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, Bathanti 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 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 is a native of the southern Appalachians, as were her parents. Ms. Hale grew up in Bristol, Virginia, and 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-Seel's most recent poetry collection, Nothing Below but Air was
published in March, 2014. She is the author of previous collections, The Serial Killer’s Daughter, winner of the 2009 NC Literary and Historical Society’s Roanoke Chowan Award for Poetry, and No Turning Back Now (2004) a Pushcart Prize nominee. She was awarded a fellowship from the Hambidge Center for Arts and Sciences and has served as Poet in Residence at the North Carolina Zoo. A graduate of the MFA Program for Writers at Queens University of Charlotte, she teaches in the Great Smokies Writing Program at UNC-Asheville. Pat is a former lobbyist, publicist, award-winning journalist, and editor. www.patriviereseel.com .
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.
William Boggess began his career at Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, before working at Barer Literary as the agency assistant until 2010. After leaving for two years to work on the editorial side at Little, Brown and Company, he is returning to represent literary fiction and narrative nonfiction, as well as provide editorial support for the agency’s authors. He grew up in the mountains of North Carolina, and attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Tommy Hays’ first middle grade novel, What I Came to Tell You, published in September, was chosen as a Fall 2013 Okra Pick by the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) as one of the books booksellers are most eager to sell. His novel, The Pleasure Was Mine, was a Finalist for the SIBA Fiction Award in 2006, and has been 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 National Public Radio’s “Radio Reader” and South Carolina ETVRadio’s “Southern Read”. His other novels are Sam’s Crossing, which has been recently re-released, and In the Family Way, winner of the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award. He is Executive Director of the Great Smokies Writing Program and Lecturer in the Master of Liberal Arts program at UNC Asheville. He teaches in the MFA Creative Writing Program at Murray State University and was the Sara Lura Matthews Self Writer-in-Residence at Converse College in January. 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. He lives in Asheville with his wife, Connie, and their two children, Max and Ruth.
Author photo by Michael Mauney
KANE “Novakane” Smego is a spoken word poet and Artistic Director of Sacrificial Poets/YouTh ink, a nationally competing youth poetry organization that works with local middle and high school youth. Kane grew up in the Durham-Chapel Hill area, and recently graduated with highest distinction from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill class of 2010, where he was awarded the Sterling A. Stoudemire Award for Excellence in Spanish Language. He is an adult National Slam Poet and four time member of the Bull City Slam team that finished 3rd at the 2010 National Poetry Slam in St. Paul, MN, and took 1st place at the 2010 Southern Fried Southern Regional Poetry Slam in Knoxville, TN. In 2008, Kane won the Lake Eden Arts Festival (LEAF) poetry slam amidst some of the country’s top poets, and later that year competed in the Individual World Poetry Slam (IWPS) where he finished 14th in the world out of nearly 80 poets. He was also a 2010 Duo Slam champion and 2010 Black on Black Rhyme Two Piece and a Side Slam champion. Kane has featured all over the country, performing 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. As an educator Kane has co-coached three Sacrificial Poets youth teams at the Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam Festival (BNV) from 2008-2010, taking the team to semifinals the last two years. Kane teaches youth poetry workshops throughout North Carolina and across the nation, inspiring youth and adults to tell their own stories, and challenging them to transform themselves and their communities through the use of the spoken word. He is the primary author of the Sacrificial Poets/YouTh ink. curriculum, and is the founder of Poetic Justice, an afterschool program focused on Spoken Word and Hip Hop which he runs with underserved youth in Durham, NC. In the summer of 2011 Kane was 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. Later that year, he completed a three and a half month spoken word tour across the nation, in which he performed original work and taught youth workshops in 17 states. 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 word and written word. He has been hired to perform and facilitate poetry workshops with a number of notable organizations and institutions including: UNC Chapel Hill, UNC-Wilmington, the Ackland Art Museum, Upward Bound, Duke Creative Writer’s Workshop, Bennett College, Soka University, California State at Berkely, the NAACP, The North Carolina Arts Council, and the Durham, Chapel Hill-Carrboro, Chatham County, Forsyth County and Asheville Public School Systems.
