Used in Memoir & Personal Essay: A Nonfiction Workshop

Instructors: Sebastian Matthews
Starts September 15, Wednesday afternoons, 2:00-4:30 p.m. 

In this course, we will write and revise personal essays and memoir extracts. To this end, we will read a range of contemporary creative nonfiction—and, at times, fiction and poetry—as well as writings on the creative process. Our main focus will be to explore the elements and techniques employed in contemporary narrative nonfiction (including collage technique and hybrid form.) In addition to trying our hand at in-class exercises, we will workshop each other’s work. Along the way, we will read work by Ross Gay, Hanif Abdurraqb, Geoff Dyer, Maggie Nelson, Annie Dillard, Eddie S. Glaude Jr., and others.

Sebastian Matthews is the author of a memoir, In My Father’s Footsteps, and two books of poetry, We Generous and Miracle Day. His hybrid collection of poetry and prose, Beginner’s Guide to a Head-on Collision, won the silver medal at the Independent Publishers Book Awards. His new book Beyond Repair: Living in a Fractured State, a memoir in essays, came out in 2020. He is also the author of The Life & Times of American Crow, a collage novel in paperback. Learn more at sebastianmatthews.com.


Lang 372: Mechanics of Flash Fiction: Building Worlds in Under 1,000 Words

Instructor: Annie Frazier Crandell
Starts September 13, Monday evenings, 6:00-8:30 p.m.

In this course, we’ll pop the hood and take a close look at what makes the engine of flash fiction run, focusing on how craft elements work together to generate powerful, resonant fictions that feel much larger than their miniature word count suggests. Students will read articles and book chapters about flash craft, as well as plenty of contemporary and classic flash fiction published in literary magazines, flash collections, and anthologies. Each week, students will also complete a new writing assignment, which they’ll have the option of sharing with their classmates in a private online message board setting. Separately, students will receive detailed feedback on each assignment from the instructor. Weekly class periods on Zoom will focus on discussing craft elements in the published flashes students have read, as well as sharing new work. In the second half of the course, we will begin to shift focus toward a more formal workshop of flashes students have been working on and revising throughout the course.

This course is designed to appeal to writers of all stripes—those who have studied flash fiction before, those who are brand new to the genre, those looking for a generative workshop to produce a heap of new writing they can later expand on, and those seeking an immersive tour of fundamental craft elements that can launch fictions of any length.

Annie Frazier Crandell lives in Asheville and works as a freelance editor and a fiction faculty member for Great Smokies Writing Program. She has previously taught for Flatiron Writers Room in Asheville and served as a fiction reader for Longleaf Review. Her fiction and poetry can be found in Appalachian Review, Paper Darts, Hypertrophic Literary, Longleaf Review, CHEAP POP, North Carolina Literary Review, and elsewhere. Learn more and read some of Annie’s published work at anniefrazier.com.


Lang 372: Getting Your Poem Out of a Rut

Instructor: Bruce Spang
Starts September 14, Tuesday afternoons, 2:00-4:30 p.m.

Poems often stall. An initial inspiration peters out. The poem spins out words that go nowhere. Learning to extend and elaborate a poem, shifting it from first to fifth gear, requires work.

This workshop will focus on refining and extending poems, drawing from the work of Elizabeth Bishop, Anne Sexton, Mark Doty, Phillip Levine, Ellen Bass, and Ross Gay who have mastered the extended poem. Looking at samples of their poems that showcase their different “moves,” we will focus on how they use metaphor and syntax to build the edifice of a poem, and to enlarge the scope and range of our poems.

