Writers Week 2014: November 3–7

(details TBA)


Writers Week 2013: November 4–8

Each year, Writers Week brings together visiting writers of local and national interest, UNCW students, and members of the general public with an interest in literature and writing. Activities throughout the week include workshops, panels, and readings.



Natasha Tretheway

Natasha Trethewey is currently serving her second appointment as the U.S. Poet Laureate, as designated by the Library of Congress. She is the State Poet Laureate of Mississippi. Trethewey’s most recent poetry collection, Thrall, was published by Houghton Mifflin in 2012. She won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for Native Guard in 2007. Trethewey received the inaugural Cave Canem Poetry Prize for Domestic Work in 1999. She published her poetry collection, Bellocq’s Ophelia, with Graywolf in 2002. Her nonfiction book Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast was released in 2010. Trethewey will read from her work at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 7, in Kenan Auditorium.

Visiting Writers, Agents, and Editors

Xhenet Aliu

Xhenet Aliu is author of Domesticated Wild Things and Other Stories, winner of the 2012 Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Fiction. Her fiction and essays have appeared in journals such as Glimmer Train, Hobart, the Barcelona Review, Necessary Fiction, and elsewhere. She has also received grants, scholarships, and fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, The Elizabeth George Foundation, and the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, among others. Currently, she lives in Athens, Georgia, after recent stints in New York City, Montana, and Utah.

Jin Auh

Jin Auh was born in Seoul, Korea and attended the University of Virginia. She has been with The Wylie Agency, an international literary agency with offices in New York and London, since 1995. The Wylie Agency has been in businessfor over thirty years and represents, among others, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Martin Amis, Shani Boianjiu, NoViolet Bulawayo, Lan Samantha Chang, Kiran Desai, Louise Erdrich, Mary Gaitskill, A. M. Homes, David Leavitt, Yiyun Li, Chinelo Okparanta, Emily Ruskovich, John Jeremiah Sullivan, Justin Torres, Wells Tower, John Wray, Orhan Pamuk, Salvador Plascencia, Philip Roth, Salman Rushdie, Bennett Sims, the Estates of Saul Bellow, Roberto Bolaño, Jorge Luis Borges, Raymond Carver, Philip K. Dick, Ralph Ellison, Vladimir Nabokov, Maurice Sendak, and Susan Sontag. A full client list can be found on wylieagency.com. She lives in Brooklyn.


Emma Bolden is the author of Malificae, a book-length series of poems about the witch trials in early modern Europe. She’s the author of three chapbooks of poetry—How to Recognize a Lady (part of Edge by Edge, the third in Toadlily Press’ Quartet Series), The Mariner’s Wife, and The Sad Epistles—and one nonfiction chapbook— Geography V, forthcoming from Winged City Press. Her poetry has appeared in such journals as Prairie SchoonerConduit, Indiana Review, the GreensboroReviewRedividerVerse, Feminist Studies, the Journal, Guernica, and Copper Nickel. Her work has been featured on Poetry Daily and Verse Daily’s Web Weekly feature. She was the recipient of a Tennessee Williams Scholarship for the 2008 Sewanee Writers’ Conference and was named a finalist for a Ruth Lilly Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation. You can find her online at emmabolden.com.

Stuart Borrett

Stuart Borrett is a systems ecologist and an associate professor at UNCW. He is a member of the Department of Biology and Marine Biology and affiliated with the Center for Marine Science. He teaches ecological science to undergraduate and graduate students, and his research laboratory at UNCW focuses on understanding the processes that create, constrain, and sustain ecological systems and developing a formal science of environment that can be used to comprehend the effects of local and global environmental changes. Current projects focus on the effect of sea level rise on nitrogen cycling in the Cape Fear and New River estuaries, NC, and the sustainability of the urban water metabolism of Wilmington, NC. In addition, Dr. Borrett serves on the Advisory Board for the Cape Fear Museum of Science and History and on the Board of Directors for the Cape Fear Economic Development Council. Dr. Borrett and his family are residents of the Burnt Mill Creek watershed in Wilmington. You can learn more about his work at people.uncw.edu/borretts.

Wendy Brenner

Wendy Brenner is the author of two books of short fiction, Large Animals in Everyday Life, which won the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction, and Phone Calls From the Dead. Her short stories and essays have appeared in Allure, Travel & Leisure, Seventeen, The Best American Magazine Writing, New Stories From the South, and many other magazines, journals, and anthologies. She is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship, a North Carolina Arts Council fellowship, a Henfield Prize, and the AWP Intro Journals Project award. She has taught writing at University of North Carolina Wilmington since 1997 and serves as a contributing editor for Oxford American. She is currently completing a collection of essays.

