Marlin Barton (Fiction) is the author of several award-winning books including The Dry Well, recipient of the Dictionary of Literary Biography Yearbook Award for a best first volume of short stories. He recently received the first Truman Capote Prize for short fiction by an Alabama writer, which will be presented during the annual Alabama Writers Symposium this year. He is also author of the story collection Dancing by the River and the novels A Broken Thing and The Cross Garden. His newest novel, Pasture Art, was released in March 2015. His work has appeared in Shenandoah, The Southern Review, VQR, Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards, and Best American Short Stories. Barton’s work has received a number of awards including the Andrew Lytle Prize from Sewanee Review and two Individual Artist Fellowships from the Alabama State Council on the Arts. He has taught at Clemson University, Auburn University-Montgomery, Huntingdon College, and Wichita State University. Barton currently lives in Montgomery, Alabama where he is assistant director of the Writing Our Stories project.
Suzanne Cleary (Poetry) is the author of Beauty Mark, published in 2013 as winner of the John Ciardi Prize for Poetry by BkMk Press (University of Missouri-Kansas City). Beauty Mark also won the Eugene Paul Nassar prize from Utica College, and received the 2014 Paterson Award for Literary Excellence. Her previous books are Trick Pear (2007) and Keeping Time (2002), both published by Carnegie Mellon. Her poems have appeared in journals including The Atlantic, Georgia Review, New Ohio Review, Poetry International, and Poetry London, and in anthologies including Best American Poetry, Poetry 180, and Don’t Leave Hungry: 50 Years of Southern Poetry Review. Recipient of a Pushcart Prize, she is Professor of English at the State University of New York at Rockland, and has taught at the Frost Place and the Hudson Valley Writers’ Center, where she also serves on the advisory board for Slapering Hol Press.
C. Michael Curtis
C. Michael Curtis (Nonfiction and Fiction) has been the influential fiction editor at The Atlantic Monthly for more than four decades. Under his direction The Atlantic Monthly’s fiction has received a prestigious National Magazine Award and individual stories selected and edited by Curtis have year after year been included in such important annual prize collections as Best American Short Fiction, the Pushcart Prize and others. Curtis has also edited several books including American Stories: Fiction From The Atlantic Monthly, Contemporary New England Stories, Contemporary West Coast Stories, God: Stories, and many more. His own essays, articles, reviews, and poems have been published in The Atlantic, The New Republic, National Review, andSport, among other periodicals. Curtis is also renowned for his teaching, and he has taught creative writing and other subjects at Harvard, MIT, Cornell, Tufts, Boston University, Bennington, and Wofford.
Denise Duhamel’s (Poetry) most recent book Blowout (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2013) was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her other titles include Ka-Ching! (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2009), Two and Two (Pittsburgh, 2005), Mille et un Sentiments (Firewheel, 2005), Queen for a Day: Selected and New Poems (Pittsburgh, 2001); The Star-Spangled Banner (Southern Illinois University Press, 1999); and Kinky (Orchises Press, 1997). A bilingual edition of her poems, Afortunada de mí (Lucky Me), translated into Spanish by Dagmar Buchholz and David Gonzalez, came out in 2008 with Bartleby Editores (Madrid.) She served as guest editor of The Best American Poetry 2013. A recipient of NEA and Guggenheim Fellowships, she is a professor at Florida International University in Miami.
Tommy Hays’s first middle-grade novel, What I Came to Tell You, was a VOYA Top Shelf Pick for Middle Grade Fiction and an Okra Pick by the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance. His novel, The Pleasure Was Mine, was a Finalist for the SIBA Fiction Award and was chosen for numerous community reads, including the One City, One Book program in Greensboro and the Amazing Read in Greenville, SC. The novel was read on NPR’s “Radio Reader” and South Carolina ETVRadio’s “Southern Read”.
His other novels are Sam’s Crossing and In the Family Way, a Book of the Month Club selection and winner of the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award. He’s published stories in Redbook, The Chattahoochee Review, storySouth and other publications. He’s Executive Director of the Great Smokies Writing Program and Lecturer in the Master of Liberal Arts and Sciences program at UNC Asheville. He’s a board member of the North Carolina Writers Network and a member of the National Book Critics Circle. He received his BA in English from Furman University and graduated from the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College.
Cary Holladay (Fiction) is the author of seven volumes of fiction, most recently Horse People: Stories (LSU Press 2013) and The Deer in the Mirror (Ohio State UP 2013). Her awards include an O. Henry Prize and a literary fellowship from the NEA. A native of Virginia, she teaches at the University of Memphis.