Bruce Spang, former Poet Laureate of Portland, is the author of two novels: The Deception of the Thrush and Those Close Beside Me. His most recent collection of poems, All You’ll Derive: A Caregiver’s Journey, was just published. He’s also published four other books of poems, including To the Promised Land Grocery and Boy at the Screen Door (Moon Pie Press) along with several anthologies and several chapbooks. He is the poetry and fiction editor of the Smoky Blue Literary and Arts Magazine. His poems have been published in Gay and Lesbian Literary Review, Connecticut River Review, Red Rover Magazine, Great Smokies Review, Caesura, Los Angles Review, Kalopsia Literary Journal and other journals across the United States. He teaches courses in fiction and poetry at the Great Smokies Writing Program in Asheville and lives in Candler, NC with his husband Myles Rightmire and their five dogs, five fish, and thirty birds.


Lang 372: The Southern Short Story: A Fiction Workshop

Instructor: Dean Morton
Starts September 15, Wednesday evenings, 6:00-8:30 p.m.

This workshop is for writers of all ages and experience whose work comes from, or is influenced by, the American South. We will study the growth and development of the Southern short story as a unique form, and in doing so we will shape our understanding of what it means to be contemporary Southern writers. (Authors will include, among others: Kate Chopin, William Faulkner, Katherine Anne Porter, Erskine Caldwell, Flannery O’Connor, Reynolds Price, Larry Brown, and Ron Rash). We will apply this knowledge to our own writing, and students will get the chance to workshop their own short fiction in an inclusive and productive environment. Through the lens of Southern literature, we will touch on the major elements of craft, such as structure, characterization, narration, perspective, and dialogue. The instructor will provide written feedback on the students’ work, and can assist in the process of submitting to journals and other publications. Whether you’re filling a story collection or looking to write your first piece, this class will help you shape an honest and personalized depiction of the land we call home.

Dean Morton is an alumnus of the Master of Liberal Arts and Sciences program at UNC Asheville, where his studies were focused in fiction writing. His short stories have been published in The Great Smokies Review, Goat’s Milk Magazine, Blue Lake Review, and other journals. His ten-minute play “Wolves in Yellowstone” was staged at the New American Theatre in Los Angeles in 2019. He currently teaches high school English and History in Raleigh, North Carolina, and is working on a story collection.


15-Week Classes

Lang 473: Prose Master Class

Class Full

Instructor: Elizabeth Lutyens
Starts August 31, Tuesday evenings, 6:00-8:30 p.m. 

The Prose Master Class is a next step for those seeking an intensive writing experience. This small–group workshop is limited to experienced writers who are either working on an ongoing project (a collection of essays or stories, a novel, a memoir) or who have at least sixty pages drafted for a new project. Writers should be prepared to submit pages for their first-round workshop at the beginning of the semester as well as for the two subsequent workshops (three total, per student). An equally important commitment is for class members to offer the best possible attention to the work of others.

Each class begins with a craft session requiring outside reading, with the focus on the theme for the semester, which explores the resonance of the writing as well as craft. In lieu of some craft sessions, we will use a writing exercise to inspire new approaches. The emphasis for the course, always, is the review of student work, which includes extensive and in-depth comments from the instructor. For each of the three rounds of workshops, the method will vary: from traditional…to free-form…to writer’s choice.

Elizabeth Lutyens has led this class for thirteen years. A former journalist, Elizabeth is a graduate of the MFA in Writing Program at Warren Wilson College and is completing her own work: a novel set in Boston and the Port Royal islands of South Carolina during the early 1860s. She is Editor in Chief of The Great Smokies Review, the online literary magazine published by The Great Smokies Writing Program and UNC Asheville.

Admission to this advanced class requires permission from the instructor, based on a writing sample and previous workshop experience, preferably in the Great Smokies Writing Program, but there are exceptions for applicants with similar experiences elsewhere. For more information, contact Elizabeth (elutyens@gmail.com).


The Great Smokies Writing Program is committed to providing the community with affordable university-level classes taught by professional writers, and to giving voice to local and regional writers through Writers at Home, its free reading series. The Great Smokies Writing Program wishes to thank Malaprop’s Bookstore/Café for its support of Writers at Home.