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  • 06 May 2022 11:13 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Message from the President

    All over the internet this week are Justin Timberlake and Star Wars memes. A recent phenomenon, memes are those pictures with clever words superimposed on them. In this case, Justin Timberlake is a reference to a lyric in one of his songs, “It’s gonna be me!” but, stylistically, it sounds like he says, “It’s gonna be May.” So now you’re in on the joke.
    That’s what memes are – “in” jokes that some people get and some people don’t. It’s their inclusionary nature that makes them so funny. When I get it, I feel included, but if I don’t get it, I usually just scroll past.

    As writers, we’re communicating with a variety of readers, listeners and buyers. It’s incumbent upon us to ensure our messaging is as clear and unmistakable as possible so that as many people as possible can be reached and included. That’s not just how we sell more books, but how we connect humans one-to-the-other.
    Memes aren’t exactly stories. They’re more like reminders of stories we’ve already heard. On May 4th we see the Star Wars memes everywhere (“May the fourth be with you”). Our family even makes lightsaber Kool-Aid and Death Star pizzas for dinner. 
    If the May memes already have worn you out, don’t worry. They’re mostly about the first week of the month.
    SCWA has bigger plans for the whole month. We’re featuring the Your Paths to Publish series this month that includes author-prenuer Raegen Teller, hybrid publisher Alexa Bigwarfe, and small press Hub City and literary agent Amy Elizabeth Bishop. There’s still time to register, even if you missed the first session on May 2. Register at Registrants have access to all the event recordings.
    While Mother’s Day and Memorial Day bookend May, my favorite part of the month is all the puns it lends itself to. Specifically, those classic Irish blessings: May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face. May you write in health and joy this month. (I might have added that last part myself!)
    Cheers and happy writing!

    Kasie Whitener
    President, SCWA Board of Directors

  • 06 May 2022 11:12 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Message from the President

    April showers bring May flowers.
    I know I started out March with a similar calendar trope but hear me out. On March 24, I attended our Become an Author event with Angela Belcher Epps, and all I’ve been thinking since then was, “Bring on the showers!”
    Not “showers” in the mom-to-be parties or sexy bathroom trysts from my short story from Fall Lines. Not the river-of-tears emoji or the anime tears flying off one’s cartoon face. 
    Bring on the April-type showers that water our creative fields and generate blooms of stories, poetry and productivity.
    Showers like collective writing sessions with our SCWA chapters leading. Prompt party, anyone?
    Showers like writing sprints on Twitter and write-in sessions with pals. Showers like watching a great movie and imagining a side character’s new life beyond it. Or reading a good book and imagining a different ending. Or revisiting a favorite story and tracing your fingers along its print as you remember what it meant to you then and considering what it means to you now.
    Showers like inspiration. Like a reminder that we write because we want to, we need to, we love to and when it’s work – like really hard work – it’s only because the flowers are so deep underground, we need to water them so they’ll emerge.
    We also need sunshine. And time. But the April cliche is just about the rain. So let it rain, SCWA! Get some of that inspiration on your skin, in your eyes. Let it wash away the pollen and water the roots. The flowers will bloom. They always do.

    Kasie Whitener
    SCWA Board of Directors

  • 07 Mar 2022 9:50 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Message from the President
    I love the old adage “in like a lion, out like a lamb” to describe March. It sounds as if we’re brash, bold and determined at the beginning of the month. It inspires me to seize the day, be energetic and bold! To get unstuck on projects that have stalled since the 2022 New Year’s spark.
    I know lamb time is coming. There will be a chance to rest and reflect and enjoy the flowers as they bloom and all that spring has to offer. But for now – ROAR!
    March is my favorite month of the year in part because it’s my birthday month but also because it’s an annual milestone – the end of the first quarter, the nudge into a new season. It’s when we emerge from the long winter and find things new, hopeful and budding. March is full of hope for what’s to come. It doesn’t dwell on what has been but looks forward to what can be.
    For a perpetual optimist, March allows yet another opportunity to plan and execute great ideas and our SCWA leadership has been busy!
    • The Events &Education team has been hard at work organizing a variety of programming including this month’s Become an Author event with Angela Belcher Epps “Get into Your Write Space” all about connecting to that intrinsic motivation for inspiration. If you’re not registered yet, click here to get your spot.
    • The Board of Directors is hard at work organizing and formalizing committees. As we move toward a governing board configuration, we are decentralizing the operating work through committees. Committee work is a low-impact, high reward way to lend your voice, your time, and your talents to SCWA. Existing committees include Finance & Fundraising, Membership & Recruitment, Events & Education, Technology, Marketing, and Diversity. Interested in serving? Email me at and we can discuss what might be a good fit for you.
    • Our chapters are hard at work getting work polished and ready for submission. We have winners among us! 
      • The 2022 Charlotte Lit LIT/south awards include flash fiction winner Amber Wheeler Bacon, fiction finalist Mary Alice Dixon and poetry finalist Yvette R. Murray
      • The SC Academy of Authors awarded the 2022 Carrie McCray Nickens Fellowship in Poetry to Columbia III writer Danielle Verwers for her work “Between Two Poles.”
    • We’re so very, very proud of all of you! Congratulations!
    Welcome to March, writing friends. I hope you’ll find inspiration and motivation in the roar of the lion and gratitude and hope in the soft down of the lamb.

