Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Jul. 31-Aug. 1, 2009: NC Writers Conference

July 31 - August 1, 2009
North Carolina Writers Conference
Little River Golf & Resort
Carthage / Pinehurst, NC
"Our 60th Splendid Summer"
Ruth Moose, Honoree

What a pleasure it was for Sally Logan, Pat Riviere-Seel, and me to plan this year's NC Writers Conference honoring Ruth Moose, of Pittsboro. Each year at the end of July, Conference members and their guests meet at a different location across North Carolina to hold programs and honor a North Carolina writer or literary leader at the Saturday night banquet.

Ruth Moose—highly regarded writer, editor, critic, and teacher—was chosen for her talents as a writer and long-time teacher and leader in the literary community. She is the author of numerous books of fiction and poetry. Her short story collections include Rules and Secrets (Pure Heart Press, Main Street Rag Publisher), a reissue of stories from the earlier books The Wreath Ribbon Quilt and Other Stories and Dreaming in Color. Her poetry collections include Making the Bed (Sandstone Publishing), Smith Grove (Sow’s Ear Press), Finding Things in the Dark (Briarpatch Press), To Survive (Book Mark Press, Univ. of Missouri), as well as her just-released collection The Librarian and Other Poems (Main Street Rag Publishing).

Ruth is on the Creative Writing Faculty at UNC-Chapel Hill, a position she has held since 1996. Her work has been published in Atlantic Monthly, New Delta Review, Yankee, The Nation, Christian Century, Southern Poetry Review, and numerous other magazines and literary journals. It has also frequently been anthologized and taught in classes. Her honors include several PEN Awards for Syndicated Fiction, a Robert Ruark Award for Short Story, North Carolina Writers Fellowship, MacDowell Fellowship, and Oscar Arnold Young Book Award for Poetry.

Friday night's Conference program offered an abbreviated performance of "A Thousand Things Time Will Never Let Us Say: The Correspondence of James & Katharine Boyd and Friends," a readers' theater performance based on years of research done by author Stephen Smith. It was performed by Stephen Smith, Shelby Stephenson, Marsha Warren, and friends. Afterward Ruth read from The Librarian. Mostly she chose humorous poems for her reading--and kept the audience bent double with laughter.

Saturday's program, planned by Sally Logan, consisted of two morning panels. The first was "On Readings, Reviews, and Interviews," by Kay Grismer, The Country Bookshop; Faye Dasen, Features Editor, The Pilot; and D. G. Martin, host of NC Bookwatch. The second panel on "Writing for Children and Young Adults" was offered by authors Eleanora E. Tate, Lisa Williams Kline, and Joyce Moyer Hostetter.

The Saturday afternoon program, presented by Georgann Eubanks, was a virtual literary tour of the Piedmont region of North Carolina, focusing on writers' houses. Her program was based on the second volume of her three-part series, North Carolina Literary Trails. Each volume features numerous trails mapped out for either the mountains, Piedmont, or coast.

At the Saturday night banquet--emceed by Joy Acey--Sally Buckner, Bland Simpson, John York, and Valerie Yow paid tribute to Ruth. Also, letters of tribute from Mignon Ballard, Joseph Bathanti, Doris Betts, Marianne Gingher, Johnsie Markham, Dannye Romine Powell, and Dartha Whitis were read.

The NCWC, begun in 1950, celebrated its theme of “Our 60th Splendid Summer” this year. Chairing this event was a huge task, but it brought me great satisfaction to see about a hundred members and guests coming together to enjoy the programs, visit with fellow authors and friends, honor Ruth Moose, and look back with fondness at the organization's past. Next year's Conference, chaired by Sally Logan, will honor author and musician Bland Simpson.

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