Jim Minick is the author of five books, including the novel Fire Is Your Water and The Blueberry Years: A Memoir of Farm and Family, winner of the SIBA Best Nonfiction Book of the Year Award. He’s also written a collection of essays, “Finding a Clear Path“, two books of poetry, Her Secret Song and Burning Heaven, and he edited All There Is to Keep by Rita Riddle.
His honors include the Jean Ritchie Fellowship in Appalachian Writing, and the Fred Chappell Fellowship at University of North Carolina-Greensboro. Minick has also won awards from the Southern Independent Booksellers Association, Southern Environmental Law Center, The Virginia College Bookstore Association, Appalachian Writers Association, Appalachian Heritage, Now and Then Magazine, and Radford University. Minick’s work has appeared in many publications including Poets & Writers, Oxford American, Orion, Shenandoah, Encyclopedia of Appalachia, The Sun, Conversations with Wendell Berry, San Francisco Chronicle, Appalachian Journal, and The Bark. Currently, he is Assistant Professor of English at Augusta University and Core Faculty at Converse College’s low-residency MFA program.
Rick Mulkey (Poetry) is the author of five collections including Ravenous: New & Selected Poems, Toward Any Darkness, Before the Age of Reason, and Bluefield Breakdown. His work appears in the anthologies American Poetry: the Next Generation, The Southern Poetry Anthology: Volume I and Volume II, and A Millennial Sampler of South Carolina Poetry, among others. Individual poems and essays have appeared in a variety of venues such as Crab Orchard Review, Denver Quarterly, The Literary Review, The Connecticut Review, North Dakota Quarterly, Poet Lore, Poetry East, Shenandoah, Southern Poetry Review and Poetry Daily. His awards include the Hawthornden Fellowship for Writing, the Charles Angoff Award from The Literary Review, and the Editor’s Choice Award from Still: the Journal. An Associate Professor of English and director of creative writing, Mulkey is co-founder of the Low Residency MFA in creative writing at Converse College.
Sheila O’Connor a literary and Y.A. fiction writer whose five novels: Until Tomorrow, Mr. Marsworth, Tokens of Grace, Where No Gods Came, Sparrow Road, and Keeping Safe the Stars, have received wide critical acclaim and awards, including the Michigan Prize for Literary Fiction, Minnesota Book Award, International Reading Award, and Midwest Booksellers Award, among others. Her books have been included in Best Books of the Year by Booklist, VOYA, Book Page, Bank Street, Chicago Public Library, and Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers. A multi-genre writer, her work has been anthologized in Riding Shotgun: Women Write about Their Mothers, The Next Parish Over, Mothers and Daughters, and Best of Helicon Nine. Her short stories, poems, and essays have been published in magazines and anthologies including Bellingham Review, Minnesota Monthly, Alaska Quarterly Review, Baltimore Review, Great River Review, Blue Earth Review, and others. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Sheila O’Connor has been awarded Bush Fellowships (2003, 2009), Minnesota State Arts Board Fellowships (2004, 2015), and a McKnight Fellowship. She has also been the recipient of artist residencies from The Studios of Key West, Anderson Center for Interdisciplinary Studies, Tyrone Guthrie Center, and Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild. She is an associatea professor in the MFA program at Hamline University where she serves as fiction editor for Water~Stone Review.
Robert Olmstead (Fiction) is the author of nine books, including Savage Country which was published by Algonquin in September 2017, and was an Amazon “Best Book of October 2017.” Other recent award-winning novels include The Coldest Night, and Coal Black Horse published by Algonquin Books. He also has published a textbook for fiction-writing workshops (“Elements of the Craft”) and a non-fiction memoir (“Stay Here with Me: A Memoir”), plus numerous individual stories and essays in some of our nation’s finest magazines. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship and an NEA grant. He has taught in numerous colleges, universities and writing workshops, including Dickinson College, UC Irvine, Boise State University and the Summer Literary Seminars in St. Petersburg, Russia. His novel Far Bright Star is in production as a feature film directed by Casey Affleck, starring Joaquin Phoenix, and adapted for the screen by Damien Ober.