Lan Samantha Chang

Lan Samantha Chang is the author of two novels, All Is Forgotten, Nothing Is Lost and Inheritance, and a story collection, Hunger. Hunger was a finalist for a Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Inheritance won the PEN Open Book Award for the novel. Samantha is the recipient of fellowships from Princeton University, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Guggenheim Foundation. She has taught fiction writing at Stanford University, Harvard University, and Warren Wilson College. She lives in Iowa City, where she is professor of creative writing at the University of Iowa and Director of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

Nina de Gramont

Nina de Gramont is the author of the story collection Of Cats and Men, which was a Book Sense selection and won a Discovery award from the New England Booksellers Association. Her first novel, Gossip of the Starlings, was also a Book Sense pick. She is the co-editor of an anthology called Choice, and the author of a novel for teens, Every Little Thing in the World, which was an American Library Association/Young Adult Library Services Association pick for Best Fiction for Young Adults. Her next novel for teens, Meet Me at the River, came out in October of 2013, and she is also the author, under the name Christine Woodward, of Rogue Touch, which was released in June of 2013. Nina’s work has appeared in Redbook, Harvard Review, Nerve, Post Road, and Seventeen. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and daughter.

Bill DiNome

Bill DiNome has, since 1998, advised and managed business for UNCW’s student-run media: the Seahawk newspaper, Atlantis magazine, TealTV, Hawkstream radio and Flicker Film Society. All these groups are encountering opportunities and threats similar to those experienced by professional publishers due to the shifting media landscape. He earned an MFA in fiction from UNCW in 1997 and teaches here part time. He worked two years for WHQR public radio in the mid-90s. During the 1980s, he was a full-time copywriter for Berkeley-Putnam and, later, St. Martin’s Press, and for twelve years thereafter a freelance author, copywriter, and editor. He currently is an occasional contributor to the online magazine Wilmington Faith & Values.

Jill Gerard

Jill Gerard’s poems have appeared in Ars Medica, Blueline, the Comstock ReviewEclipse, poemmeomoirstory, and Sojourn, among others. Her chapbook of poems, Something Yet Unseen, was published by Finishing Line Press. Her essays have been aired on WVTF, Charlottesville’s NPR affiliate, and appeared in Our State. While living in Charlottesville, she wrote regularly for Real Estate Weekly. Jill is the editor of Chautauqua and teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses focused on the literary magazine. She works with young writers through the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth and has taught classes at Chautauqua Institution.


Rebecca Lee is professor of creative writing at UNCW and the author of The City Is a Rising Tide. Her latest book, Bobcat, was an Oprah Book of the Week, Amazon.com Best Book of the Month, and received a front-page New York Times Arts review. Her stories have been published in the Atlantic and Zoetrope: All-Story, and she was the winner of the National Magazine Award for Fiction for “Fialta,” which appears in this collection. Her fiction has also been read on NPR’s Selected Shorts.

Bret Lott

Bret Lott is the bestselling author of fourteen books, most recently the nonfiction collection Letters and Life: On Being a Writer, On Being a Christian and the novel Dead Low Tide. Other books include the story collection The Difference Between Women and Men, the nonfiction book Before We Get Started: A Practical Memoir of the Writer’s Life, and the novels Jewel, an Oprah Book Club pick, and A Song I Knew by Heart. His work has appeared in, among other places, the Yale Review, the New York Times, the Georgia Review, and in dozens of anthologies. Born in Los Angeles, he received his BA in English from Cal State Long Beach in 1981, and his MFA in fiction from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, in 1984, where he studied under James Baldwin. From 1986 to 2004 he was writer-in-residence and professor of English at the College of Charleston, leaving to take the position of editor and director of the Southern Review at Louisiana State University. Three years later, in the fall of 2007, he returned to the College of Charleston and the job he most loves: teaching. His honors include being named Fulbright Scholar and writer-in-residence to Bar-Ilan University; speaking on Flannery O’Connor at The White House; and having served as a member of the National Council on the Arts from 2006 to 2012. He and his wife, Melanie, live in Hanahan, South Carolina.

Yvette Neisser Moreno

Yvette Neisser Moreno’s first book of poetry, Grip, won the Gival Press Poetry Award in 2011 and was named an honorable mention in the New England Book Festival and a Split This Rock Recommended Book of 2012. Moreno is co-translator of South Pole/Polo Sur by María Teresa Ogliastri and editor of Difficult Beauty: Selected Poems by Luis Alberto Ambroggio. Her poems, translations, essays, and reviews have appeared in such publications as Foreign Policy in Focus, Literal, the Virginia Quarterly Review, and International Poetry Review. Moreno has taught writing, literature, and cultural studies at various institutions, including the George Washington University and the Catholic University, and currently works as a freelance writer, editor, and Spanish translator/interpreter. She also coordinates the DC-Area Literary Translators Network (DC-ALT) and serves on the Program Committee of Split This Rock Poetry Festival. Her website is yneissermoreno.com.


