College Hosts Second-Annual Looking Glass Rock Writers’ Conference

academic quad aerial photo
writers-confBy Shannon Summitt, ‘19

BREVARD – Brevard College and the Transylvania County Library Foundation will once again co-host the annual Looking Glass Rock Writers’ Conference May 18-21. Workshops, discussions, and readings will take place both at Brevard College and the Transylvania County Library.Due to the previous success and popularity of the event, the conference has been extended to four days. This will give attendees more time to explore the theme, “A Sense of Place.” Three award-winning authors will be leading fiction, poetry, and nonfiction workshops. The majority of the workshops and accommodations will be held on the Brevard College campus.

Jane Smiley, the fiction workshop leader, is a Pulitzer Prize and National Book Critics Circle Award recipient. Instructing the Poetry workshop is New York Times bestseller Robert Morgan. Sy Montgomery, recipient of a Presidential Award for Lifetime Achievement from the New England Booksellers Association in 2014, is heading off the nonfiction workshop. These three renowned authors know the importance of place, no matter the genre.

The four-day conference will provide free time for attendees on Friday and Saturday afternoon, opening up possibilities for excursions. With Pisgah National Forest and Dupont State Park on either side, there are many places to explore around the “Land of Waterfalls,” Transylvania County.

“Residents and visitors to the Brevard/Transylvania community develop an unusually strong connection to the geographical and cultural uniqueness of this place,” said David Watkins, chair of the Transylvania County Library Foundation. ”A perfect venue to study the importance of setting in good writing.”

Attending writers staying at Brevard College will also experience the new residence hall, Stanback Hall. This accommodation features private rooms, individual room climate control, and study lounges with beautiful views of the College’s campus.“Brevard College provided the ideal backdrop for the event,” said Tonya Staufer, an attendee of last year’s conference. “Besides the natural beauty of the campus, the overall welcome writers felt was quite extraordinary.”

The conference of 36 attendees will open with an informal meal on Thursday, followed by a group session to meet one another and discuss writing. A similar session will be held on Sunday to conclude the event.

“The conference size was ideal for bonding with all of the other poetry and nonfiction participants through presentations, readings, meals and our own ‘open mic’ sessions in the dorms,” said Cindy Brookshire, who attended the workshop in 2016.

The deadline for sending in applications and manuscripts is March 1. Decisions will be announced March 15. While acceptance is still competitive, secondary manuscripts can be submitted for the workshop if the applicant desires.

Applicants may choose from one of the three workshops offered, sending in a manuscript along with the short application. Submissions for fiction manuscripts can be either a story or novel excerpt, not exceeding 10 pages. Applicants wanting to enroll in the poetry workshop must submit 3-6 poems, up to 10 pages, one poem per page, all in one document. Nonfiction submissions can consist of an essay or memoir excerpt, not exceeding 10 pages.

The cost of the conference is $410, which includes all meals, receptions, and campus housing in a private room. For applicants who wish to opt out of campus housing, the cost of the conference is $280 – this will still include meals. There is no application fee. The Transylvania County Library Foundation will offer up to three full and three partial scholarships, awarded depending on merit. All applicants will be considered for these scholarships.

Jane Smiley’s keynote reading will be Friday, May 19, at 7:30 p.m. at the Brevard College Porter Center for Performing Arts. Morgan and Montgomery will read on Saturday, May 20, at 7:30 p.m. at the Transylvania County Library. Both events are free and open to the public.

“The conference is a wonderful example of Brevard College working with the community, in this case the Transylvania County Library Foundation, to create a truly extraordinary educational experience for conference attendees, the citizens of Transylvania County and our College community,” said Scott Sheffield, Dean of the Faculty.

To send in applications and manuscripts, or for additional information, visit the conference website.