    Kasie Whitener
    SCWA Board of Directors
  • 05 Feb 2022 10:48 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Hello members and friends of SCWA! We begin 2022 with enthusiasm and hope, and by announcing the new leadership of the board of directors. At the January board meeting, I was elected president, a role that I humbly accept with an appreciation for the confidence placed in me by the board. Our 2022 board is composed of a team that exudes excellence in literary arts and business and a dedication to serving SCWA members.
    All board members – directors and advisors – dedicate their time and talents to add value to SCWA through their service and leadership. I’m proud to announce the appointment of the following team members who have accepted additional responsibilities, for which we are extremely grateful.
    • Abby Morales, 1st Vice President/Marketing
    • Lynn Volkenant, Treasurer
    • Sharon Thomas, Secretary
    • Raegan Teller, Vice President, Membership
    • Austin Hehir, Chapter Liaison
    • Paul Davis, Vice President, Events & Education
    • Catherine Con, Director, Technology
    This leadership team is supported by additional board members participating in committee work alongside board advisors and contract staff delivering exceptional quality to our members.
    The Events & Education Committee already is hard at work delivering outstanding programming, including all new weekday workshops, longer-program curricula, a new slate of faculty and a fall conference for October. We’re excited about plans for The Petigru Review, under new leadership and opening for submissions in the spring. 
    I hope you’ll consider joining one of our committees dedicated to fundraising, membership, marketing or diversity. Each committee is pursuing specific recommendations to strengthen our organization and make it more representative of the South Carolina literary community. Committee service is a great way to get involved in the association and make new connections while requiring just the minimum investment of time and talent. If committee service interests you but you’re not sure where or how to serve, email me at and we can discuss it.

    Kasie Whitener
    SCWA Board of Directors
  • 05 Jan 2022 5:59 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Writers understand the opportunity with each new page or chapter. How will the characters, whether existing or new to our story, create an exciting outcome? So is the case with your board of directors as we launch 2022 with changes, saying grateful goodbyes to some and welcoming new SCWA leaders.
    The SCWA board expresses its deepest gratitude to the following directors and advisors who have steered SCWA to new heights and are now retiring from the board: Vivian Bikulege, Barbara Evers, Roger Jones and Nancy Allen-Mastro
    Susan Zurenda and David Wilson also are retiring as directors, but they will continue to serve as advisors. I will support the board as past president and advisor. 
    These board members built upon the success created by former boards, the dedication of the chapter leaders, and many other volunteers whose passion for writing has made SCWA successful for 31 years.
    We look with admiration and hope to the following new board members to carry on this leadership. We welcome the following new directors: Catherine Con, Wanda Craig (Raegan Teller), Austin Hehir, Ralph Jarrells, Yvette Murray, Sharon Clemmons Thomas and Lynn Allison Volkenant. They will be joined by our new advisors Peter Coan and Brad Land.
    The new Executive Board will be elected at the Jan. 15 board meeting to which all members are welcome to attend. This will be a virtual meeting due to COVID concerns. If you wish to attend, email Laura Corbin, administrator, at and she will provide you with the Zoom link.
    I subscribe to the philosophy that there are three kinds of characters in a story – those who make things happen; those who watch things happen; and those who say ‘what the hell just happened?’”
    As I leave the role of president, I consider myself blessed to have been part of the board team and am confident the new board will be making great things happen for our members.

    Mike Lee
    SCWA Board of Directors

  • 08 Dec 2021 5:43 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    December 8, 2021

    SCWA is pleased to be able to serve writers in South Carolina and the region. In order to continue our positive trajectory toward excellence, effective immediately, the SCWA annual membership fee will increase to $75. The common member anniversary date will remain April 1. All new memberships and renewals for current members at the $75 fee will be effective through March 31, 2023. The student fee will be $25.

    It’s been more than 10 years since the last increase during which time SCWA’s operating costs for such items as insurance, accounting, and membership software have increased to unsustainable levels. The increase in fees is needed in order to continue to meet our expenses and offer valuable programs to our members.

