2019 Doris Betts Spring Literary Festival

Mitchell Community College will hold the seventh annual Doris Betts Spring Literary Festival March 30, 2019 on the College's Mooresville Campus. Events will include readings by authors, writing workshops and social events. During lunch, an Open Mic session will be held in the auditorium. All participants are invited to sign up at the event information booth and read their own works during the Open Mic. The 2019 visiting authors are Jaki Shelton Green and Patrice Gopo. All authors’ presentations will take place in the Auditorium on Mitchell's Mooresville Campus. This event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact festival coordinator Kelly Wisdom at or (704) 978-1315.


Schedule of Events   

Saturday, March 30

8:30 a.m. - Information Booth Opens - Internet Cafe, Mooresville Campus B Building (MCB)

Coffee and pastries

Open Mic sign-ups

9:30 a.m. - Writing Workshops - classrooms, MCB

Writing Workshop A–Building Our Human Museums with Jaki Shelton Green

Writing Workshop B–The Basics of Writing Compelling Personal Essays with Patrice Gopo 

(Space is limited, reservations required for all sessions. Please see descriptions below.)

10:30 a.m. - Break with Book sales and signing - hallway, MCB 

11:00 a.m. - Jaki Shelton Green - Auditorium, MCB

Noon - Lunch and Open Mic

Free boxed lunch, readings by faculty, staff, students and community members

1:30 p.m. - Patrice Gopo - Auditorium, MCB

2:30 p.m. - Book sales and signing - hallway, MCB


Writing Workshops

One hour concurrent sessions on Saturday, March 30 at 9:30 a.m. The sessions are free, but space will be limited. First come, first served. Please contact Kelly Wisdom at or (704) 978-1315.

Writing Workshop A–Building Our Human Museums with Jaki Shelton Green
We are all human museums carrying/holding/translating/secrets/identities/family/community/traditions/artifacts/
stories/symbols/joys/sorrows/fears/regrets/hopes/dreams/memories/amnesia/weapons/generational trauma/genetic de-ja-vu.

As you think of yourself as your own curator or personal anthropologist... what is in your human museum? What are the "rooms" "spaces" "containers" you create for the telling, for the keeping, for the knowing, for your stories, your creativity, and for your validations as a writer?

Participants will experience their writing instruments (pens, computers) becoming powerful excavation tools unearthing new creative texts or buried inspiration. This deep engagement will provide a significant opportunity to truly understand why we all should understand and manifest the need to be the curators of our own lives; hence the curators and guides for harvesting our creative lives. 

Writing Workshop B–The Basics of Writing Compelling Personal Essays with Patrice Gopo
Personal essays are a popular and important way to share deeper thoughts and insights about our lived experience. But how do we write a compelling personal essay? In this workshop, participants will learn the basics of writing an effective and satisfying personal essay. Through examples and writing exercises, we’ll learn how to write about our lived experience in a way that unearths deeper meaning and connects with readers and the broader world.


2019 Visiting Writers

Jaki Shelton Green

Jaki Shelton Green

Jaki Shelton Green, the current Poet Laureate of the state of North Carolina, is the author of many books of poetry, including Dead on Arrival, Masks, Conjure Blues, singing a tree into dance, and breath of the song. Over the past forty years, she has taught poetry and facilitated creative writing classes extensively at public libraries, universities and community colleges, public/private schools, and literary organizations such as the NC Writer’s Network, the NC Poetry Society, the University of Wisconsin, Texas A&M, Rutgers University, and many others. As a creativity coach, she facilitated workshops and trainings throughout the U.S, Europe, Caribbean Islands, Central and South America. She is the owner of SistaWRITE, providing writing retreats and travel excursions for women writers based in North Carolina and Morocco. She is also the co-editor of two anthologies: Poets for Peace and Immigration Emigration Diversity published by Chapel Hill Press, Inc. and currently serves as editor for the Jacar Press New Voices Series. 



Patrice GopoPatrice Gopo

Patrice Gopo’s essays have appeared in a variety of literary journals and other publications, including Gulf Coast, Full Grown People, Creative Nonfiction, and online in The New York Times and The Washington Post. She is the recipient of a North Carolina Arts Council Literature Fellowship, and her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She is the author of All the Colors We Will See, an essay collection about race, immigration, and belonging. Her book is a Fall 2018 Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection. 

Please visit to learn more.



This project was supported by the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support comes from the NC Arts Council Grassroots Grant and the Iredell Arts Council. 

This event is co-sponsored by the Diversity Enrichment Committee. At Mitchell Community College, we believe an inclusive culture puts diversity into action by producing a climate of engagement and respect where an array of beliefs, interests, experiences, and perspectives are valued and utilized to achieve our goals. The Diversity Enrichment Committee, with the support of the college administration, advises and recommends policy and practice on matters related to diversity, equity and inclusion.

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