2016 Authors



DAVID GEORGE HASKELL‘s work integrates scientific, literary, and contemplative studies of the natural world. His book, The Forest Unseen: A Year’s Watch in Nature (http://theforestunseen.com; Viking, 2012), was winner of the National Academy of Sciences’ Best Book Award for 2013, finalist for the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in nonfiction, winner of the 2013 Reed Environmental Writing Award, winner of the 2012 National Outdoor Book Award for Natural History Literature, and runner-up for the 2013 PEN E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award. A profile in The New York Times said of Haskell that he “thinks like a biologist, writes like a poet, and gives the natural world the kind of open-minded attention one expects from a Zen monk rather than a hypothesis-driven scientist” (http://ow.ly/ojNZo). E. O. Wilson wrote that The Forest Unseen was “a new genre of nature writing, located between science and poetry.” Viking will publish Haskell’s next book, Songs of Trees, in 2017.

Haskell holds degrees from the University of Oxford (BA) and from Cornell University (PhD). He is Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies at the University of the South, where he served as Chair of Biology. He is a 2014-2015 Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, a Fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies, an Elective Member of the American Ornithologists’ Union, and a Research Associate at Bowdoin College. His scientific research on animal ecology, evolution, and conservation has been sponsored by the National Science Foundation, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the World Wildlife Fund, among others. He serves on the boards and advisory committees of local and national land conservation groups.

Haskell’s classes have received national attention for the innovative ways they combine action in the community with contemplative practice. In 2009, the Carnegie and CASE Foundations named him Professor of the Year for Tennessee, an award given to college professors who have achieved national distinction and whose work shows “extraordinary dedication to undergraduate teaching.” The Oxford American featured him in 2011 as one of the southern U.S.’s most creative teachers. His teaching has been profiled in USA Today, The Tennesseean, and other newspapers.



FRED CHAPPELL is the author of a dozen books of verse, two story collections, and eight novels. A native of Canton in the mountains of western North Carolina, he taught at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro for over 40 years. He is the winner of, among other awards, the Bollingen Prize in Poetry, Aiken Taylor Prize, T. S. Eliot Prize, and Roanoke-Chowan Poetry Prize seven times over. He was the Poet Laureate of North Carolina from 1997-2002.


Terry RobertsTERRY ROBERTS’ direct ancestors have lived in the mountains of Western North Carolina since the time of the Revolutionary War. His family farmed in the Big Pine and Anderson Cove sections of Madison County for generations and is also prominent in the Madison County town of Hot Springs, the setting for both A Short Time to Stay Here and That Bright Land. Born and raised near Weaverville, North Carolina, Roberts is the Director of the National Paideia Center and lives in Asheville, North Carolina.

His debut novel, A Short Time To Stay Here, won the Willie Morris Prize for Southern Fiction.


Chris Hale headshotCHRISTINE HALE is the author of a novel, Basil’s Dream (Livingston Press, 2009), which received honorable mention in the 2010 Library of Virginia Literary Awards.  National Book Award finalist Joan Silber says “Basil’s Dream …seems to prove fiction can go where other forms can’t.”  Ms. Hale’s new book, A Piece of Sky, A Grain of Rice: A Memoir in Four Meditations, will be published by Apprentice House Press in July 2016.

Her creative nonfiction and short fiction have appeared in Arts & Letters, Hippocampus, The Sun, Shadowgraph, and Prime Number, 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 Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award.

A native of the southern Appalachians, as were her parents, Ms. Hale grew up in Bristol, Virginia.  She received an MBA from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an MFA from Warren Wilson College. She worked in investment banking in New York City in the early 80s, began teaching writing in 1996 at the University of Tampa, and in the intervening years worked as a freelance writer and editor in business communications in New York and Tampa.  From 1989 to 1992, she lived in Bermuda.  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.  Photo by Taylor Johnson


Henion_Paperback_HeadshotLEIGH ANN HENION is the New York Times bestselling author of Phenomenal: A Hesitant Adventurer’s Search for Wonder in the Natural World. The book is about how she chased eclipses, migrations, and other natural phenomena around the globe to reawaken her sense of wonder. Phenomenal was named an editor’s pick by O: The Oprah Magazine, Backpacker, BookPage, and Barnes & Noble Review. Elizabeth Gilbert called it a “gorgeously written and deeply thoughtful memoir,” and The Sydney Morning Herald declared that “even a cynic reading Phenomenal will yearn for a taste of wonder.” Henion lives in Boone, North Carolina. | www.leighannhenion.com