    While the new fees are competitive with other writing associations, SCWA provides a broader set of services than many of its counterparts. The recently announced programs for 2022 will provide members with free access to at least 12 virtual education events as well as discounts for the fall 2022 conference and other programs such as the new Writers’ Studio. Members also will have free access to SCWA’s recorded library of past Writing Conversations and Become an Author events, which has been building since 2020.

    Other member benefits, such as participation in chapters and critique groups and publication opportunities in SCWA’s digital journal, The Petigru Review, will continue to be supported as valuable services to SCWA members.

    The volunteer board is dedicated to providing the best quality of services at a low cost to SCWA members. We exist for our members and will continue to ensure our writers receive high value for their membership fees.

    Mike Lee, President

    SCWA Board of Directors

  • 03 Dec 2021 4:24 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Come Write by the Beach!

    SCWA will present a three-day, in-person conference Oct. 21-23 in Pawleys Island, featuring workshops on publishing and craft with keynote faculty Ashley M. JonesLeigh Stein and many more. Editors and agents also will be in attendance. An additional virtual conference is under development and will offer complementary programming. Members will have access to discounted early-bird rates and prizes. Keep watching the SCWA website for more details on registration, accommodations and the sessions to be offered.


    The SCWA board has been focused on the development of plans for 2022, and on behalf of the board, I’m pleased to announce that we have created a robust program for our members for the coming year.
    Here are some highlights:
    Events & Education – SCWA will continue its successful virtual workshops and writing programs focusing on writing craft and publishing. 
    Starting in January, SCWA members will have free access to the popular Writing Conversations and Become an Author series plus a new program called Shared Writing. These will occur quarterly. 
    SCWA also will introduce new paid programs at discounted member rates consisting of four-week, virtual, in-depth workshops focusing on topics such as novel writing, finding an agent, and indie marketing and bookselling.
    Additional quarterly programs will include free open mic sessions and paid in-person and virtual workshops to be held in locations across the state. Members also have access to more than 40 recorded writing workshops and events in Recorded Events on the SCWA website.

    Publications – SCWA’s digital journal, The Petigru Review, will return in 2022 with the opportunity for members to publish their work. A new position of managing editor has been created to ensure high standards and additional promotional opportunities for the journal and its contributors.
    SCWA once again will co-sponsor, with the South Carolina Academy of Authors, the McCray Nickens Fellowship in Poetry and the Coker Fellowship in Fiction, providing the opportunity for members to compete for paid awards. These contests are open now. For details, visit
    More details will be provided soon as each of these major member programs is set to launch.
    Board recruiting – The window to submit applications to become a member of the board closed Nov. 15. Interviews are under way and new board members will be proposed at the Dec. 21 board meeting and announced shortly thereafter. We appreciate all who applied.
    2022 BOD Meeting Schedule – A schedule has been approved for the 2022 board meeting dates. Members are welcome to participate in any board meeting as we have reserved an item on every agenda for member discussion. The new schedule is posted on
    Congratulations are to SCWA board member Len Lawson and longtime SCWA friend Gary Jackson for their recent publication of The Future of Black – Afrofuturism, Black Comics, and Superhero Poetry. Members are reminded to post their awards and publications on and on our Facebook group and page. Also, look on our website for publication opportunities and contests, such as the playwright and screenplay competition by the Del Shores Foundation for the LGBTQ+ community.
    Guest posts – This feature of The Quill will have a new look in 2022. While we work out more details, I am pleased to share with you the selection for December – an essay by member Jayne Bowers.

    In closing, my term as SCWA board president concludes this month, so this will be the last time I'll issue the Message from the President. A couple of parting comments: First to our members, you inspire me with your writing – I try to read all members' published works – and with your participation in our programs. You've made the work worthwhile. To our board members and our administrator, Laura Corbin, it's been a true pleasure to serve with you. Thank you for your trust, support and dedication without which we would not have succeeded. I appreciate every one of you.

    Mike Lee
    SCWA Board of Directors

  • 03 Nov 2021 5:13 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    One benefit of SCWA’s partnerships with other organizations is that we are able to provide our members with access to those groups and their activities. One Columbia for Arts and Culture is a perfect example.

