2014 Carolina Mountains Literary Festival Banquet Keynote Speaker, is noted poet, teaching artist,
and "Imagination Activist" who spreads her love of words and life through colorful verse. Her poetry books include Under the Sun, Glenis on Poetry, and Monumental.
Malaika King Albrecht is the author of three poetry books. Her most recent
book What the Trapeze Artist Trusts (Press 53) won honorable mention in the Oscar Arnold
Young Award and was a finalist in 2012 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. Her chapbook Lessons in Forgetting was published by Main Street Rag and was a finalist in the 2011 Next Generation Indie Book Awards and received honorable mention in the Brockman Campbell Award. Main Street Rag also published her second book Spill in 2011. Her poems have been published in many literary magazines and anthologies and nominated for Pushcarts. Her poems have won awards in several contests, including at Poetry Southeast, the North Carolina Poetry Council, Salem College and Press 53. She’s the founding editor of Redheaded Stepchild, an online magazine that only accepts poems that have been rejected elsewhere. She lives in Ayden, N.C. with her family and is a therapeutic riding instructor.
Joseph Bathanti, is an award winning poet and novelist, professor and advocate for literacy, as well as North Carolina’s own Poet Laureate since 2012. As North Carolina’s seventh poet laureate, Bethanti serves as the ambassador of North Carolina literature, past and present. His works include six books of poetry including This Metal (Press 53, 2012) and Restoring Sacred Art (Star Cloud Press, 2010), and two novels, along with a book of short stories titled The High Heart (Eastern Washington University Press, 2007). Along with being Poet Laureate he spreads his love of words as the professor of creative writing at Appalachian State University.
Richard Chess Richard Chess is the author of three books of poetry, Tekiah, Chair in
the Desert, and Third Temple. His poems have appeared in many journals and several anthologies, including *Best American Spiritual Writing 2005, Telling and Remembering: A Century of American-Jewish Poetry, The Bloomsbury Anthology of Contemporary American-Jewish Poetry, and Bearing the Mystery: Twenty Years of Image. He is a regular contributor to "Good Letters," a blog hosted by Image: A Journal of Art, Faith & Mystery. He is serving a second year as the Gilbert Chappell Distinguished Poet of Western North Carolina. He is Roy Carroll Professor of Honors Arts & Sciences at UNC Asheville. He directs UNC Asheville's Center for Jewish Studies.
Gretchen Griffith Gretchen Griffith has been instrumental in preserving local North Carolina stories through several oral history projects, including her 2012 Lessons Learned: The Story of Pilot Mountain School and her 2013 Called to the Mountains: The Story of Jean L. Frese. She is a former teacher with thirty years of experience from Head Start five year olds to college freshmen at Appalachian State University and Caldwell Community College, although she claims fourth grade as her favorite spot to fall. Her interest in international cultures began in high school when she was an exchange student in Lima, Peru and continues today through volunteer work with AFS, an intercultural program. Her 2013 children’s picture book, When Christmas Feels Like Home, is based on personal experiences of adapting to a new culture. She lives in Lenoir, North Carolina, with her husband, Van. They have two children, Jennifer and Allen, and two grandchildren, Gracie and Reagan.
Christine Hale, a native of the southern Appalachians, as were her parents, Ms. Hale grew up in Bristol, Virginia, is the author of a novel, Basil’s Dream (Livingston Press, 2009), which received honorable mention in the 2010 Library of Virginia Literary Awards. Basil’s Dream …seems to prove fiction can go where other forms can’t.” Ms. Hale’s creative nonfiction and short fiction have appeared in Arts & Letters, Saw Palm, The Sun, Apalachee Review, and New Madrid, among other journals. A fellow of MacDowell, Ucross, Hedgebrook, Hambidge and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Ms. Hale has been a finalist for the Autumn House Non-Fiction Contest, the Sonora Review Essay Contest, the Glimmer Train Short Story Award for New Writers, the Dana Award in Creative Nonfiction, and the Rona Jaffee Foundation Writers’ Award. A former Beebe Teaching Fellow at Warren Wilson College, she now teaches in the Antioch University – Los Angeles Low-Residency MFA Program as well as the Great Smokies Writing Program in Asheville, North Carolina. (see www.christinehalebooks.com)
Michael C. Hardy, fascinated by Civil War history, has penned nineteen books, and his articles have appeared in America's Civil War, Civil War Times, Gettysburg Magazine, and the Tar Heel Junior Historian. He is a graduate of the University of Alabama, and his writing has won numerous awards. In 2010, Michael was named the North Carolina Historian of the Year by the NC Society of Historians. He became a Roads Scholar for the NC Humanities Council in 2013. Michael lives in western North Carolina with his wife Elizabeth and their children, Nathaniel and Isabella. You can learn more by visiting his web site at: www.michaelchardy.com
Heather Newton was born in Raleigh, North Carolina where her
mother was an author of children’s books. With this creativity in her own home,
this inspired Newton to create and write at a young age. She majored in History
at Carnegie Mellon University and then went on to law school at UNC Chapel Hill
where she then settled down in Asheville to begin writing on her first novel.