(Fiction and nonfiction) Pietrzyk’s collection of short stories, This Angel On My Chest, won the 2015 Drue Heinz Literature Prize and was published by University of Pittsburgh Press. SILVER GIRL, a novel, is forthcoming from The Unnamed Press (based in L.A.) in February 2018, and her serialized historical novel, REVERSING THE RIVER, can be found on the literary app Great Jones Street. She is the author of Pears on a Willow Tree (Avon) and A Year and a Day (William Morrow). Her award-winning short fiction and essays have appeared/are forthcoming in, among others, Southern Review, Arts & Letters, Shenandoah, The Gettysburg Review, The Iowa Review, Washingtonian, The Sun, Salon, New England Review, River Styx, Hobart, Midwestern Gothic, Cincinnati Review, and The Washington Post Magazine. Organizations awarding fellowships include the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, Virginia Center for the Arts, Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, the Hambidge Center, and Hawthornden International Retreat at Hawthornden Castle in Scotland. She is the founder/editor of Redux, an online journal of previously published work not available elsewhere on the internet.
Susan Tekulve (Nonfiction and Fiction) is the author of the award-winning novel In the Garden of Stone and three short story collections: Savage Pilgrims, Wash Day and My Mother’s War Stories. Her stories and essays have appeared in Shenandoah, The Georgia Review, New Letters, Best New Writing 2007, The Indiana Review, Denver Quarterly, Puerto del Sol, Prairie Schooner, Another Chicago Magazine, North Dakota Quarterly,Connecticut Review, Beloit Fiction Journal, Crab Orchard Review, The Literary Review, Webdelsol, Black Warrior Review, Contemporary World Literature and The Kansas City Star. She has been awarded the South Carolina Novel Prize, the Winnow Press Award in Fiction, a Sewanee Writers’ Conference Tennessee Williams Scholarship, a Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference Scholarship, the Editor’s Choice Award in Best New Writing 2007, the gold medal in the Independent Publisher Book Awards as the best novel published in the South by an independent press in 2014, the 2012 winner of South Carolina First Novel Prize. and an AWP Intro Award. She served as a book reviewer for BOOK Magazine for five years, and she continues to contribute book reviews to academic journals, including The Literary Review, Prairie Schooner and New Letters. An Associate Professor of English, she teaches in the BFA and MFA in creative writing programs at Converse College.
Richard Tillinghast (Poetry and Nonfiction) is the author of twelve books of poetry and four of creative nonfiction. He studied with Robert Lowell at Harvard while getting his PhD there and later wrote a critical memoir, Robert Lowell’s Life and Work: Damaged Grandeur. With a Sinclair-Kennedy travel grant from Harvard he traveled in Europe in 1966-67, and again in 1990-91 with an Amy Lowell travel grant, also from Harvard. His Selected Poems came out in 2010, and in 2010 he was awarded a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship in poetry in addition to a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in translation for Dirty August, his versions of poems by the Turkish poet, Edip Cansever, written in collaboration with his daughter, Julia Clare Tillinghast. Poems of his have appeared in The Atlantic, Paris Review, The New Yorker, American Poetry Review, Poetry, Best American Poetry, The Best of Irish Poetry, and many other places. His 2012 travel book, An Armchair Traveller’s History of Istanbul, was nominated for the Royal Society of Literature’s Ondaatje Prize. He has been a faculty member at Harvard, Berkeley, the University of Michigan, the college program at San Quentin prison, and Sewanee. Beginning in 2005 Richard lived in Ireland for six years, moving back to this country in 2011. He currently teaches part-time in Converse College’s low-residency MFA program and divides his time between Sewanee, Tennessee, and the Big Island of Hawaii.
Kerry D’Agostino is a literary agent at Curtis Brown, Ltd. She received her bachelor’s degree in English from Bowdoin College, her masters in Art in Education from Harvard Graduate School of Education, and her certificate in publishing from the Columbia Journalism School. She started at Curtis Brown in 2011 as assistant to Tim Knowlton and Holly Frederick in the Film and Television Department. After some time as a film and audio rights associate, she also began assisting Peter Ginsberg. In addition to her continued work with Peter, Kerry now represents authors of literary and commercial fiction, and select narrative nonfiction. She is particularly interested in work that is voice driven, accessible, and authentic. Above all, she is drawn to work that either introduces her to someone, somewhere, or something new, or makes her see something old in a new way. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband.
Nonfiction writer Tessa Fontaine spent a season performing with the last traveling circus sideshow, the World of Wonders, where she learned to eat fire, charm snakes, and dance with four legs. Her book about that experience, THE ELECTRIC WOMAN, is forthcoming from Farrar, Straus & Giroux in May 2018. Raised outside San Francisco, Tessa received her M.F.A. from the University of Alabama. She has won awards in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, the University of Alabama’s National Alumni Fellowship, Boone Fellowship, Truman Capote Award, First-Year Teaching Award, the Robert Snow Fellowship at the University of Utah, and fellowships from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Writing by Writers, the Taft Nicholson Center, and more. Her nonfiction won the 2016 Associated Writing Program’s Intro Journals Prize. For four years, Tessa has been teaching creative writing and performance inside prisons and jails in Alabama and Utah. In 2016, she founded a Salt Lake City Writers in the Schools program. She currently lives in South Carolina.
