Fall 2022 Classes

Please read the following announcements carefully:
-We are offering some classes in-person and some classes via Zoom. Please read all course descriptions carefully before registering.
-For everyone’s ongoing health and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are limiting space in our in-person classes to 10 students.

5-Week Classes

Lang 371: The Inner Universe: Writing to Make Meaning

Class Full

Instructor: Tina Barr
Meets online via Zoom.

Please note: begins in September.
Monday afternoons starting 9/19, 1:00-3:30. 

Every one of us is beset with challenges as well as joys, often on a daily basis. From the macrocosmic, with climate change, Covid and political division, to the microcosmic, the copperhead in the yard, returning to school, caring for elderly parents or grandchildren, a loss or separation, the thrill of dahlias in bloom, or taking up a new hobby, activity or sport, all our lives present us with various kinds of stresses, both positive and negative. Often, we find ourselves writing about these challenges: growing older, dealing with illness, a break-up or loss, as well as welcoming new family members or achieving goals or dreams, we can find a way to cope or process meaning through writing. While participants will be given optional prompts on specific topics, we will focus on poems that come out of a need to write. As Rilke said, “A poem is born out of necessity.” Join us in writing out of necessity! This workshop is open to new, as well as experienced writers. Limited to 10 students. While a few poems by outside writers will be discussed as examples, the focus will be on a workshop.

Tina Barr (M.F.A., M.A., Ph.D.) was Charles R. Glover Chair of English Studies at Rhodes College in Memphis, where she directed the Creative Writing Program for over a decade. Her volumes of poetry include 3 full-length books: Green Target (2017 winner of the Barrow Street Press Book Prize, and the Brockman-Campbell Award), Kaleidoscope (Iris Press), and The Gathering Eye, (Tupelo Press Editor’s Award).  Her three chapbooks were all published as winners of national competitions. She has received Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, The Tennessee Arts Commission, The Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, The MacDowell Colony, & elsewhere.  Her poems have been published in Atlanta Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, American Journal of Poetry, Crab Orchard Review, The Gettysburg Review, Harvard Review, and elsewhere.

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Lang 371: Zero to Hero

Class Full

Instructor: Alli Marshall
Meets online via Zoom.
Wednesday evenings starting 10/19, 6:00-8:30. 

In this workshop we’ll use the monomyth, also known as the Hero’s Journey, as a template for telling a personal story of crisis, adventure, and transformation.

The monomyth is filled with archetypes found in ancient legends and modern films alike. They’re easy characters to recognize and identify with and, because they’re familiar, we can draw connections between those archetypal roles and the people and events we encounter in our own lives. 

Over the course of five weeks we’ll work to identify a personal story that, with some embellishment, can be retold as a contemporary Hero’s Journey. We’ll use each stage of the monomyth outline to structure our own stories. Class time will be used to write, share, and critique our works in progress. We’ll also talk about mythological archetypes as well as writing tools and prompts to work through stuck spots. 

There will be a weekly homework assignment in order to complete a draft of a short creative nonfiction piece by the end of the workshop.

Alli Marshall is a poet, fiction writer, and spoken word artist based in Asheville. She’s the author of the 2015 novel How to Talk to Rockstars and the 2017 chapbook It All Comes Rushing Back, as well as a number of zines. She was an arts writer and editor at alternative newsweekly Mountain Xpress for 17 years and currently directs AM/FM Broadcast, an artist development initiative.

Alli won the 2018 Ramsey Library Community Author Award and the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize (judged by Ron Rash) for her short story “Catching Out.” She received a 2019 Regional Artist Project Grant from the Asheville Area Arts Council for a collaborative performance about the Lilith archetype. Her most recent production, “The Top-Ten Superpowers of All Time,” will premiere at the 2022 Asheville Fringe Arts Festival.

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Lang 371: Layer by Layer: Crafting Voice in Fiction

Class Full

Instructor: Annie Frazier Crandell
Meets online via Zoom.
Tuesday evenings starting 10/18, 6:00-8:30. 

Want to hone and amplify the sense of voice in your fiction? In this generative workshop, students will have the opportunity either to generate new work from provided prompts or to revise an in-progress piece (flash fiction, short story, or short novel excerpt). Each student will receive line-by-line feedback on their writing from the instructor, as well as peer feedback during informal class-time sharing sessions. Weekly craft and fiction reading assignments will offer a deep understanding of the role of voice in fiction and a firm grasp of how the careful layering of craft elements like diction, syntax, sentence structure, rhythm, tone, attitude, description, point of view, and more can create a nuanced, unique sense of voice.

Annie Frazier Crandell lives in Asheville and works as a freelance editor, has previously taught for Flatiron Writers Room, and has 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.

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Lang 371: Writing for Audio Drama

Class Canceled

Instructor: Jamieson Ridenhour
Meets in-person at Hanger Hall School. 