Her third novel, Under the Mercy Trees
has won the 2011 Thomas Wolfe
Memorial Literary Award, was chosen by the Women’s National Book Association as
a Great Group Reads Selection and by the Southern Independent Bookstore
Alliance as an Okra Pick (“great southern fiction fresh off the vine”), and was
long-listed for both the 2012 SIBA Book Award and the American Library
Association’s Over The Rainbow project. She lives in Asheville and
continues to write.
Pat Riviere-Seele's poetry manuscript, The Serial Killer’s Daughter, was a finalist in the Main Street Rag Publishing Company’s 2008 chapbook contest and is scheduled for publication in early 2009. Her first collection of poems, No Turning Back Now, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2004 and nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Current poetry appears or is forthcoming in Kakalak 2008: An Anthology of Carolina Poets, Solo Café and Tar RiverPoetry.
Pat is Associate Editor of Asheville Poetry Review and has taught poetry writing classes for UNC Asheville’s Great Smokies Writing Program and College for Seniors. She is the past president of the NC Poetry Society. In her spare time she enjoys distance running.
Amy Willoughby-Burle is the author of Out Across the Nowhere, a collection of short stories. Her fiction has appeared in numerous literary journals such as Potomac Review, Inkwell, Sycamore Review, Reed Magazine, The MacGuffin and many others. She is the editor of Blue Lotus Review http://bluelotusreview.com, an interactive, online journal for literature, art, and music.
Amy was raised in the small coastal town of Kure Beach, North Carolina. She graduated with a BA in English (and an unfinished Masters in Creative Writing -- "sorry Mom and Dad") from East Carolina University. She spent several years in her husband's home state of Missouri before getting homesick for North Carolina. She now lives in the mountains near Asheville with her very gracious husband and four children.
Carolina since the time of the Revolutionary War. In 1917, the setting for A Short Time to Stay Here, his grandfather and grandmother, Julius and Belva Anderson Roberts, were farming in Anderson Cove, Madison County. Born in Asheville and raised in Weaverville, North Carolina, Roberts himself grew up close by his grandmother, Belva, who dipped snuff, raised chickens, farmed, and read till her eyes couldn’t bear it. A lifelong educator, Roberts is the Director of the National Paideia Center. Today, he lives with his family in Asheville, North Carolina.
Kevin Morgan Watson is the founder of Press 53, a publishing company in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Since opening in October of 2005, Press 53 has established a reputation for publishing quality poetry and short story collections, earning nearly 30 awards. Press 53 also has a mission to keep classic North Carolina literature in print, having republished works by John Ehle, Doris Betts, Guy Owen, and others. Kevin has worked with writers ranging from first-time published authors to winners of the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize, and he also serves as an advisor for short story adaptation with the screenwriting faculty at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, School of Filmmaking.
Kathy Pories has been a Senior Editor at Algonquin Books for seventeen years. She acquires literary fiction and narrative nonfiction; was for many years the Series Editor of New Stories from the South; and has been the editor for the last four Bellwether Prize winners. Authors she has worked with include: Rebecca Lee, Michael Parker, Robert Olmstead, Lauren Grodstein, Stacey D'Erasmo, Hillary Jordan, Heidi Durrow, Gabrielle Zevin, Bill Roorbach, and others. She received her Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Caroline Green Christopoulos has worked in bookstores since 2000. She has been a bookseller, bookbuyer, and events coordinator at Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe. She has done extensive work with the consignment program at Malaprop's and has a good sense of what does and doesn't work on the sales floor. She lives in Asheville with her husband and 7 pound dog.