2013 Carolina Mountains Literary Festival Banquet Keynote Speaker, is the author of the international bestseller The Historian. She graduated from Yale and holds an MFA from the University of Michigan, where she won the Hopwood Award for the Novel-in-Progress. Her latest novel is The Swan Thieves.
Price also wrote the Hiwassee series, four works of historical fiction set in his native Western North Carolina. They are Hiwassee;Freedom’s Altar; The Cock’s Spur; and Where the Water-DogsLaughed. Freedom’s Altarearned the 1999 Sir Walter Raleigh Award for historical fiction. Recently he has published four titles, Above the Caprock; Four Sixes to Beat: John Wesley Hardin in El Paso; Vengeance on the Sweetgrass; and Call Down Heaven’s Fire. All are works of historical fiction, the first three set in the Old West, the fourth in the medieval period. Price’s nonfiction book Season of Terror will appear this spring from the University Press of Colorado. It explores the consequences of a murderous rampage by Hispanic religious zealots in Southern Colorado in 1863. He is a native of Haywood County, NC and has been a Washington lobbyist, management consultant, urban planner and journalist. He and his wife Ruth are founders of the Carolina Mountains Literary Festival. He is a member of the North Caroliniana Society.
Stephanie Powell Watts, associate professor of English at Lehigh University, was awarded the Ernest J.Gaines Award for Literary Excellence for her debut story collection, We Are Taking Only What We Need. Watts’ work chronicles the lives of young African Americans who come from, or live near, the dark houses out on tangled dirt roads on the fringes of the county. We Are Taking Only What We Need has been frequently honored in the past year. It was one of two finalists for The Hemingway Foundation /PEN Award, as well as a finalist for the Chautauqua Prize, the John Gardner Short Story Award, and was on the longlist for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Prize. It has been listed as one of the best books of 2012 by The New Yorker, The Kansas City Star, and other publications. Stories from the collection have appeared in the Pushcart Prize anthology in 2008, Best New Stories from the South anthologies in 2007 and 2009, and two stories were cited as Distinguished Stories in the 2009 and 2011 Best American Short Stories anthologies.
Abigail DeWitt is the author of two novels, Lili (W.W.Norton) and Dogs (Lorimer Press) as well as
short stories which have been published in several literary journals, including The Carolina Quarterly, Salamander and The Journal. The recipient of a Michener Fellowship and a Tyrone Guthrie Residency Fellowship, as well as grants from the North Carolina Arts Council and the Asheville Arts Alliance, Abigail DeWitt received her BA from Harvard University and her MFA from the Iowa Writers Workshop. She has taught Creative Writing at Harvard Summer School, The Duke Writers Workshop, Appalachian State University and UNC-Asheville and has been the Visiting Writer-in-Residence at Lenoir-Rhyne University. She lives in Burnsville, NC with her husband and daughter.
Keith Flynn is the author of six books, including five collections of poetry: The Talking Drum (1991), The Book of Monsters (1994), The Lost Sea (2000), The Golden Ratio (Iris Press, 2007), and Colony Collapse Disorder (Wings Press, 2013). Flynn's popular collection of essays, The Rhythm Method, Razzmatazz and Memory: How To Make Your Poetry Swing (2007) was published by Writer's Digest Books. From 1984 to 1999, Flynn was lyricist and lead singer for the nationally acclaimed rock band, "The Crystal Zoo," which produced three albums: Swimming Through Lake Eerie (1992), Pouch (1996), and the spoken-word and music compilation, Nervous Splendor (2003). He is currently touring with a supporting combo, The Holy Men, whose album, LIVE at Diana Wortham Theatre, was released in 2011. Flynn's award-winning poetry and essays have appeared in many journals and anthologies around the world, including The American Literary Review, The Colorado Review, Poetry Wales, The Cuirt Journal (Ireland), Takahe (New Zealand), Poetry East, The Southern Poetry Review, Margie, Rattle, Shenandoah, Word and Witness: 100 Years of NC Poetry, Crazyhorse, and many others. He has been awarded the Sandburg Prize for poetry, the ASCAP Emerging Songwriter Prize, the Paumanok Poetry Award, and was twice named the Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet for North Carolina. Flynn is founder and managing editor of The Asheville Poetry Review, which began publishing in 1994. For more information, please visit: www.ashevillepoetryreview.com.
Holly Iglesias is a poet, translator and recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the North Carolina Arts Council, the Edward Albee Foundation and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Her work includes *Angles of Approach, Souvenirs of a Shrunken World, Fruta Bomba, Hands-on Saints *and* Boxing Inside the Box: Women’s Prose Poetry*. She teaches in the Master of Liberal Arts Program at the University of North Carolina-Asheville.
