Southern Gothic Fiction with Beth Gilstrap

October 20, 6 p.m. 

Charlotte Lit's Studio Two. Free!
Registration required.
Charlotte Lit welcomes former Charlottean (and long-time Charlotte Lit member) Beth Gilstrap, author of Deadheading and Other Stories, winner of the Red Hen Press Women's Prose Award. Beth will discuss the conventions of Southern gothic storytelling, how they influenced her short fiction, and ultimately, her view of the world. Beth will talk about her own struggles with mental illness, the claustrophobic notions of traditional Southern femininity, it's inextricable link with toxic masculinity, and how she always felt like an outsider in her own skin growing up in Charlotte and the surrounding area during the 80s and 90s. Ultimately, she'll try to explain how reading these stories helped her feel less alone.


Writing Southern Gothic Fiction

Thursday, October 21: Workshop with Beth Gilstrap
Uneasy Women: Writing Feminist Southern Gothic Fiction

When asked how she defined the Southern tradition of writing, author Dorothy Allison (Bastard Out of Carolina) said, “It’s a lyrical tradition. Language. Iconoclastic, outrageous as hell, levelled with humor. Yankees do it, but Southerners do it more. It’s the grotesque.” In the wake of failed reconstruction, early 20th Century Southern Gothic writers crafted an eerie world of crumbling plantations, looming church steeples, and urban decay. In this workshop, we’ll examine these traditions, how they’ve changed, and how we might craft them for 21st Century readers by examining excerpts from contemporary female authors including: Toni Morrison, Jesmyn Ward, and Dorothy Allison. We will examine how they subvert traditional gender roles, how they give agency to characters (often deemed outsiders) who have traditionally been victims of the American capitalist patriarchy.

6:00 – 8:00 p.m., Studio Two
$45 members, $55 non-membersMore Info / Register


Proof of Covid vaccination is required to attend any in-person Charlotte Lit events — Wednesdays@Lit, classes, readings, and open studio. After you register, email a snap of your vaccination card to

Last Chance! 4 Weeks, Starts This Sunday!

Spotlight: Writing the Personal Essay

Writing the Personal Essay

With Amy Paturel
4 weeks Asynchronous: October 24 – November 20, Virtual via Wet Ink

Want to sell a personal essay, but don’t have a clue where to start? This 4-week personal essay writing intensive will guide you through every step, from essay idea to salable piece. You’ll learn how to:

  • Grab readers (and editors!)
  • Journal your way to essay ideas
  • Identify the critical elements of a salable essay
  • Critique your own essays and incorporate feedback from others
  • Pitch and submit essays

A parting gift: a loaded spreadsheet with more than 140 relevant markets, including editor contacts. Amy’s students have landed essays in such publications as The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, Oprah Magazine, Parents, Marie Claire, AARP and Huffington Post, among other heavy hitters.

$300 members; $375 non-members (includes one-year Charlotte Lit General Membership)Register

Free Events! Registration Open

Nov. 10: Joseph Bathanti & Friends: Writing 9/11 - Register

Dec. 3: Reginald Dwayne Betts: at Midwood Int'l Center Auditorium - Register
Nov. 5: Lola Haskins - Register
Feb. 4, 2022: Jessica Jacobs - Register
Mar. 25, 2022: Stuart Dischell - Register
Jun. 3, 2022: Laure-Anne Bosselaar - Register

Note: Proof of Covid vaccination is required to attend in-person Charlotte Lit events. After you register, email a snap of your vaccination card to

Writers/South Awards

• $10,000 in total prizes
• $1,500 1st / $500 2nd / $250 3rd
• Fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and flash
• Enter by December 1. Guidelines here

Tuesdays: Pen to Paper

Every Tuesday we gather on Zoom for a writing prompt, community writing time, and sharing — Led by Meg Rich, Kathie Collins, or Paul Reali — 9:30-10:30 a.m. Always free! Register for any session here to get the week's link.

What's What

Things We Like This Week

WHAT TO BLOG: Mark West's Storied Charlotte blog this week is about our own Lisa Zerkle and the creation of Charlotte Lit's 4X4CLT. Here's an excerpt of Lisa's comments: "When I fell for poetry, I fell hard. But I was acutely aware that this love of mine was not shared by the public at large. When they thought of poetry (if they thought of it at all) it was something rhymed, something written by a dead person, or something they had to learn for a test. That didn’t square with the fresh, timely, heartbreaking, compelling work I came across every time I read a book of contemporary poetry or literary journal. If they could read what I was reading, I figured, they’d love it, too."
WHAT TO POD: Charlotte Readers Podcast: In episode 254, host Landis Wade visits with Ed Southern, author of Fight Songs: A Story of Love and Sports in a Complicated South. Why do sports mean so much that so many will play and watch them in the face of a global pandemic? How have college sports shaped how southerners construct their identities, priorities, and allegiances? Fight Songs explores the connections and contradictions between the teams we root for and the places we plant our roots; between the hopes of fans and the demands of the past, present, and future.


Doris Betts Fiction Prize, sponsored by the NC Writers' Network, awards $250 and publication in the North Carolina Literary Review to a short story under 6,000 words. The final judge is Monique Truong. Deadline is October 31. Info
Press 53 Award for Short Fiction: For an outstanding, unpublished collection of stories. First Prize: $1,000 Advance, publication (softcover and hardcover), 50 copies. Deadline: December 31. Info
And don't forget: Charlotte Lit's Writers/South Awards. $10,000 in prizes, deadline December 1. Info

More Lit Arts Action


November 19- 21: Fall Conference, Sheraton Imperial in Durham-RTP — and available as a livestream so that writers can attend from home. More than 20 classes on the craft and business of writing, spread across five sessions in two days, plus three multi-session Master Classes, a Manuscript Mart and a Critique Service, and three general-session panel discussions: “From Lore to Lit and Back Again,” with the NC Folklife Institute; “Community Journalism,” sponsored by PEN America; and the ever-popular (and self-explanatory) “Agents & Editors.” Info


NEW! Atlanta Writers Conference, November 5-6, 2021, in-person at the Westin Atlanta Airport Hotel — with virtual options, too! Activities include: Manuscript Sample Critiques, Pitches, Query Letter Critiques, Workshops, Editor Q&A Panel, and Agent Q&A Panel. Info

NEW! Birds to Words: Celebrating Nature the Wing Haven Way, a two-day symposium November 3-4, with options to participate in one or all programs and experiences. Among the offerings: "Virtual Workshop: Writing With Nature, November 3 at 1:30 p.m. Info

Verse & Vino: Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Foundation’s signature annual fundraiser is a celebration of reading, writing and the joy of libraries – shared with a community of readers and New York Times best-selling authors. This year: Janet Evanovich, Alka Joshi, Heather Morris, Alex Michaelides, Bryant Terry, and debut author Wanda Morris. November 4, 7 p.m.

Flatiron Writers Room in Asheville hosts a number of great classes, some in person and some online. Check out Manipulating Time, November 14, with Tessa Fontaine; and Creating Audiobooks with Landis Wade, October 20. Info


October 22 (and every 4th Friday) — LIVE Open Mic Night for CWC Members to read their work, 6:45 - 9 p.m. Mug's Coffee, 5126 Park Road, Charlotte.


CHARLOTTE LIT'S MISSION is to celebrate the literary arts by educating and engaging writers and readers through classes, conversations, and community.

Charlotte Lit is a community, open to all. Through our programming and practices, we consciously reach out to non-majority and under-represented groups and individuals.

Charlotte Lit's Statement of Inclusivity, adopted by our Board of Directors

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