Jay Erksine Leutze was born in Virginia in 1964. He now lives in the Southern Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina. Trained as an attorney, he has become a leading voice for state and federal conservation funding for investment in public lands. He is a Trustee for Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, one of the nation’s most established land trusts. He is the author of Stand Up that Mountain: The Battle to Save One Small Community in the Wilderness Along the Appalachian Trail, in the tradition of A Civil Action— it’s the true story of a North Carolina outdoorsman who teams up with his Appalachian “mountain people” neighbors to save treasured land from being destroyed.
The Traditional Voices Group preserves our Appalachian heritage through its Oral History Project whose mission is to collect remembrances of the older generation about their lives in these mountains. Memory Minutes are stories taken from recorded interviews which are shortened and rearranged to fit a one minute spot on the local radio stations.
Nanci Mansfield, who takes part in the interview and writing process, has always been fascinated with the lives of others and began her listening career as a small child on her grandmother's lap.
Marilyn McVicker's first poetry chapbook, Some Shimmer of You, was published by Finishing Line Press in June 2014. Marilyn’s essays, articles, and poems have appeared in a variety of periodicals and newspapers. Her nonfiction book, Sauna Detoxification Therapy, was published by McFarland & Company in 1997. Following a career as a solo flutist and music educator, she moved from the Baltimore-Washington area to the western mountains of North Carolina in 1995. In 2012, the North Carolina Poetry Society selected Marilyn to participate in the Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poets Series, a mentoring program that gave Marilyn the opportunity to work with Dr. Richard Chess of UNC-Asheville. Her year of study culminated in two poetry readings with Dr. Chess. Marilyn’s fascination with words and self-expression stems from her musicianship and family association with sign language. She is an accomplished water safety instructor, and served as general contractor for her non-toxic healthy house and studio. Marilyn has three daughters and eight grandchildren. She is currently working on a memoir.
CATHY Larson Sky
has lived in Spruce Pine, North Carolina since 2007. She is originally from the rocky sea coast of New England, a setting she loved but abandoned to marry a Southern man and follow him first to County Clare, Ireland, then to Chapel Hill, NC. Through the years she has embraced a rich music life in traditional Irish fiddling, both in Ireland and among players in the United States. Her husband Patrick is a player and maker of the Irish Uilleann pipes; together they have performed in festivals and clubs along the Eastern seaboard and recorded a CD, Down to us. Since 1987 she’s written features, music reviews, and columns for publications such as the Raleigh News and Observer, Independent Weekly, NC Folklore Journal, and New Hibernia Review. It wasn’t until she and Patrick relocated from the urban college environment of Chapel Hill to the small mountain mining town of Spruce Pine, that she devoted herself to poetry.
It seems to be true that a need to write things down is part of living in Appalachia with its sometimes-harrowing isolation. Another mountain truth is the frank need for help from others in order to survive. In that spirit, Cathy has received generous support for her work from teachers of the Great Smoky Mountains Writers Program as well as friends at Eve’s Night Out, a women’s writing group in Burnsville, NC. The annual Carolina Mountains Literary Festival, also in Burnsville, brings fresh inspiration to a perennially enthusiastic writing and reading community, so fond of words that the wooden floor of a local restaurant is painted with poems by local writers, in letters entwined with wildflowers.
During these years in the hills, Cathy’s poems have appeared in Western North Carolina Woman, The Great Smokies Review and Womego online magazine. Her chapbook of poetry, Blue egg, my heart, was published this year by Finishing Line Press. At the podium, Cathy sometimes weaves her fiddling into poetry performance, believing that the beauty of Irish tunes opens hearts to word and emotion.
Read Cathy’s fiddle chats at: http://www.patricksky.com/Fiddle.htm
Find her rants, essays, and poetry at: http://cathylarsonsky.blogspot.com/
Ruth Price has written extensively on caregiving for frail, older adults. Her writing has been published in hard copy newsletters, magazines, journals, federal regulations and law, and books as well as online. Since 1995 she has been the content editor of her husband Charles Price’s fiction and non-fiction works. In 2011 she e-published four of his novels.
Jim R. Rogers is a North Carolinian – born and raised in Tabor City. He spent the greater part of his next years in Korea, Charlotte, Atlanta, New York, and LA, engaged as a director, producer and writer in advertising, radio, television, film, and commercial production before changing paths and returning to the Southeast.
