Friday, June 1, 2012

Where to learn to write this summer

Things to do this summer: Grow tomatoes. Hit the beach. Learn to write.

Like sunburns on a 90-degree day, writing workshops are popping up across the Carolinas in coming months. They’ll focus on memoir and nonfiction, boosting creativity, poetry and fiction. And with luck, they’ll teach students to write similes better than the one that opened this paragraph.

Costs vary, from $10 to hundreds of dollars. So do workshop lengths. Some are a single afternoon. Others run several days.

For a county-by-county list of N.C. workshops, you can subscribe to the N.C. Writers’ Network’s weekly email blasts at

Peruse the list, and you’ll find that the John C. Campbell Folk School offers writing classes through the summer. So does the Writers’ Workshop of Asheville, which holds sessions in Asheville and Charlotte.

In Durham, Duke University’s Center for Documentary Studies holds a master nonfiction writing class Aug. 6-11. For students entering grades five through eight, Wake Forest University hosts the Great American Writers’ Camp July 9-14.

Other workshops include:

The S.C. Writers’ Workshop writers’ intensive, June 16 in Rock Hill. It features former Observer columnist Tommy Tomlinson and Irene Blair Honeycutt, a poet and former teacher at Central Piedmont Community College. To register: or 803-289-6491. The price: $10, including lunch.

The N.C. Writers’ Network’s Squire Summer Writing Residency. This year’s residency is July 19-22 at Queens University of Charlotte. Students can choose from workshops in creative nonfiction with Pat MacEnulty (“Wait Until Tomorrow”), poetry with Morri Creech (“Field Knowledge”) or fiction with Robert Inman (“Captain Saturday”).

More information: or 336-293-8844.

The Hub City Writers Project’s Writing in Place conference at Spartanburg’s Wofford College. Set for July 13-15, it offers workshops in multiple genres.

Faculty include Anna Jean Mayhew (“The Dry Grass of August”) in fiction and Ruta Sepetys (“Between Shades of Gray”) in young-adult fiction.

More information: or 864-577-9349.

Writing workshops have proliferated in recent years. N.C. Writers Network Executive Director Ed Southern thinks that’s a good thing. “It shows there’s a great desire to tell stories and communicate in something more than 140 characters,” he says.

Actually, it’s probably only a matter of time before someone offers a tweet-writing workshop. When I hear about it, I’ll let you know.