Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

2017 Writers’ Day

July 28, 2017 @ 8:00 am - 4:30 pm


July 28, 2017
8:00 am - 4:30 pm
Event Category:

Event Date
Friday, July 28, 2017 – 8:00am to 4:30pm

Registration Information
Tickets $30, Students attend free

Important: Buying your ticket ensures entry to the Writers’ Day event, but does not register you for workshops. To register for workshops fill out the form here after purchasing your ticket.

Buy Tickets

Pre-registration is highly recommended via the link above
Download the Writers’ Day brochure (PDF)

Event Schedule

8:00 – 9:00am Registration
9:00 – 10:00am Introduction of Speakers and Brief Readings
10:00 – 11:00am Workshops Session 1
11:30am – 12:00pm Book Sales and Signings
12:00 – 1:00pm Lunch
1:15 – 2:45pm Workshops Session 2
3:00 – 4:30pm Workshops Session 3
7:00 – 9:00pm “An Evening of Words and Music”

Registration includes admission to the “Words and Music” event at Heartwood.

Writers’ Workshops

10:00am – Using Family Stories to Make Art
Presenter – Jim Minick

Writing a story sounds easy, right? Simply take notes from that verbose uncle, change the names, and voilà! But it usually isn’t so easy nor without risks. This session will explore the how’s, why’s, and hazards of creating art interlaced with stories, advice, and discussion.

10:00am – Food and Drink in Poetry: The Techniques, Trappings, and Themes
Presenter – Thorpe Moeckel

As the chef saying goes: “Hunger is the best sauce,” so it is with poetry. In this session, we will explore a feast of poems and prompts that use food’s many sensory and cultural energies to channel the varieties of human hunger.

10:00am – Playwriting Methodology
Presenter – John Hardy

The basics of playwriting philosophy will be discussed. Learn the beginnings of formulating a play and the methods used in generating a dramatic text from beginning to end. Participants are encouraged to bring notebook and pencil in order to participate in the stages of the methodology. Printed materials of the workshop will be made available to take home.

1:15pm – Finding the Center in Fiction
Presenter – Mark Powell

How do you invoke emotion in a reader? What do we mean when we say a story or novel is “powerful” or “emotionally true”? Using work by Andre Dubus and John Cheever as a guide, we will discuss how writers discover the emotional center in their work so that writing becomes not a linear plot-driven act, but an emotion-driven act of scaffolding.

1:15pm – Looking at You: Notes on the Second Person, its Pleasures, Risks, and Surprises
Presenter – Thorpe Moeckel

This session will explore the potential hazards and heavens of using the second-person point of view. We will examine a variety of poems that employ the “you” in different ways, discuss (and work with) prompts, and also explore the second-person perspective as a revision strategy.

1:15pm – Playwriting Methodology Applied: The Monologue
Presenter – John Hardy

Participants will be asked to follow along, step-by-step, writing in conjunction with our presentation as we demonstrate methods used to generate a monologue. Participants should bring a notebook and pencil or other note-taking device. Attendees may participate or observe.

3:00pm – Finding a Voice: Yours and Your Characters
Presenter – Jim Minick

Proust writes: “Every reader is …the reader of his own self. The writer’s work is merely a kind of optical instrument which he offers to the reader to enable him to discern what, without this book, he would perhaps never have perceived himself. And the recognition by the reader in his own self of what the book says is the proof of its veracity.”

That veracity starts with voice. How do you develop yours and your characters’ voices, especially if those characters are very different from you? This craft talk will explore these questions regarding voice along with stories, advice, and discussion.

3:00pm – That Awkward Moment
Presenter – Mark Powell

How do you render tension in dialogue? What happens when two people are locked in a difficult conversation? Using a story by James Salter as an example, we will examine how dialogue, particularly in tense situations, can drive fiction in a way exposition cannot.

Writers’ Biographies

John Hardy

Over the course of a 40-year career, John Hardy has directed over 120 professional productions. As an actor, he has performed many of the great roles including Hamlet, Macbeth, and Tom Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie. As a playwright, he has had over 100 productions of fifteen plays produced across the country and overseas. He has worked at Barter Theatre, Cincinnati Playhouse, Nebraska Shakespeare, and Off-Broadway at Lamb’s Theatre. He holds a Ph.D. from Texas Tech University.

Jim Minick

Jim Minick is the author of five books. The most recent is Fire Is Your Water, a novel published this year. His memoir, The Blueberry Years, is the Best Nonfiction Book of the Year from Southern Independent Booksellers Association. His work has appeared in many publications including Poets & Writers, Shenandoah, Orion, Oxford American, San Francisco Chronicle, and The Sun. He teaches at Augusta University and Converse College.

Sharyn McCrumb said of Jim Minick’s The Blueberry Years that “This charming, homespun memoir of organic blueberry farming (is) written with lyrical grace by a poet-scholar.”

Janisse Ray has called Minick a “shining writer. . .from the Southern landscape” who writes about “his Appalachian farm and his engagement in a life that makes sense. In impressive vignettes, Minick sketches his life and his desire to know the depths of it.”

Thorpe Moeckel

Thorpe Moeckel is the author of a nonfiction book, Watershed Days, and three books of poems — Odd Botany, Making a Map of the River, and Venison: A Poem. Chapbooks include Meltlines, Off Owl’s Head, and The Guessing Land. His work has been recipient of NEA, Javits, Hoyns, Sustainable Arts, and Kenan Fellowships. His latest book, Arcadia Road: A Trilogy, was published in 2015 by Etruscan Press. He teaches at Hollins University.

Brian Gilmore writing in Fjord has compared Thorpe Moeckel to Gary Snyder and Barry Lopez. He also wrote, “Moeckel’s writing is careful and easy, snippets of precious life that reveal and argue for the majesty of simplicity.”

Catherine MacDonald in Blackbird said “Moeckel’s deep. . .affinity for wild places is enacted in the language of his poems.”

Mark Powell

Mark Powell is the author of five novels including Small Treasons published in June, 2017 from Tyrus/Simon & Schuster. He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Breadloaf and Sewanee Writers’ Conferences, and in 2014 was a Fulbright Fellow to Slovakia. In 2009, he received the Chaffin Award for contributions to Appalachian literature. He holds degrees from Yale Divinity School, the University of South Carolina, and the Citadel. He teaches at Appalachian State University.

Ron Rash has called Mark Powell “The best Appalachian novelist of his generation.”

Author Bob Shacochis wrote of Powell’s The Sheltering that it is “the work of a story-teller at the height of his power.”

Words and Music

$10 for the general public / All participants registered for Writers’ Day will be admitted FREE

The Writers’ Day events will feature a grand finale showcase of readings by participants John Hardy, Jim Minick, Thorpe Moeckel, and Mark Powell. The authors will be accompanied by regional celebrities and award-winning guitar duo Wyatt Rice and Claiborne Woodall.

Rice and Woodall frequently play as a guitar duo together throughout the region. Wyatt Rice is a member of the Tony Rice Unit and a master of the new acoustic style of flat-picked guitar. He has frequently performed on the Grand Ole Opry and with numerous artists including Alison Krauss, Ricky Skaggs, and the Lonesome River Band. Claiborne Woodall has placed highly in several guitar competitions and performed with numerous acoustic groups throughout the region. He has performed at the Smithsonian Institution, NPR radio, Floydfest, Bristol Rhythm and Roots, and acoustic venues throughout the East.