Born and raised in Topeka, Kansas, Gary Jackson is the author of the poetry collection Missing You, Metropolis, which received the 2009 Cave Canem Poetry Prize. His poems have appeared in Callaloo, Tin House, Crab Orchard Review, and elsewhere. He is the recipient of both a Cave Canem and Bread Loaf fellowship, and an associate poetry editor at Crazyhorse. He currently teaches in the MFA program at the College of Charleston in Charleston, SC.
Randall Kenan is a critically-acclaimed writer of fiction and nonfiction. Kenan’s first novel, A Visitation of Spirits, was published by Grove Press in 1989 and a collection of stories, Let the Dead Bury Their Dead, was published in 1992 by Harcourt. That collection was nominated for the Los Angeles Times Book Award for Fiction, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and was among The New York Times Notable Books of 1992. He is also the author of a young adult biography of James Baldwin (1993), and wrote the text for Norman Mauskoff’s book of photographs, A Time Not Here: The Mississippi Delta (1997). Walking on Water: Black American Lives at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century was published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1999, and was nominated for the Southern Book Award. The Fire this Time, a work of nonfiction, was published in 2007. From 1985 to 1989 he worked on the editorial staff of Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., publishers. In 1989 he began teaching writing at Sarah Lawrence College and Columbia University. He was the first William Blackburn Visiting Professor of Creative Writing at Duke University in the fall of 1994, and the Edourd Morot-Sir Visiting Professor of Creating Writing at UNC-Chapel Hill in 1995. He was the John and Renee Grisham Writer-in-Residence at the University of Mississippi, Oxford (1997-98), Visiting Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Memphis, and held the Lehman Brady Professorship at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. He has also taught urban literature at Vassar College. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Sherwood Anderson Award, the John Dos Passos Award, and was the 1997 Rome Prize winner from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He was awarded the North Carolina Award for Literature in 2005.
Juan J. Morales is the author of three poetry collections, including Friday and the Year That Followed, The Siren World and The Handyman’s Guide to End Times (forthcoming UNM Press, 2018). His poetry has appeared in Copper Nickel, Crab Orchard Review, Green Mountains Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Pank, Pleiades, terrain.org, Zone 3, and others. He is also a CantoMundo Fellow, Editor/Publisher of Pilgrimage Press, and Department Chair of English & World Languages at Colorado State University-Pueblo.
Megan Hansen Shepherd
New York Times bestselling author Megan Shepherd’s first novel, The Madman’s Daughter (HarperCollins, 2013), was a Kids’ Indie Next List selection from the American Booksellers Association, won the 2013 North Carolina Young Adult Book Award, and received a starred review from School Library Journal. It was followed by two more books in the series, Her Dark Curiosity and A Cold Legacy, and was optioned for film by Paramount Pictures. Megan’s second young adult series, The Cage (HarperCollins, 2015), is a New York Times bestselling title, and is followed by The Hunt and The Gauntlet. Her next young adult series, Grim Lovelies (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018) is forthcoming.
Megan’s debut middle grade title, The Secret Horses of Briar Hill (Random House, 2016), received starred reviews from Kirkus, Booklist, and Shelf Awareness, and was written about in Time magazine and The Wall Street Journal.
“Born” into the book world, Megan grew up in her family’s independent bookstore in the Blue Ridge Mountains. She now lives and writes on a 125-year-old farm outside Asheville, North Carolina
The American Library Association’s Booklist magazine has named Allan Wolf’s The Watch that Ends the Night one of The 50 Best YA Books of All Time. An author and performance poet living in Asheville, NC, Wolf has twice received the North Carolina YA Book Award. Allan spent fifteen years as the educational director of Poetry Alive!, and he is considered one of the founding fathers of the National Poetry Slam movement. Winner of the prestigious Claudia Lewis Poetry Award from Bank Street College, Wolf’s poetry has appeared in many diverse publications from Lady Bug Magazine to the North Carolina Literary Review. Wolf’s many books showcase his love of history, research, and poetry. Titles include Zane’s Trace, New Found Land, More Than Friends (with Sara Holbrook), The Blood-Hungry Spleen, and Immersed in Verse. His latest verse novel, Who Killed Christopher Goodman?, is based on the 1979 murder of a high school friend. With literally hundreds of poems committed to memory, Wolf travels the country presenting author visits, poetry shows, and inspirational talks for all ages.