Registration will open on November 2 for our Spring 2021 courses! Check out our course descriptions below.
**Please note that all classes will be held remotely, via Zoom/Google Hangouts or other video conferencing platforms.**
Lang 371: Introduction to Feature Writing Workshop: Slouching Towards the Zeitgeist
Instructor: Mark MacNamara
Starts March 17, Wednesday evenings, 6:00-8:30 p.m.
Features are largely the province of magazines and newspaper style sections, most famously the style section of the Washington Post in the 1970s. Early masters of the form include Mailer, Capote, Sontag, Lillian Ross, Joan Didion, and Gay Talese, all of whom helped kick start “literary journalism” and ‘creative nonfiction’. More recently you think of Annie Lowry, Masha Gessen, and Jeffrey Goldberg. The form extends from personal essays to obits, to reviews, to hybrids of every kind.
This five-week course includes extensive readings and explores how to tell an engaging nonfiction story, along with the mechanicals: how to develop story ideas, find sources and interview them; how to organize material; how to write a compelling lede and then sustain a story; how to create a mystery, or pose a question to draw the reader through a narrative; and most important, how to develop abstraction that justifies the effort to read a lengthy piece.
The course was originally designed for journalists but may be of interest to marketeers responsible for advertorials and corporate storytelling. Students are required — unless impractical — to finish the course with a pitch letter and a 1,200-word piece ready for market. The premise of this course is that you write what you read, and you show don’t tell.
Mark MacNamara has written for such publications as Nautilus, Salon, The Stanford Social Innovation Review, and Vanity Fair. For the last nine years, he’s been a senior writer with San Francisco Classical Voice (SFCV.org). Many of his pieces also appear in ArtsJournal.com. MacNamara has won awards in both fiction and non, including annual awards from the San Francisco Press Club. He began his career at the University of Virginia with the great short story writer, Peter Taylor. His website is macnamband.com. See muckrack.com for a portfolio.
Lang 371: Transcending Mediums: Communicating Change in Fiction & Nonfiction Writing
Instructor: Mickey Snowdon
Starts March 15, Monday evenings, 6:00-8:30 p.m.
Heraclitus said that the only constant in life is change, and this mantra rings true for every generation. Society currently finds itself at a crossroads of social, economic, political, and environmental decisions, all of which come with their own repercussions to ourselves and all future humans. “Transcending Mediums” will explore the concept of change from historical, modern, and future angles, and in mediums ranging from short story to blog writing, and everything in between. This course will help you develop your ability to communicate change effectively and creatively to various audiences, both real and imagined. Through our writing, we will seek to answer questions including, “How will future generations interpret our country’s response to the current pandemic?”, and “How can my personal relationship with my environment influence others?” Additionally, this course will act as a cathartic opportunity for us to write about our own experiences with change to each other, our families and friends, and past and future generations.
Mickey Snowdon is an alumnus of the Master of Liberal Arts and Sciences program at UNC Asheville, where he also received his certificate in Environmental and Cultural Sustainability. His thesis examined climate injustice in the southeastern US and climate gentrification. Mickey has worked professionally in environmental communications and marketing, has published in various literary journals and online spaces, and is a freelance writer in Asheville. Visit Mickey Snowdon Professional Writer to see some of his work.
Lang 371: Black Poets from the 20th & 21st Century
Instructor: Eric Steineger
Starts March 15, Monday evenings, 6:00-8:30 p.m.
Black poets have always been an integral part of the poetic landscape. This course examines their unique and powerful contribution to poetry and to the canon, starting with the poets of the Harlem Renaissance and leading to present day. Students will learn about such poets as Georgia Douglas Johnson, Gwendolyn Brooks, Derek Walcott, Lucille Clifton, Yosef Komunyakaa, Terrance Hayes, and many others. Each week, students will be expected to write a poem that is inspired by Black poetry through a response poem or a poem in the style of one of the poets studied.
