Building a Writing Community

by Tommy Hays, Executive Director, Great Smokies Writing Program

As the Great Smokies Writing Program approaches ten years of bringing quality writing workshops to the western North Carolina community, it is only fitting that we offer a place to highlight some of the wonderful work produced by its students. Almost as soon as Elizabeth Lutyens, teacher of our Prose Master Class, came up with the idea of The Great Smokies Review, the project took on a momentum of its own. Now under Elizabeth’s editorial leadership and after many hours of volunteer work from generous Great Smokies students, we have arrived at our first issue.

Tommy Hays

Tommy Hays

It was a long road to get here. An initiative of the University of North Carolina Asheville, the Great Smokies Writing Program began in the spring of 2000, offering two classes. Since then we’ve served well over a thousand students and have grown to nine classes a semester. Our success is directly related to the quality of our faculty—all highly accomplished writers who are equally accomplished at teaching their craft. They enjoy working with such engaged and motivated students, who are all ages and come from all walks of life. Our students include doctors, lawyers, schoolteachers, carpenters, nurses, house painters, psychologists, waitresses, bartenders, musicians, scientists, artists, and retirees. Some have come to creative writing for the first time; others are getting back to it; others still have been pursuing it all along but take our classes for instruction and community. Our hope is that with The Great Smokies Review we are growing another layer of that community as a forum for discussion and learning as well as a place for good work.

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