Jim graduated from UNC Chapel
Hill, and four
decades later, he earned his
early childhood education from Coastal
Carolina University. He has
been a columnist for 19 years for the regional newspaper Parent News --- and as
a nationally certified parenting and family life educator, a CFLE, conducted
parenting workshops throughout the region for twenty-years.
Jim has published two books, The Incredible Importance of Effective Parenting, and his free
verse poetry book featured at the festival, Starts
And Stops Along The Way: Sharing Some Stuff From The Road Most Travel, a thematic collection about the
aging process. He has contributed his story and poetry to Let the Beauty You Love Be What You Do, poetry to Teaching With Fire, and a chapter in Constructivist Teaching Strategies on
partnering with parents education. He wrote and directed the DVDs, Who Makes Us Us? We Do; The Mystery of The
Dance; Speak Up: Lessons From a Hidden Child; Calling All Colors; and won two
national CLIO awards for commercials.
A member of National Parenting
formerly on the council, and active in the National Council
Jim is a retired member of the Director’s
Guild of America, the father of three adult children and the grandfather of
four boys. He is co- owner of still learning, inc. with Dr. Sally Z. Hare. They
work and live in Surfside Beach, with two dogs, TBO and Eleanor
Katey Schultz grew up in Portland, Oregon and is most recently from Celo, North Carolina. 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. Katey teaches workshops, mentors via correspondence, freelances, and travels for her work. In September 2013, her debut short story collection, Flashes of War, was awarded the Gold Medal Book of the Year in Literary Fiction by the Military Writers Society of America and, most recently, the IndieFab Book of the Year Award from ForeWord Reviews. Currently, Katey is writing a novel set in Afghanistan. She lives in a 1970 Airstream trailer bordering the Pisgah National Forest.
Barbara Bates Smith's adaptation and Off-Broadway performance of “Ivy Rowe” from Lee Smith's Fair and Tender Ladies has led to extensive touring of Lee Smith’s works over the past 25 years. Original monologues are “The C-Word: Her Own Cancer Story” & "Confessions of a Clergy Wife.” "Go, Granny D!" tours nationwide: the story of the 90-year-old crusader who walked across the U.S. for election reform. Recent regional roles have been in Wit, Doubt, Hamlet, & August: Osage County. Her musical accompanist is Jeff Sebens. Website: www.barbarabatessmith.com
Allan Wolf Two time winner of the North Carolina YA Book Award, Allan Wolf is an author and performance poet living in Asheville, NC. His 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 (NC YA Book Award) and New Found Land (winner of a Lion and the Unicorn Honor for Excellence in North American Poetry), More Than Friends: Poems from Him and Her, and Immersed in Verse. His latest verse novel, The Watch that Ends the Night: Voices from the Titanic, was awarded the prestigious Claudia Lewis Poetry Award for the best poetry book of the year by Bank Street College. With literally hundreds of poems committed to memory, Wolf travels the country presenting author visits and poetry shows for all ages. http://www.allanwolf.com/
Debbie Littledeer grew up in the mountains of North Carolina, and except for two years of her life has lived, played and worked somewhere in the Blue Ridge mountains. Since childhood she has loved to draw and paint. At Mars Hill College, NC, she studied art and graduated cum laude in 1980 with a B.A. in Studio Art and Art History. After graduating she worked at various craft shops, a library, and as an arts and crafts instructor for children. She started screen printing full time in 1986, has been a member of the Southern Highland Craft Guild ever since, and has studied at Penland School of Crafts and John C. Campbell Folk School.. Many years ago, her friend and fellow artist, Ellie Kirby placed one of Debbie's silkscreen prints on her seven year-old Rosy’s bedroom wall. A few days later, Rosy presented Ellie with her own illustrated story about rabbits getting together to dance, all inspired by Debbie's print. A few years ago, Ellie invited Debbie to collaborate on creating a children’s book. The Rabbits Dance, based on Rosy’s story is the result. Debbie made 18 illustrations, and Ellie painted pictures of Debbie's daughter Sophia, the model for the little girl in the book. http://debbielittledeer.com