    One Columbia allows SCWA to use its Taylor Street office in Columbia as our mailing address, a tremendous service. We also can use its shared event facility at 1013 Co-Op (1013 Duke Ave. in Columbia), where the SCWA board held its quarterly in-person meeting on Oct. 23. Thanks to One Columbia, a cherished partner.
    SCWA members can check out its programs at One Columbia.
    The Pat Conroy Center, another major partner, will hold its annual literary festival through Nov. 4 through 7. SCWA members are encouraged to take advantage of the many virtual and in-person programs in Beaufort, many of which are free. You likely will recognize several names of SCWA members involved in the sessions. 
    Congratulations to SCWA board member Dr. Kasie Whitener, who was awarded a 2021 South Carolina Governor's Fresh Voices in the Humanities Award, sponsored by another SCWA partner, SC Humanities. The ceremony was held on Oct. 21. Tune in to Whitener’s Write On SC weekly radio talk show – all about writing – at 9 a.m. Saturdays on 100.7 FM /1470 AM and

    We remind members to consider joining our board of directors. We need you to become involved to continue the great work of SCWA. The deadline is Nov. 15. Applications are available on or by emailing For more information, email
    We’ve been pleased with the submissions for guest articles or essays for our "Come Write With Us!" segment of the monthly issue of The Quill and love to showcase the work of our writers. We can’t promise that all submissions will be published, but please keep them coming. Send your submission for consideration to SCWA administrator Laura Corbin at Submissions with a maximum of 500 words can be opinion editorials, poems, essays or a piece of writing in any genre. They cannot be commercial, political or offensive. We reserve the right to edit.)

    This month, we feature member Paula Appling of Upstate South Carolina with her essay “Mouse Potato.”

    Mike Lee
    SCWA Board of Directors

  • 05 Oct 2021 6:09 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    As we enter the final quarter of the year, the SCWA board's sights are on finishing 2021 strong and planning our 2022 member programs. Our recent member survey has provided very helpful perspectives on member opinions and preferences and areas we can improve. Results are being analyzed and incorporated into our planning and will be available soon. Thanks to all who responded. We appreciate you taking the time to improve SCWA.
    Interested in joining the SCWA board? It’s a very rewarding experience. We are recruiting for 2022 board positions as directors or advisors and would welcome interest from members with experience in critique groups, membership, publications or delivering conference and educational programs. We also could use help in the IT, finance/treasury and board secretary support areas. Please nominate yourself or someone else. Nomination and application forms are available by contacting Laura Corbin, administrative assistant, at
    Congratulations to these SCWA members on recent accomplishments:
    • Catherine Con, whose "Feuillemort" made the finalist list for the Anne C. Barnhill Prize for Creative Nonfiction and will be published on Longridge Review.
    • Finalists in the Southeastern Writers 2021 contests: Candace Carter, Kasie Whitener, Martha Thwaite Weeks and John MacIlroy.
    • Yvette R. Murray, who has been named one of the 50 Finalists for the anthology "Best New Poets" for 2021.
    We’re proud of your success. SCWA members are encouraged to share your publications news in Publications & Awards under Member News on and in our Facebook group.
    Updates on partner associations:
    The Palmetto Literacy Council will host an author event on Oct. 16 in Myrtle Beach, featuring Jonathan Haupt of the Pat Conroy Literary Center. For information, contact Patricia D’Ascoli at
    Charlotte Lit announces the inaugural Writers/South Awards – $10,000 in prizes plus publication. Four categories: poetry, short fiction, nonfiction and flash. Four prize levels: $1,500 first, $500 second, $250 third, $50 honorable mentions. All prize winners published in the new Writers/South: Journal of Charlotte Lit. Judges: Ron Rash (fiction, 4,000 words), Jessica Jacobs and Nickole Brown (poetry, 1-3 poems), Stephanie Elizondo Griest (nonfiction, 4,000 words), and flash (1-2 pieces, up to 500 words each). Submissions are open until Dec. 1. The entry fee is $15, which includes a print copy of the journal. To enter, go to or

    October guest column:

    I'm happy to introduce our guest writing contributor, Bill Bruehl, a distinguished scholar and gifted writer who we love having as an advisor to our board. Being around Bill leaves one inspired and wanting more. Enjoy his column here.

    Mike Lee
    SCWA Board of Directors

  • 07 Sep 2021 1:01 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Message from the President