JenniferMcGahaphotoA native of western North Carolina, JENNIFER MCGAHA lives with her husband, five dogs, numerous chickens, herd of dairy goats, and one high-maintenance cat in a wooded Appalachian hollow where she farms and writes about family, farming, and Appalachian culture. Her creative nonfiction, essays, and humor pieces have appeared in dozens of blogs, magazines, and journals including The Good Men ProjectPANK,The Chronicle of Higher Education, Baltimore Fishbowl,  Your Impossible Voice, The Brooklyner, Switchback, Little Patuxent Review, Lumina, and others. She is also a regular contributor to The Huffington Post. An experienced teacher and workshop facilitator, Jennifer is currently at work on a memoir about her life in the woods.


Author Krista BremerKRISTA BREMER is the author of the memoir A Tender Struggle: Story of a Marriage. Her essays have appeared in national and international magazines and news outlets including The New York Times MagazineO: The Oprah Magazine, CNN, The Sun, and The Sunday Times (London). Her work has been featured on National Public Radio, and she has appeared in the PBS series Arab American Stories.   She is the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, a Pushcart Prize, a North Carolina Arts Fellowship, and a scholarship to the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference.   She lives in North Carolina with her husband Ismail and their two children and works as associate publisher of The Sun.


Kevin Morgan Watson of Press 53KEVIN MORGAN WATSON is the founding editor and publisher of Press 53, a publishing company located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Since opening in October of 2005, Press 53 has published over 150 books by authors all across the United States that have earned more than 50 awards. To pay homage to its home state, Press 53 also has a mission to keep classic North Carolina literature in print, having reprinted works by John Ehle, Doris Betts, Guy Owen, Robert Morgan, and others. Kevin has worked with writers ranging from first-time published authors to winners of the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize.  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.  press53.com  Photo by Sylvia Freeman


Maria Ingram Braucht(1)MARIA INGRAM BRAUCHT was born in Kernersville, North Carolina, and attended Baylor University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the University of Florida before receiving a B.A. in English Literature and Drama from Pfeiffer College. Her poems have appeared in various magazines and journals, including Carolina Quarterly, North Carolina Poetry, The Beloit Poetry Journal, The Oconee Review, St. Andrews Review, and Malahat Review. Her debut book of poems, Maria, was published by Red Clay Books in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 1976, followed by her selection as one of five poets for inclusion in the anthology Thirtieth Year to Heaven: New American Poets, published by Jackpine Press at Wake Forest University in 1980. She operated an international specialty foods and coffee roasting shop in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, called Maria’s, for 33 years, from 1972 to 2005. During that time, her passion for traveling and experiencing different cultures was fulfilled.


Cindy Henry McMahon - author photoUnplanned youngest daughter of activist hippies in the turbulent South, CINDY HENRY McMAHON survived family violence, fire, flood, poisonous mushrooms, and an ice-cold outhouse. McMahon’s memoir, Fresh Water from Old Wells, was recently named a semi-finalist for the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award.  It chronicles her family’s story: the integration of Mercer University and Macon, Georgia’s Vineville Baptist Church; Birmingham, 1963; Martin Luther King, Jr.’s march in Selma; Koinonia Farm and the germination of Habitat for Humanity; inner-city activism and counter-culture communities in the woods. Fresh Water from Old Wells weaves together the regional and national events of the volatile 1960s and 70s, her family’s tumultuous Southern saga, and the stories of her own quest for understanding, which finally allows her to unclench her fist and release years of resentment and anger.  A nonprofit consultant and member of the Buncombe County Board of Education, McMahon now lives a decidedly normal life in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more at www.FreshWaterfromOldWells.orgPhoto by Nathan Sales


PasckiePASCKIE PASCUA is a veteran journalist who survived turbulent sociopolitical times in his home-country of the Philippines in late-70s to early-90s.  He had jump-started his journalism career as a 14-year old reporter for a provincial newspaper, then later for We Forum/Malaya, a vanguard in Philippine alternative press in the 1980s. Pasckie served as member of the media liaison staff for the late president Corazon Aquino’s “good government” commission in late 1980s, and in the 1990s sat with the consulting team for Philippine presidential candidate Senator Raul Roco.