Eric Steineger teaches English at Mars Hill University. He is the Managing Editor and Senior Poetry Editor of The Citron Review, while his poetry, nonfiction, and reviews have been featured in such places as The Los Angeles Review, Waxwing, Rattle: The Poets Respond, The Night Heron Barks, and Tinderbox. His chapbook, From a Lisbon Rooftop, is based on themes from Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa’s The Book of Disquiet and is available at Plan B Press. Each summer, he teaches poetry to high school students in the Great Smokies Young Writers Workshop. Occasionally, he curates poetry events for Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center.
Lang 372: How to Proceed? That is the Question (Or Scratch That)
Instructor: Audra Coleman
Starts February 15, Monday evenings, 6:00-8:30 p.m.
“Given the initial talent…writing is largely a matter of application and hard work, of writing and rewriting endlessly, until you are satisfied that you have said what you want to say as clearly and simply as possible. For me that usually means many, many revisions.” –Rachel Carson
This is it! This is your opportunity to pull out those half-finished pieces stacked on the corner of your desk gathering dust! Sometimes a fresh perspective is all a piece really needs. Are there pieces you want to experiment with but just haven’t had the time or direction to re-work and then re-work it again until you are satisfied? This class is designed as a workshop to support writers in their effort to revise and edit those pieces that leave them perplexed about what needs to happen next. What parts need to be cut? What parts need to be developed further? What structure would best serve the piece? What scenes need to be rendered more fully? Is the deeper significance of the piece fully understood? Are there awkward sentences that need a solid re-write? You get the point.
This class is structured to give the reader both personal instruction and group feedback and, most importantly, the time and space to undertake the task of serious revision. Mini-lessons on craft will be offered each class to best assist the writer in their individual revision process. Light reading, specifically chosen to broaden the options of students, will also be assigned. This is the class where you get to roll- up your sleeves and do the hard work of completing your vision.
Audra Coleman’s Audra Coleman’s work in poetry, fiction and creative non-fiction has appeared recently or is forthcoming in WNC Woman, Good Mother Project, Mothers Always Write, 3288 Review, Kestrel, Palaver, Quail Bell Magazine, Great Smokies Review, Five on the Fifth, Into the Void, Star 82 Review, Typehouse Literary Magazine, Penn Review, Corvus Review, Mojave River Press, Hoot and Pretty Owl Poetry. She graduated from UNC Asheville’s Master of Liberal Arts and Science Program with a concentration in creative writing and has recently been named the winner of the 2018 Confluence Award for Excellence in Creative Writing awarded by the Association of Graduate Liberal Studies Programs. She currently teaches creative non-fiction courses for the Great Smokies Writing Program.
Lang 372: First Flash and Beyond: An Exploration of Flash Fiction
Instructor: Annie Frazier Crandell
Starts February 16, Tuesday evenings, 6:00-8:30 p.m.
Flash fiction is a literary genre in its own right—generally defined as short stories of 1,000 words or fewer. Studying and writing flash can also be an inspiring springboard for longer pieces of fiction. In this generative workshop, students will discover the distillation and intensity of flash fiction through readings from flash craft books and anthologies of contemporary and classic flash, weekly writing assignments with detailed responses to each assignment from the instructor, engaging class discussions, and plenty of opportunities to share in-progress work with the class.
This course is designed to appeal to writers of all stripes—those aiming to write flash fiction for its own sake, 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 projects of any length. As such, while the writing assignments will focus on creating a new piece of flash fiction each week, the class will also spend time discussing how elements of flash fiction can inform, inspire, and give rise to longer short stories and even novels.
Annie Frazier Crandell lives in Asheville and works as a freelance editor, a fiction reader for Longleaf Review, and has previously taught classes for Great Smokies Writing Program and Flatiron Writers Room. Her fiction and poetry can be found in Appalachian Review, Paper Darts, Hypertrophic Literary, Longleaf Review, North Carolina Literary Review, Still: The Journal, and elsewhere. Annie’s work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best Small Fictions and has been a finalist for Best of the Net. Learn more at anniefrazier.com.
Lang 372: Reading Poems Like an Editor: A Poetry Workshop
Instructor: Luke Hankins
Starts February 14, Sunday afternoons, 3:00-5:30 p.m.