    As we slide into autumn, our sights shift to finishing the year strong for our members and developing South Carolina Writers Association’s plans for the coming year. 
    We’ve continued to provide exciting and innovative programs, such as our recent session on writing diverse characters. We’ve also been working with other associations to expand our member access to programs offered beyond SCWA.
    On that subject, we’re proud to announce that all SCWA members are eligible for a 10% discount on writing programs offered by our partner association The Pat Conroy Literary Center. We’re honored to be associated with such a prestigious organization and encourage our members to support the center and participate in its many outstanding writing programs. 
    We’re also happy to announce that our efforts to collaborate with other South Carolina writing groups have resulted in a statewide calendar sponsored by the South Carolina Humanities Writers now can go to one source to learn about literary arts programs, events, and activities across South Carolina. Our thanks go out to SC Humanities for making this available. (You still can find SCWA events on our website at
    The SCWA website also has been updated to make it easier for SCWA members share information about their accomplishments and promote their publications on the Publications & Awards page at under the revised Member News tab. Please take advantage of this feature!
    I urge you to participate in our member survey. Members have been emailed the survey, and a link can be found in the Membership section in this newsletter. Your responses will help us understand what members value most and the programs and services you’d like to see in 2022.
    Finally, our guest contributor this month is a special friend of SCWA – Leigh Steinan acclaimed novelist, poet and contributor to major newspapers and magazines. She has been a faculty member at SCWA conferences and is simply a brilliant writer. 

    Mike Lee
    SCWA Board of Directors

    Come Write With Us!

    Leigh Stein is the author of five books, including the poetry collection What to Miss When and the satirical novel Self Care. She also has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, Allure, Elle, The Cut, Salon and Slate. She is a recipient of an Amy Award from Poets & Writers, and The Cut named her “poet laureate of The Bachelor.

    (Send your own submission for consideration to Laura Corbin at

    The Time and Place for Poetry
    The last memory I have of the Before Times is going to the mall on Leap Day and watching families ride the escalators up and down, unmasked. My husband was in Chicago working a convention. I’d been following the news of a virus spreading in suburban Seattle. On the phone, I asked him if the turnout was low.
    “Higher than it’s ever been,” he said.
    A couple weeks later, our life in Connecticut had shrunk to the confines of our two-bedroom townhouse. There would be no more conventions for him, no more in-person teaching for me. I followed news of the virus in Italy as a forecast of things to come; we were 11 days behind them. In The New York Times, a doctor compared the worsening outbreak to starlight: “Think starlight. That light isn’t from now, it’s from however long it took to get here.” One death meant there was already widespread transmission.
    That metaphor—think starlight—triggered the first poem I’d written in nearly a decade.
    About two weeks before our state went into lockdown, I’d stopped drinking alcohol. The combination of my new sobriety and the intense isolation of the early phase of the pandemic sparked a period of blazing productivity. I didn’t have to cajole or bribe myself to sit at my desk and write (the way I have to when I’m writing an essay); the poems wrote themselves. They were tiny time capsules I filled every morning with the material I’d collected the day before: watching a TV newscaster catch the virus, buying scissors to cut my husband’s hair, an influencer saying the stay-at-home order doesn’t apply to people like her, people who can influence anywhere.
    I was writing about class. Most of the people I knew were, like me, members of the laptop class. We could afford to work from home and spend hours a day on social media, where we expressed our outrage, our grief, our guilt. I counted what happened online as material, too. When I first got the idea to write an entire book of these poems, I was going to call it Viral Experience.
    I wrote in the morning, before my husband woke up, the only time of the day I felt alone in the house, once he stopped going into an office. Each poem took between one and two hours to complete. While I wrote, I listened to the same music I listened to when I wrote poems in my bedroom as a depressed teenage girl—another isolated time, a mirror image.
    I have never written for myself. I have always written for a reader—a single friend. Her name is Liz and she lives in Indiana. As soon as I finished a poem, I emailed it to Liz, or another friend. I don’t do this when I’m writing essays or fiction. I don’t finish a draft of a novel chapter and immediately paste it into an email. But a poem is the perfect size for sharing: it can be a sympathy bouquet, a five-minute stand-up routine, a loaf of bread still warm from the oven.
    On March 14, 2020, Rosanne Cash tweeted, “Just a reminder that when Shakespeare quarantined because of the plague, he wrote King Lear.” Many people on the internet lost their minds over this. How could anyone write at a time like this?
    But a time like this was exactly what I wanted to write about. I wanted to capture the catastrophe as it unfolded. Between March and September of last year, I wrote the poems that would become my fifth book, What to Miss When. I worried that by the time it was published, we would no longer be talking about the pandemic.
    And here we are. 
    Think containment. Think case load. Think
    of your parents. Think of Lily who taught you
    the etymology of stanza—
    a kind of stopping place, the room
    where we self-quarantine. Think
    of all the faces you’ve known by hand,
    the curve of your lover’s skull, how no one
    ever admits they wish they’d worried more
    so you keep your panic on you at all times
    like a passport. The paper reports the nameless
    score, tally marks on the wall of a white stanza
    where women in green speak a language
    you don’t understand and decide who deserves
    the breathing machine. Think starlight:
    it took so long to touch us,
    we trusted we were spared.

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