Rebecca Petruck is a graduate of the UNCW MFA program. Her first novel, Steering Toward Normal, is an American Booksellers Association "New Voices" top ten children's debut and will be released by Abrams/Amulet in May 2014. You may visit her online at rebeccapetruck.com.

Anna Lena Phillips

Anna Lena Phillips is editor of Ecotone. She formerly served as senior editor and book review editor at American Scientist magazine, and was a founding editor of the online journal, Fringe. A Pocket Book of Forms, her letter press-printed, travel-sized guide to poetic forms, is forthcoming this fall. Her projects and pursuits are documented at todointhenewyear.net.

Kathy Pories

Kathy Pories has been a Senior Editor at Algonquin Books for fifteen years. She acquires literary fiction and narrative nonfiction, was for many years the Series Editor of New Stories from the South, and has been the editor for the last four Bellwether Prize winners. Authors she has worked with include Wendy Brenner, Nina de Gramont, Rebecca Lee, Michael Parker, Robert Olmstead, Lauren Grodstein, Stacey D'Erasmo, Hillary Jordan, Heidi Durrow, Gabrielle Zevin, Bill Roorbach, and others. She received her PhD in English Literature from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 


Dana Sachs is the author of four books, the novels If You Lived Here and The Secret of the Nightingale Palace, and two books of nonfiction, The House on Dream Street: Memoir of an American Woman in Vietnam and The Life We Were Given: Operation Babylift, International Adoption, and the Children of War in Vietnam. Her articles, reviews, and essays have appeared in numerous magazines and journals, including National GeographicMother Jones, and the Asian edition of the Wall Street Journal. Her translations of Vietnamese short fiction, on which she collaborated with Vietnamese native-speaking partners, have been published widely.

Tim Seibles

Tim Seibles born in Philadelphia in 1955, is the author of several poetry collections including Hurdy-Gurdy, Hammerlock, and Buffalo Head Solos. His first book, Body Moves, has just been re-released by Carnegie Mellon University Press as part of their Contemporary Classics series. His latest, Fast Animal, was one of five poetry finalists for the 2012 National Book Award. He spent the spring semester of 2010 as poet-in-residence at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. A National Endowment for the Arts creative writing fellow, Tim has also enjoyed a seven-month writing fellowship from the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center in Massachusetts. His poetry is featured in several anthologies; among them are: Rainbow Darkness, The Manthology, Autumn House Contemporary American Poetry, Black Nature, Evensong, Villanelles, and Sunken Garden Poetry. His poem “Allison Wolff” was included in The Best American Poetry 2010 and, most recently, his poem “Sotto Voce: Othello, Unplugged” was selected for inclusion in The Best American Poetry 2012. He has been a workshop leader for Cave Canem, a writer’s retreat for African American poets, and for the Hurston/Wright Foundation, another organization dedicated to developing black writers. Tim is visiting faculty at the Stonecoast MFA in Writing Program sponsored by the University of Southern Maine. He lives in Norfolk, Virginia, where he is a member of the English and MFA in writing faculty at Old Dominion University.

Emily Smith

Emily Louise Smith is director of the Publishing Laboratory and founder and publisher of Lookout Books and its sister magazine, Ecotone. She teaches Books & Publishing, Bookbuilding, and Publishing Practicum, among other courses, and manages the staff of graduate interns. With a background in advertising and development, Emily began her publishing career as an assistant to former CEO of HarperCollins Canada and Publishing Laboratory founder, Stanley Colbert. After earning her MFA in poetry, she went on to work as an editor, designer, and event coordinator for Hub City Press, and returned to UNCW to direct the department’s then six-year-old teaching press. She negotiated its distribution agreement, implemented the first overhaul and expansion of its popular textbook, Show & Tell: Writers on Writing, and in 2009 founded its award-winning literary imprint, Lookout Books.


John Jeremiah Sullivan was born in Louisville, Kentucky, and lives in North Carolina with his wife and daughters. He's a writer for the New York Times Magazine and the Southern Editor of the Paris Review. He’s been the recipient of a Whiting Writers’ Award, two National Magazine Awards, a Pushcart Prize, and a research fellowship at the New York Public Library’s Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers. His work has been translated into eight languages and reproduced in The Best American Essays, The Best American Magazine Writing, and The Best Non-Required Reading anthologies. His first book, Blood Horses: Notes of a Sportswriter’s Son, was named a Book of the Year by the Economist magazine and led the New York Review of Books to call Sullivan “an original and greatly gifted writer.” His most recent collection, Pulphead: Essays, published in 2011, made numerous end-of-year Top 10 lists, including that of the New York Times, which called it “the best and most important collection of magazine writing since [David Foster] Wallace’s A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again,” and the New Yorker, where the book was described as “literary freedom in action.” Sullivan is working on a book-length project about a lost Utopian episode from early American history.