In this class we’ll focus on evaluating poems while inhabiting the mindset of an editor with limited space and lots of material vying for publication. We’ll read and discuss several recent issues of literary magazines, and each participant will submit a group of five poems as a hypothetical submission for the group to discuss and evaluate. We’ll ask such questions as: What makes a poem or group of poems stand out? What might negatively impact an editor’s feelings toward a submission? What strategies might we develop for grouping poems together to form a coherent submission? How do we find editors/venues that might be interested in our work?
Luke Hankins is the author of two poetry collections, Radiant Obstacles and Weak Devotions, as well as a collection of essays, The Work of Creation. A collection of his translations from the French of Stella Vinitchi Radulescu, A Cry in the Snow & Other Poems, was released by Seagull Books in 2019. His work has appeared in numerous periodicals, including 32 Poems, American Literary Review, New England Review, Poetry International, and World Literature Today. Hankins serves as Senior Editor at Asheville Poetry Review and is the founder and editor of Orison Books.
Lang 472: Poetry Master Class
Instructor: Eric Nelson
Starts February 17, Wednesday afternoons, 4:00-6:30 p.m.
This workshop for experienced writers will focus on generating one new poem per week, mostly in free verse but we will write poems in form as well. Class time will be divided between workshopping poems by class members and discussing several model poems which will serve as the basis for the following week’s writing assignment. Enrollment is limited to 10.
Eric Nelson’s most recent poetry collection, Some Wonder, won the 2015 Gival Press Poetry Award. He has published five other books, including Terrestrials, chosen by Maxine Kumin for the X.J. Kennedy Award, and The Interpretation of Waking Life, winner of the University of Arkansas Press Poetry Award. His next book, Switchback: New and Selected Poems, will be published by Salmon Poetry Press in 2022. He has lived in Asheville since 2015 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Lang 473: Workshoppers at Home: Online Creative Prose Workshop
Instructor: Vicki Lane
Starts January 28, Thursday evenings, 6:00-8:30 p.m.
Here’s your chance to have up to sixty pages of your creative prose – novel excerpts, short stories, essays, memoir – carefully line edited by the instructor and thoughtfully assessed by a group of your fellow writers, concentrating on what is working and what needs attention. And all in the comfort of your home! We will meet online though Zoom, a venue that allows you to see and hear your fellow classmates.
This fifteen-session workshop is aimed at writers with work (novel, short stories, memoir, or other creative prose) in progress, almost completed, or completed but in need of a final polishing. Each student will submit up to sixty pages (twenty at the beginning of the course, twenty during weeks 6-10, and the final twenty during weeks 11-15) for discussion and critique by the class and close editing with written comments by the instructor. We will focus on the effective use of key techniques such as creating an intriguing opening line and a compelling first chapter, creating a likable and/or engaging protagonist, weaving in back story in small, manageable doses, setting up a dilemma that begs to be resolved, making the most of action scenes—in general, producing a page-turner. We will attempt to weed out the mistakes that mark the amateur writer and turn each student into a discerning editor of their own work. The goal will be to polish those pages till they are ready to catch the attention of an agent, an editor, a publisher and make them ask for more. The reference text will be the highly acclaimed Don’t Sabotage Your Submission by career manuscript editor Chris Roerden (Bella Rosa books –ISBN 978-1-933523-31-6.)
Vicki Lane is the author of the historical novel And the Crows Took Their Eyes (2020) and The Day of Small Things, as well as the Elizabeth Goodweather mystery series (Signs in the Blood, Art’s Blood, Old Wounds, In a Dark Season, Under the Skin.) She has taught with Great Smokies since 2006 and loves seeing her students become better writers and self-editors. Learn more about Vicki and her writing at her website http://vickilanemysteries.com/ and her blog http://vickilanemysteries.blogspot.com/.
Lang 473: Prose Master Class
Instructor: Elizabeth Lutyens
Starts January 26, 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 working on an ongoing project: a collection of essays or stories, a novel, a memoir. The writer should have at least sixty pages ready to submit for three critiques during the semester. 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 twelve 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 (email@example.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.