One of the reasons this blog exists is to celebrate writers' groups that have helped make our North Carolina literary community more cohesive and vibrant, and I invite responses telling me about writers groups that make a difference in your community. Simply leave a comment for me at the end of this post.
Right now I would like to tell you about Netwest, organized under the umbrella of the North Carolina Writers Network. This group was begun in large part through the energy and vision of Nancy Simpson, who lives in Hayesville. Nancy is one of our finest poets, having been "discovered" by Richard Hugo years ago when she took a workshop with him at the Callandwolde Arts Center in Atlanta. She received her MFA from the Warren Wilson Writing Program, working with Heather McHugh, and was awarded a NC Arts Fellowship shortly thereafter. I don't know anyone whose passion for poetry burns with more determination than Nancy's, so it was especially exciting to be at the Netwest party last week where she was honored for her contributions to this organization. If you want to read some of Nancy's poetry, please go to our ncarts.org archive and to my personal blog, kathrynstriplingbyer.blogspot.com. Glenda Beall, the current Program Director of Netwest, maintains the organization's blog, netwestwriters.blogspot.com.
Nancy Simpson shows her surprise at being honored by the Netwest membership at the annual summer celebration. North Carolina Arts Council's Literature Director Debbie McGill is seated at the table with her.
Former Program Director Shirley Uphouse presents Nancy Simpson with a token of Netwest's appreciation.
Netwest member Brenda Kay Ledford thanks Nancy for giving so much of her time and talent to writers in the far western region of the state.
Glenda Beall, Director of Netwest
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