Monday evenings starting 10/17, 6:00-8:30. 

Welcome to Night Vale, The Magnus Archives, Limetown, The Bright Sessions, Wolf-359. Audio drama—serialized fiction told in podcast form—has experienced an explosion of popularity in the US during the past decade. Even the most popular actual-play podcasts (The Adventure Zone, for instance) use elements of fiction writing to make themselves compelling. And none of the great acting, thrilling sound effects, and killer soundtracks matter without a well-written story at its heart. 

This class will give you the basic building blocks of writing audio drama, including planning, writing for actors, and building suspense in a serialized story. We’ll also talk about what it takes to produce an audio drama beyond the writing—with practical examples of recording, using sound effects, and working with actors.

Jamieson Ridenhour is the writer and producer of the popular audio drama Palimpsest, which critics have called “audio drama’s best foray into the Gothic.” He is also the author of the werewolf murder-mystery Barking Mad (Typecast, 2011) and writer and director of the award-winning short horror films Cornerboys and The House of the Yaga. His ghost play Grave Lullaby was a finalist for the Kennedy Center’s David Cohen Playwriting award in 2012. Jamie’s short fiction and poetry has appeared in Strange Horizons, Andromeda Spaceways Magazine, TheNewerYork, Across the Margins, Mirror Dance, and Architrave, among others, and has been podcast on Pseudopod, Cast of Wonders, and Radio Unbound.  His new play, Bloodbath: Victoria’s Secret, premiered in 2021. He has taught writing and literature for over twenty years, currently at Warren Wilson College in Swannanoa, NC.

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Lang 371: The Literary Ecosystem

Instructors: Caroline Christopoulos & Lauren Harr
Meets in-person at Hanger Hall School.
Tuesday evenings starting 10/18, 6:00-8:30. 

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 more than 20 years. 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.

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10-Week Classes

Lang 372: Developing Your Writing Toolbox

Instructor: Jacqui Castle
Meets online via Zoom.

Thursday evenings starting 9/22, 6:00-8:30.

In this highly generative fiction class, come ready to develop your writing toolbox! In the early weeks, we’ll participate in first-draft generative exercises including picture and word prompts, mixed media exercises, erasure, stream of consciousness writing, and more. Then, we’ll select our favorite creations, and try our hands at editing exercises such as POV changes, narration, sensory explorations, and more to flesh out and enrich our stories. Students will leave with a personalized toolbox of techniques to support their own unique creative process, and several projects to continue developing. We’ll have plenty of opportunities to share our writing in a supportive environment. Let’s get to it!

Jacqui Castle is an educator and novelist living and writing in the Blue Ridge Mountains near Asheville, North Carolina. She has been published in a variety of publications including Mountain Xpress, WNC Woman, Asheville Grit, and Explore Asheville. Her novel The Seclusion, which School Library Journal called “A must-have for all libraries and fans of scifi,” garnered Jacqui the title of 2020 Indie Author of the Year through the Indie Author Project (a collaboration between Library Journal and Biblioboard). Jacqui has taught creative writing workshops through the Carolina Mountains Literary Festival, the Young Eager Writers Association, Indie Author Project, the Writing Heights Writers Conference, and more. When not writing, Jacqui can be found hanging out with her family and consuming far too much caffeine.

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Lang 372: Making (and Remaking) a Scene: Revising Memoir and Personal Essay

Instructor: Sebastian Matthews
Meets online via Zoom.
Wednesday afternoons starting 9/21, 2:00-4:30. 

Do you slow the scene down, giving it room to breathe, or keep it brief and to the point? What makes for just the right balance of showing and telling? These questions often arise in the revision process. Others include: What story is being told, and why? What role (if any) does the narrator play as an “actor” in the story? How much remove do you want between the two? And are you looking back on previous experiences, bringing current matters to life, or some of both? 

Following these lines of questioning, we will spend the 10-week course investigating and helping each other write and revise personal essays and memoir chapters. As part of our process, we will be using a newly created “7 filters for Revision” method, which will allow us to move through our work one component at a time—voice, point of view, structure, etc.

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.

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Lang 472: Poetry Master Class: Radical Revision

Class Canceled

Instructor: Ken Chamlee
Meets online via Zoom.
Tuesday evenings starting 9/20, 6:00-8:00. 

Every poet has a folder of non-starter, dead-in-the-road, going nowhere drafts or partial drafts that were put away or given up on. Maybe there’s a couple of good lines, an image you like, an idea looking for a direction or a heart, a poem still hiding its secret.

Are you willing to get radical? Move that draft from the warmer to the broiler? Turn it upside down and shake it? Think lopping shears instead of fingernail clippers if need be. We will explore a variety of approaches to revising and re-visioning poems. So gather that clutch of rejected poems and unfinished drafts and brace up for the task of getting them into shape. Being polite and waiting for those poems to knock on your study door hasn’t worked. So let’s throw some tough love at them.

