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2014 Southern Writers Symposium

Southern Writers Symposium at Methodist University

Friday, February 21, 2014 at 11:00 AM - Saturday, February 22, 2014 at 4:00 PM (EST)

2014 Southern Writers Symposium

Ticket Information

Ticket Type Sales End Price Fee Quantity
Full Symposium--MU Students, Faculty, and Staff Symposium (w/out lunch)
Students, faculty, and staff who wish to have lunch should purchase an MU staff, faculty or student lunch ticket.(See below.)
Ended Free $0.00
MU Students, Faculty, and Staff Symposium plus Lunch
Students, faculty and staff who wish to attend the Symposium including the luncheon.
Ended $10.00 $0.00
MU Students, Faculty, and Staff Symposium plus lunch and dessert   more info Ended $15.00 $1.82
Friday Night Dessert @6:30 p.m. and Reading   more info Ended $5.50 $0.00
Friday Night Reading   more info Ended Free $0.00

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Event Details


This year’s Southern Writers Symposium features Marjorie Hudson as our keynote speaker and reader on Saturday. The Symposium begins on Friday with a morning performance by Starr Seward, a National Poetry Slam Champion. We continue Friday evening with a reading by Charles Dodd White and members of the Veterans Writing Collective. On Saturday, two publishing panels, one with publisher Kevin Morgan Watson of Press 53, will help you with strategies for publishing your work, and much more, including a reading by poet Shannon Ward.  

Choose from fiction, poetry, or memoir for your afternoon workshop. (You’ll indicate your choice as part of the registration process.)  

A limited number of one-on-one mini-consults are available at this year’s Symposium. If you are interested, please see the instructions by that ticket choice.

Attendees opting for a vegetarian lunch should indicate that on the registration form. 

See the full schedule with presenters' bios below!


Friday, February 21

Symposium opens

11:00 a.m.: Spoken-word poetry performance by Starr Seward

Yarborough AuditoriumFree and open to the public

6:30 to 7:00 p.m.: Registration and dessert

Medical Lecture Hall Foyer—Conference participants

7:00 p.m.: Reading by Charles Dodd White and members of the Veterans Writing Collective

Medical Lecture Hall—Free and open to the public


Saturday, February 22

 9:00 a.m.: Registration Opens

Medical Lecture Hall Foyer

 (Book sales from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.)

 Morning Events for Conference ParticipantsMedical Lecture Hall

9:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.: Introduction of the Emerging Writers Fiction Contest winners, followed by first place winner’s reading

10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.: Authors' Talk—Our writers give tips and answer publishing questions

11:00 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.: Break

Medical Lecture Hall Foyer

11:15 a.m. to 11:45 p.m. Publisher’s Perspective—Kevin Morgan Watson of Press 53 discusses submission and publishing from the other side of the computer screen. 


12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.: Keynote Speaker—Lunch and Reading with Marjorie Hudson, author of Accidental Birds of the Carolinas—Alumni Dining Room—ticketed event

1:30 p.m. to 1:45 p.m.: Break

1:45 p.m. to 2:15 p.m.: Reading by Shannon Ward 

 2:15 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.: Introduction of the Emerging Writers Poetry Contest winners by Shannon Ward, followed by a reading of the first place poem

 Afternoon Refreshments Available

2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.:  Workshops for Assigned Conference Participants

Choose one of the following: 

Memoir Workshop: “Discover Your Life by Writing It” with Elaine Neil Orr

 Fiction Workshop: “Making a Map of the World: How to Evoke Place in Prose” 

with Charles Dodd White

Poetry Workshop: “Unlocking the Landscape” with Shannon Ward

Breakout rooms—Medical Lecture Building

Assigned Conference Participants



Featured Writers and Speakers

Marjorie Hudson is a writer, teacher and educator. Her debut story collection, Accidental Birds of the Carolinas, a PEN/Hemingway Honorable Mention for Distinguished First Fiction and a Novello Literary Award Finalist, offers stories connected by place, exploring newcomers and old timers, community and transformation in the rural South. Her creative nonfiction book Searching For Virginia Dare was a North Carolina Arts Council Notable Book. Her writing has been published in Story, Storytelling Magazine, Garden & Gun, Yankee, West Branch, National Parks, American Land Forum, and North Carolina Literary Reviewand has won many honors, including a Blumenthal Award and two Pushcart Special Mentions.