John Santa is an award winning producer and musician living in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He loves music and plays eighteen instruments. But he never said he played them well. At various points in his life he thought he was a guitar player, a writer, a cellist, a journalist and a producer. Then one day he realized he was really just a storyteller and his life got much, much easier. Among his proudest achievements are being voted Teacher Of The Year four years in a row at Piedmont Community College and founding the Marathon Jam for Charity
(www.marathonjam.com) which has spread to cities around the country and even overseas. He finds it delightfully ironic that as a poor struggling author/musician he has been able to raise substantial sums of money for various charities, most notably the Fisher House. He believes there is nothing more powerful than a good idea, but it helps a lot if you and your friends are more than a little bit crazy. Mr. Santa has won accolades for his book Bluegrass Is My Second Language: A Year In The Life Of An Accidental Bluegrass Musician and several documentary scripts, most notably Collateral Damage: Drug Abuse In Anesthesiology. He has won many awards for his video productions and while he revels in telling many different kinds of stories, he most enjoys the ones that in some way seek to make the world a better place, thus the preponderance of educational and medical videos in his resume. Mr. Santa is an accomplished songwriter and composer, having written music for commercials, films and television. He plays music with the band EIGHTwentythree (named for the first time the group ever played music together, August 23, 2001) and is the producer of their well-reviewed CD The Blessing Of The Strings.
Some say the glass is half full.
Some say half empty.
John just drinks the water.
Sharon lives in North Carolina and divides her time between the mountains and the coast. She is actively involved in a number of charitable and civic organizations and currently co-chairs a program that distributes food to those in need. She is a wife, mother, and grandmother.
Sharon Webb began her writing career at the ageTalking to Shadows was inspired by childhood memories of eccentric ancestors, and also by stories that were told and retold of the women in her family who were gifted with “the sight” ¾ the ability to communicate with those who had passed from this world into the next.
It became very
popular with teachers, librarians and parents across South Florida, and, in
2003, her second picture book; The Path
Winds Home was released.
Her work grabbed the
attention of a New York publisher, East End Publishing, and, in 2007, Ms.
DeVos’ third book, Barthello’s Wing,
was published. Scholastic Books included
it in their North American school book fairs and to date it has sold over
90,000 copies. In the spring of 2012, the
publisher at Little Giggles Press read DeVos’ latest manuscript, The Shopkeeper’s Bear, and published it
in November of that year.
Ms. DeVos has made numerous
appearances in schools, libraries and bookstores. She has been a keynote speaker; selected author for
special events; and served on various committees, including being the authors’
liaison for the Reading Across Broward Festival in 2006. Ms. DeVos’ books teach gentle
and loving lessons about acceptance, tolerance, and the importance of
recognizing the gifts we each possess. Presently,
she is finishing her first adult novel, while her fifth children’s book is being
illustrated for release later this year.
teaches environmental education at Warren Wilson College, a unique liberal arts school in Asheville, North Carolina that combines academics with work and service. A lifelong Episcopalian, she grew up on the Gulf Coast in Fairhope, Alabama, where her parents connected faith to environmental stewardship through actions such as giving up driving for Lent. In addition to teaching for 13 years in Western North Carolina, she has worked as a small-town journalist in Alabama, an environmental educator in Florida, and a Peace Corps volunteer in the Central African rainforest. Mallory has a Ph.D. in wildlife ecology and conservation and has published widely in both academic journals and the popular press. Her op-eds make connections between issues like climate change and the realities of day-to-day life and are regularly featured in USA Today, Sojourners, and The Huffington Post. Her books include Natural Saints: How People of Faith are Working to Save God’s Earth (Oxford University Press, 2010) and Sacred Acts: How Churches are Working to Protect Earth’s Climate (New Society Publishers, 2012). She lives on the campus of Warren Wilson College with her two daughters, Maya and Annie Sky.
Dale Neal is the author of the novels The Half-Life of Home and Cow Across America, winner of the 2009 Novello Literary Prize. His short fiction and essays have appeared in Arts & Letters, Carolina Quarterly, Marlboro Review, Crescent Review, and many other literary journals. A graduate of the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College, he has been awarded fellowships to the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Hambidge Center, and the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism at the University of Maryland. He is a prize-winning writer for the Asheville Citizen-Times, having covered entrepreneurs, police, local government, religion, arts, books, and technology. He is a lifelong native of North Carolina and lives in Asheville with his wife and dogs. When his nose is not buried in some book, he's bound to be out on the trails of the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains. Visit his website at www.dalenealbooks.com.
ne Scott Crawford was born and raised in the blue hills of the South Carolina Upcountry, the history and setting of which inspired her debut historical novel, Keowee Valley. Winner of a North Carolina Arts Award, she is a former newspaper reporter and outdoor educator, a college English teacher, and an avid hiker. She lives with her family in the mountains of Western North Carolina, where she tries to resist the siren call of her passport as she works on her next novel. Visit her website at www.katherinescottcrawford.com for more information, or to connect with her via Facebook, Twitter, and at her blog, The Writing Scott.