This class is not meant for fine-tuning nearly finished poems or for another round approving the published ones. They’re good to go. Bring the ones you know need work, the ones you believe in but haven’t figured out how to uncloset.

Kenneth Chamlee is a 2022 Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet for the North Carolina Poetry Society. His poems have appeared in The North Carolina Literary Review, Cold Mountain Review, Ekphrasis, Naugatuck River Review, THINK Journal, and many others. He won the GSU Review (Georgia State University) National Writing Award, ByLine Magazine’s National Poetry Chapbook Competition (Absolute Faith), the Longleaf Press Poetry Chapbook Competition (Logic of the Lost), and in 2004 the Word Journal Poetry Prize. He has received three Pushcart Prize nominations and his poems have appeared in seven editions of Kakalak: An Anthology of Carolina Poets. A book of poems, If Not These Things, is forthcoming from Kelsay Books in fall 2022.


15-Week Classes

Lang 373: Beyond the Rainbow: LGBTQ+ Poetry Workshop (For All Poets)

Instructor: Bruce Spang
Meets online via Zoom.
Wednesday evenings starting 8/31, 6:00-8:00. 

In this generative workshop, we will take a closer look at LGBTQ+ poets and their poetry to expand our own range of poetic expression. We will also explore how listening to different voices can uncover what we as straight (or LGBTQ) poets can write. 

In the last fifty years, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and other poets under the rainbow umbrella have not only found their poetic voices, but have shaped the way poetry is written. Against conventional norms, these poets have had to find the “true voice” within them to find coded ways to write about their lives, challenging not only what we write about, but how we write it. 

This class will explore the poems and poetic techniques of Langston Hughes, Mary Oliver, Hart Crane, Adrienne Rich, James Merrill, May Swenson, Thom Gunn, and Alan Ginsberg, among others. We will also look at unsung poets who wrote at the turn of the century and those who are revolutionizing poetry in our time, and will meet and talk with contemporary poets to hear their views on craft. By looking at poets who were much of their lives outsiders and had to mask what they felt, we will explore how to convey secrets in our poems; by looking at “out” poets in the contemporary scene, we will explore how to challenge the nature of poetry. 

We will use all these techniques to write our own poems that will be workshopped in class, hopefully finding our own “true voices” to give our poems greater depth and honesty. That is the task of every poet.

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 published in 2020. 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 lives in Candler, NC with his husband Myles Rightmire and their five dogs, five fish, and thirty birds.

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Lang 373: Landing the Story on the Page: A Fiction Workshop

Instructor: Cynn Chadwick
Meets in-person at Hanger Hall School.
Wednesday evenings starting 8/31, 6:00-8:00. 

Fiction can be boiled down to four key ideas: 

  • Only trouble is interesting in fiction
  • All characters must want something
  • If there is no place, there is no grounding
  • It is never why we write the story; it is always how we do it

We begin with that notion, anecdote, experience, observation, person, conversation which sparks the inspiration wandering around the outskirts of every storyteller’s mind, and is where craft works to bring these ideas from the landscapes of our minds to the vistas of the page. 

We will focus on the elements of craft: plot, character, dialogue, place, and spatial and temporal considerations. We will read, write, and critique the work of others in the workshop using crafting tools and guidelines to ask and answer the questions: Is there trouble? What does the character want? Then what happened? And “What if…?”

In our fifteen weeks, we will attempt to complete a 3000-4000 word short story, chapter opening, or novel excerpt as per each student’s needs. By the end of the workshop, the hope will be a completed and edited piece. There will be in-class exercises, so bring pencil and paper, along with your laptops. We will be critiquing the work of others so hard copies will be required at certain points in the workshop.

This workshop is meant for beginners and advanced fiction writers alike. Students may arrive to the workshop with the glimmer of an idea, the beginning of a story, or a novel chapter progress. If you’ve got it in you, this is the workshop that will help land that story solidly on the page!

Cynn Chadwick is a novelist and author of the Cat Rising series, Angels & Manners, As The Table Turns, That’s Karma, Baby…, Things That Women Do, and her soon to be released first historical fiction novel The Incorrigible Rogue (2023). Her novels have been nominated for the Lambda, Stonewall, Golden Crown, and Bywater Fiction awards. She is a retired Senior Lecturer from UNCA’s English Department where she taught creative writing and fiction workshop for over 20 years. She holds both an MA and MFA from Goddard College, and lives to write in the Blue Ridge Mountains with her beloved Springer Spaniel Andy.

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To ensure that students receive individual attention from the instructor, enrollment is limited. In some courses, the instructor’s permission is required for admission. See course descriptions where applicable.


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.