Elaine Neil Orr writes fiction, memoir, and poetry. Her newest book is A Different Sun: A Novel of Africa (Berkley/Penguin, 2013) and her memoir, Gods of Noonday (Virginia, 2003), was a Top-20 Book Sense selection. Orr has published extensively in literary magazines including The Missouri Review, Blackbird, Shenandoah, and Image Journal. Her short stories and short memoirs have won several Pushcart Prize nominations and competition prizes. She has been awarded grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the North Carolina Arts Council, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She is associate editor of a collection of essays on international childhoods, Writing Out of Limbo, and the author of two scholarly books. She lives in Raleigh, NC.




Starr Seward is a National Poetry Slam Champion (2008), SouthernFried Poetry Slam Finalist (2008), and currently ranked amongst the top 20 female performance poets in the world (WoWPS 2013). As a facilitator for Sacrificial Poets, her mission is to guide the youth toward inspiration by showing them the power of their own voice and instilling them with the confidence to use it. Starr is currently a service member with the NC LiteracyCorps.


Charles Dodd White has been a Marine, a fishing guide, and a journalist. He is the recipient of the Jean Ritchie Fellowship, an individual artist grant from the North Carolina Arts Council, and is the author of the story collection, Sinners of Sanction County, and the novel, Lambs of Men, and co-editor of the contemporary Appalachian short story anthology, Degrees of Elevation. His next novel, A Shelter of Others, is due for release this year by Fiddleblack Press. He was born in Atlanta, Georgia, and grew up in both the city and the woods. He lives in Candler, NC.




Shannon Ward is author of the poetry chapbook, Blood Creek (Longleaf Press, 2013). She was a winner of the 2013 Nazim Hikmet Poetry Prize, and her work has received support from Yaddo, The Anderson Center, and Hypatia-in-the-Woods. Her poems have appeared in Great River Review, Superstition Review, Tar River Poetry, and others. She received an MFA in Poetry from North Carolina State University in 2009 and she teaches at Methodist University. She lives in Fayetteville, NC, with her husband and two cats.




Kevin Morgan Watson is founder of Press 53 and serves as editor-in-chief. As a publisher, he has worked with writers ranging from first-time published authors to winners of the National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize. As a writer, his short stories, poetry, and essays have appeared in numerous publications, including the 2002 TallGrass Writers Guild/Outrider Press anthology Take Two—They’re Small, where his short story “Sunny Side Up” won first prize. Kevin also serves as an advisor for student adaptation of short stories to screenplays with the screenwriting faculty at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, School of Filmmaking in Winston-Salem, NC.

Consultation Staff 


Beth Copeland is most recently the author of Transcendental Telemarketer, a book of poems that earned second place in the Poetry Council of North Carolina's 2013 Oscar Arnold Young Award for best poetry book by a North Carolina writer. She was raised in Japan, India, and North Carolina. Her earlier book, Traveling Through Glass, received the 1999 Bright Hill Press Poetry Book Award, and her poems have been published in many literary journals, including e: The Emily Dickinson Awards Anthology (2002 and 2003), Hunger Mountain, The Kerf, and The Ledge. Her poems have received awards from, among others, Peregrine and the North Carolina Poetry Society, and have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.




Brenda Jernigan is the author of the novel Every Good and Perfect Gift. Her short fiction has won awards including the Robert Ruark Prize and the Rupert Hughes Writing Award and has appeared The Crescent Review and North Carolina Literary Review, among others.  She has also published  a mystery, Angel’s Aura. She received a BA from UNC-Chapel Hill, an MS from Old Dominion University, and an MFA from North Carolina State University. She’s had the good fortune to study with both Lee Smith and Jill McCorkle.




Megan Roberts is the author of the chapbook Matters of Record. In April 2010, she was awarded North Carolina State’s Academy of American Poets Prize. Her poem “Blackberries” was published in Albatross, a journal. In March 2011, her story “Gestures” was published in Smokelong Quarterly, and her fiction has appeared in 971Menu, The News & Observer, Our Stories, and The Raleigh Quarterly. Roberts has an MA in English from East Carolina University and an MFA in Fiction Writing from North Carolina State University, where she worked under the direction of
Jill McCorkle.

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Have questions about 2014 Southern Writers Symposium? Contact Southern Writers Symposium at Methodist University

When & Where

Methodist University
5400 Ramsey St
Fayetteville, NC 28311

Friday, February 21, 2014 at 11:00 AM - Saturday, February 22, 2014 at 4:00 PM (EST)

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Southern Writers Symposium at Methodist University

Created by English professor Sue Kimball in 1982, the Southern Writers Symposium celebrates emerging and established writers with readings, workshops, and contests.  

  Contact the Organizer
2014 Southern Writers Symposium
Fayetteville, NC Events Conference

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