Bob Watts is an Assistant Professor in English/Creative Writing at Lehigh University. His first collection, Past Providence (David Robert Books, February 2005), won the 2004 Stanzas Prize from David Robert Books, and his poems have been published in Poetry, The Paris Review, and reDivider, among other journals. He was, with his wife, the fiction writer Stephanie Powell Watts, a founding co-editor of Center: A Journal of the Literary Arts while a PhD student in Creative Writing at the University of Missouri-Columbia.
of 2011 by the Poetry Commission of North Carolina, was published by Louisiana State University Press. Her sixth collection A Raft, A Boat, A Bridge is recently out from Dream Horse Press (2012). A Shared Life won the Iowa Poetry Prize given by the University of Iowa Press, and a Virginia Prize for Poetry, selected by Mary Oliver. Alluvial, a finalist for Library of Virginia Center Book Award, was published by Bucknell University Press. Soniat has taught on the faculty at Hollins University and Virginia Tech. Poems have appeared in recent issues of Women’s Review of Books, Iowa Review, Hotel Amerika, Antioch Review, Denver Quarterly,and IMAGE: Art, Faith, Mystery.Presentlyan instructor in the Great Smokies Writers Program/UNC-Asheville, she lives on a ravine in Kenilworth with a mother bear and two cubs. website: www.katherinesoniat.com Photo by Tracey Schmidt
Kane "Novakane" Smego is a National Poetry Slam finalist, Southern Fried Poetry Slam Champion, touring artist, and Artistic Director of 2010 Indy Arts Award-winner Sacrificial Poets, a nationally-competing youth poetry organization based out of the Durham-Chapel Hill area of North Carolina. Kane has taught workshops and performed all over the country, featuring at such historic venues as the Nuyorican Poets Café in NYC, the 2010 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, and the birth place of Slam Poetry, Chicago’s Green Mill. In the summer of 2011, Kane helped create and lead the Poetic Portraits of a Revolution (PPR2011) project that traveled to Egypt and Tunisia to collect stories of the popular revolutions, and broadcasted them as poems in an eight-week radio series on the National Public Radio affiliate WUNC. Kane was recently featured on the King Mez debut album, My Everlasting Zeal, alongside such accomplished artists as Lupe Fiasco’s producer, Soundtrakk, and Grammy Award-nominee J. Cole. Kane grew up in the Durham-Chapel Hill area, and graduated with highest distinction from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill class of 2010, where he was awarded the Sterling A. Stoudemire Chancellor’s Award for Excellence. Kane seeks to inspire youth and adults to tell their own stories, and challenges them to transform themselves and their communities through the use of the spoken and written word.
Susan Ketchin’s diverse experience in writing, teaching, and publishing includes her posts as Editor of The St. Andrews Review, Fiction Editor for Southern Exposure Magazine at the Institute for Southern Studies in Durham, NC, and Associate and Fiction Editor for DoubleTake Magazine at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. She has served as Associate Editor at Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill and Editor for the Fiction Series University Press of Mississippi. In 1994, Ketchin established an editorial consulting service, Renascence Literary Services, which she continues to operate. Susan has taught Creative Writing and Religion and Literature of the American South at Duke University, at North Carolina State University, and elsewhere. She was the Eudora Welty Co-Chair of Southern Studies at Millsaps College and a Visiting Lecturer at the Duke Divinity School. She has also taught U.S. and Regional Language and Culture at Duke University's Summer Institute for International MBA Students at the Fuqua School of Business. Susan’s publications include articles, interviews, and reviews, and two books, The Christ-Haunted Landscape: Faith and Doubt in Southern Fiction (University Press of Mississippi, 1994) and 25 and Under: Fiction (W.W. Norton, 1997), co-edited with Neil Giordano. Currently, she is working on a book that explores the impact and healing power of southern music in her life growing up in the Christ-haunted south. In addition to writing and editing, Susan lectures and performs throughout the U.S. on a wide range of topics, such as "Spiritual Autobiography: How Ancient Pilgrim Souls Speak to Us Today," "Music & Story-telling, Essentials of Community" and "God In Southern Story and Song." Susan often weaves songs into a lecture or presentation--such as "Poor, Wayfaring Stranger," from the Sacred Harp in a lecture on spiritual autobiography, or her award-winning original composition, "God Stood Waiting By the Side of the Road" into a talk about modern metaphors for timeless themes for "God in Southern Story and Song." Having studied theology and the arts at Union Theological Seminary, NYC, Susan leads weekend and day-long workshops on topics ranging from "Writing Fiction & Memoir--Do the Same Principles Apply?" to "Writing, Editing, and Publishing in the Digital Age." Susan is an accomplished musician specializing in traditional American music (folk, jazz, gospel, and blues). She sings and plays guitar, banjo, and upright bass and has recorded two award-winning albums with Rounder/Flying Fish Records. She currently teaches nonfiction creative writing at Meredith College in Raleigh.
