State’s writers to gather on Western’s campus for conference July 31

CULLOWHEE – More than 80 writers from across the state will meet to read from their works and honor Raleigh author Sally Buckner during the annual N.C. Writers Conference on Saturday, July 31, at Western Carolina University.

Conference sessions open to the general public include two panel discussions and a performance of poetry and music.

The first panel discussion, “Writing from the Land,” will begin at 10 a.m. and include panelists Charles Price, Amy Blackmarr, Michael Garrett, Leigh Wilkerson, George Ellison and Ron Rash, Western’s John A. Parris and Dorothy Luxton Parris Distinguished Professor in Appalachian Cultural Studies.

A 2 p.m. discussion, “Hands All Around – Reaching Out to Writers Across the State,” will include panelists who are all directors or past-directors of statewide writers’ organizations – Marsha Warren, Nancy Simpson, Karen Ackerson, Bill Blackley and Debbie McGill.

Both discussions will be held in the Multipurpose Room of Western’s A.K. Hinds University Center.

Also open to the public will be a 5 p.m. performance of “A Southern Quilt of Poetry and Music” featuring pianist Greg McCallum, Ron Rash and Sylva poet Kathryn Stripling Byer. The performance will take place in the recital hall of Western’s Coulter Building.

Other events open only to N.C. Writers Conference members include a noon lunch at Western’s Mountain Heritage Center, followed by a business meeting and presentation of an excerpt from Sylva author Gary Carden’s new play, “The Prince of Dark Corners;” a 6 p.m. reception in the University Center Grandroom; and a 7 p.m. banquet in the Grandroom honoring Sally Buckner for her contributions to the literary heritage of the state.

The conference at Western is being co-sponsored by City Lights Bookstore in Sylva and Western’s English department. English department faculty members Joe Meigs, Mary Adams, Brian Railsback and Newton Smith also will present readings from their works.

For more information about the conference, contact Western’s English department at (828) 227-7264 or City Lights Bookstore at (828) 586-9499.