Kate Sweeney lives in Atlanta where she writes and creates public radio stories. While pursuing her MFA at UNCW, she spent time with obit writers, funeral directors, and ordinary Americans who found themselves involved with death and memorialization. The resulting popular nonfiction book, American Afterlife, will be published by University of Georgia Press in March 2014. Kate’s radio stories appear regularly on Atlanta’s NPR station, WABE 90.1 FM, and she has won three Edward R. Murrow awards as well as a number of Associated Press awards for her work. Her writing has appeared twice in Oxford American as well as Atlanta Magazine and New South, among other outlets. She is curator of the popular bimonthly non-fiction reading series True Story, which Atlanta Magazine voted a Best of Atlanta 2012 best lit event. Creative Loafing Atlanta named Kate an “author to watch” in 2012. She has taught Creative Writing and English at Emory Continuing Education, Clayton State University and UNCW. While pursuing her MFA at UNCW, she won the 2007-2009 Robert H. Byington Award, the 2008–2009 Lavonne Adams Award and the 2008-2009 Outstanding MFA. Thesis Award for Creative Nonfiction.

Sarah Barbara Watstein

Sarah Barbara Watstein received her BA from Northwestern, MLS from UCLA, and MPA from New York University. She has worked in academic libraries for nearly thirty-five years, including both public and private institutions on both coasts. She began her career at California State University Long Beach (CSULB) in the late 70s, and continued at New York University, Hunter College, Virginia Commonwealth University, and UCLA prior to relocating to Wilmington in May 2010. Watstein currently serves as UNCW’s University Librarian. Watstein co-edits Reference Services Review (RSR) a quarterly, refereed, international journal dedicated to the enrichment of reference knowledge and the advancement of reference and library user services. Scholarly and creative activities include publications (administration, AIDS and infectious diseases, artificial intelligence, burnout, information technology, online and instructional services, reference services and sources, women’s studies) and presentations. Watstein has published extensively in two broad areas—academic librarianship and HIV/AIDS. Watstein’s record of service to the library and information science professional at the regional, national, and international level is equally robust. She has held and holds a variety of leadership positions within the American Library Association. Professional service has focused on three areas—publishing, reference and user services, and women’s studies.

Ross White

Ross White is the executive director of Bull City Press, a Durham-based press that publishes Inch, a magazine of short poems and short prose, and 1-2 poetry titles each year. Each year, Bull City Press sponsors the Frost Place Chapbook Competition, which awards publication, a monetary prize, a fellowship to the Frost Place Poetry Seminar, and a week to live and write in the Robert Frost House and Museum in Franconia, New Hampshire. White is the author of How We Came Upon the Colony, forthcoming from Unicorn Press in 2014. His poems have appeared in Best New Poets 2012, New England Review, Poetry Daily, and the Southern Review, among others. With Matthew Olzmann, he edited Another & Another: An Anthology from the Grind Daily Writing Series. He has taught creative writing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill since 2006. In 2012, he also joined the faculty at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics. He is a co-founder of The Hinge Literary Center, which serves writers in the Raleigh-Durham area.

Heather D. Wilson

Heather D. Wilson is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, with a degree in English and a minor in creative writing. After working as an assistant manuscript editor for Houghton Mifflin in Boston, she moved back down south where she received a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing at UNCW, where she was a co-founder of Ecotone. A writer, teacher, arts administrator, and grant writer, Heather is enjoying leading the Chautauqua class and working with the journal's talented team of graduate and undergraduate students.

David Wright

David Wright’s book, Fire on the Beach: Recovering the Lost Story of Richard Etheridge and the Pea Island Lifesavers, was a New Yorker notable selection and one of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s “Best Books of 2001;” Memphis Flyer called it “social history at its readable best.” Wright wrote the screenplay for the documentary, Rescue Men, based on the book. Magic Johnson’s Aspire network premiered it on September 15 and it still airs regularly. Producer Richard Brick is adapting Fire on the Beach into a feature. Wright’s fiction and essays have been recognized with awards from the Hurston/Wright Foundation, the Texas Institute of Letters, and the National Association of Black Journalists, among others, and appeared in the Village Voice, the Kenyon Review, Newsday, Callaloo, the Massachusetts Review, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and elsewhere. He teaches at the University of Illinois and serves on the editorial board of Callaloo.

See our archive of Writers Week presenters.

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