Kathryn Newfont studies the rich temperate forests of the southern Appalachians and the people they have sustained, with a particular emphasis on environmental activism and national forest history. She teaches history and works with the Liston B. Ramsey Center for Regional Studies at Mars Hill College. Her first book, Blue Ridge Commons: Environmental Activism and Forest History in Western North Carolina, came out in February 2012 from University of Georgia Press. She finished drafting the manuscript with support from a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship. Blue Ridge Commons won the 2012 Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award from the Western North Carolina Historical Association, and the 2012 W.D. Weatherford Award for Nonfiction from the Appalachian Studies Association and Berea College. She is currently collaborating on an edited volume exploring oral history and public lands.
Chris Schweizer was born in 1980, grew up in Louisiana and Kentucky, and went to college at
grew up in Portland, Oregon, and has lived in Western North Carolina for the past 11 years. She is a graduate of the Pacific University MFA in Writing Program and recipient of the Linda Flowers Literary Award from the North Carolina Humanities Council. Her fiction has also received recognition from River Styx, Press 53, Whispering Prairie Press, and the International Short-Short Story Prize. Schultz has received writing fellowships in 8 different states, including honored residencies through the Jentel Foundation, Interlochen Center for the Arts, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and The Island Institute of Alaska. In 2009, Schultz co-authored Lost Crossings: A Contemplative Look at Western North Carolina's Historic Swinging Footbridges with photographer Shane Darwent, which has become a local favorite. (View the mini-doc as featured on UNC-TVhere.) In 2013, Loyola University Maryland published Schultz's first collection of short stories, Flashes of War, which features characters in and around the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and has been well-received by veterans, civilians, authors, and foreign war correspondents alike.
Robert Lynn "Bobby" McMillon, a North Carolina Folk Heritage Award recipient, was heir to numerous strands of Appalachian culture. From his father's family in Cocke County, Tennessee, he learned Primitive Baptist hymns and traditional stories and ballads. From his mother's people in Yancy and Mitchell Counties, North Carolina, he heard "booger tales, haint tales," and legends about the murder of a relative named Charlie Silver. In Caldwell County, he went to school with relatives of Tom Dula, learned their family stories, and heard ballads, gospel songs, and Carter family recordings. "The real storytelling," Bobby says, "was so intertwined that a bear tale or a fish tale or a witch tale or a tale of some history that had really happened—a family tale—they were all equally believable." He was always drawn to old songs and stories, but as a teenager he discovered the Frank C. Brown Collection of North Carolina Folklore in the Lenoir Public Library and got a glimpse of the historical background and significance of the things he knew. This inspired an enthusiasm for folklore documentation that has made him an invaluable resource to his community. By the age of seventeen, he had begun taping and interviewing family members, neighbors, and friends who knew old songs and stories. Even before that, he had begun to develop his skills as a performer. He and his cousins "would get together in the evenings" and "just tell everything in the world that we had heard." Bobby McMillon has performed throughout the state as a singer and storyteller. He has appeared at events such as the Smithsonian's Festival of American Folklife, the A. P. Carter Memorial Festival, national storytelling conferences, and the Festival for the Eno. For a decade he served public schools as part of the Artist in the Schools and Visiting Artist programs. Filmmaker Tom Davenport produced a film, The Ballad of Frankie Silver, that features Bobby singing the ballad and telling stories passed down in his family and community about the murder. Because these songs and tales have deep roots in his own family and experience, Bobby has a passion for them and for sharing them. "Eventually, I began to realize," he says "that if I didn't perform the songs I was learning, most of the repertories of the people I learned from would be lost because they didn't have family members of their own to hand them down to." His greatest gift is his rare ability to convey to listeners a feeling for the world from which the stories come.
Susan Woodring grew up—for the most part—in Greensboro, North Carolina. She alsoSusan credits a number of people and books with helping shape and sustain her work. Early on, Carol Carney, her next-door neighbor in Claremont, California, encouraged her very first stories and introduced her to a number of great books, including Gulliver’s Travels and Anne of Green Gables. Years and years later, at a Salvation Army thrift store, Susan picked up a copy of John Irving’s A Prayer for Owen Meany. From Irving, she learned an appreciation for the architecture of the novel, and a few years later, she learned the power of voice from Bret Lott’s Jewel. Other influences include Richard Yates’s Revolutionary Road, Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping and Gilead, Brad Watson’s The Heaven of Mercury, and Aimee Bender’s The Girl in the Flammable Skirt.
Susan lives in the foothills of North Carolina where she homeschools her two children and writes.