Pasckie studied Mass Communication at Far Eastern University and University of the Philippines in Manila and attended Film programs at Tisch School of Arts, New York University. He was a member of various progressive/artist/media organizations in the Philippines.  He is an award-winning playwright, poet, and documentary filmmaker.

Between 1998 and 2001, Pasckie occasionally co-edited the Manhattan- based Headline Philippines, and was recently a Contributing Editor for the Southern California/Los Angeles bureau of Philippine News, the oldest nationally-distributed Filipino/Asian-American newspaper in the US.   He has lectured on “people’s theater” (Brechtian/Boal) and community media in the countrysides of the Philippines, Japan, North Carolina, and upstate New York.  On and off from 2000 to 2012, he published (and edited) the community papers The Indie, Blue Sky Asheville, and Wander — under his Loved by the Buffalo Publications — in Asheville, North Carolina. He is the founding executive director of the non-profit “people’s culture” organization, Traveling Bonfires.

On the side, he plays drums for several bands, paints, and reviews CDs, films and books for various publications in the US and the Philippines–including for the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the largest daily in Manila, and organizes concerts coast to coast.

Pasckie is the author of Red is the Color of my Night (Loved by the Buffalo Publications – poetry and prose), the upcoming Butterflies Around a Willow Tree (poetry and essays for children), and My Life as a Greyhound (travelogue). He has co-authored a number of books and manuals in the Philippines on the subjects of government decentralization, grassroots theater and cultural anthropology, plus screenplays and teleplays. He also has a CD, “A Pasckie Songbook: Salvaged Cassettes, Garage Demos, Seized Moments” (Orphan Storm).

He currently lives in Candler, a suburb of Asheville, North Carolina.


Bissell headshotSALLIE BISSELL is a native of Nashville,  Tennessee.  She has worked with words all her life—as an advertising copywriter, a freelance book publicist, a ghost writer for Bonnie Bryant’s popular Saddle Club series.  An enthusiastic camper and hiker, in the early 1990’s Bissell moved to Asheville, North Carolina and decided to start writing her own fiction, setting it in the Appalachian Mountains.  In 2001 her novel In The Forest of Harm was published by Bantam Doubleday Dell.  After Forest of Harm made the Southeast Booksellers Association’s 2001 Best Seller list, Bissell followed in 2002 with A Darker Justice, which came in third on the Los Angeles Times Best Mysteries of that year.    Call The Devil By His Oldest Name was published in 2004 and was a finalist for the Shamus Award.  In 2005, after A Legacy of Masks came out to critical acclaim, Bissell felt that she had taken Mary Crow as far as she could, but she received so many emails clamoring for “more Mary Crow”, that she’s since written three additional Mary Crow novels, The Music of Ghosts, Deadliest of Sins and Judgment of Whispers.  Sallie and Mary continue to have adventures deep in the mysterious woods, though Sallie regularly emerges to goat-sit on her daughter’s urban farm and play tennis with her friends.


kirby headshotELLIE KIRBY writes and illustrates children’s picture books set in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Most of her books are based on old mountain stories. The models for the characters in the books are family and neighbors who dress in historical costumes and act out scenes from the stories while Ellie sketches or photographs them.  Ellie and her husband Roald live on a farm in Grayson County, Virginia, where they have a pick-your-own blueberry patch. Ellie has a backyard studio where she creates wood block prints and watercolor paintings, as well as writing books. She and Roald play fiddle and banjo and are very involved in the old-time music community.  For more information see www.elliekirby.com  Photo by Roald Kirby


Klein headshotMARJORIE KLEIN‘s first novel, Test Pattern (Wm. Morrow Publishers, 2000; HarperCollins/ Perennial 2001, now an e-book) was a Barnes and Noble “Discover Great New Writers” selection.  Her creative nonfiction has appeared in various publications, including 20 years of free-lance work for Tropic, the Miami Herald’s former Sunday magazine, and she served as a preliminary judge for the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts. Recipient of a Florida Individual Artist Fellowship, she has taught at the University of Miami, Florida International University, Warren Wilson College, University of North Carolina/Asheville’s Great Smokies Writers Program, and UNCA’s Osher Lifetime Learning Institute.  She has completed another novel, Shifting Gears, and has begun a new one.  (www.marjorieklein.com)


Joe Mills head shotA professor at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, JOSEPH MILLS holds an endowed chair, the Susan Burress Wall Distinguished Professorship in the Humanities. He has published six collections of poetry with Press 53.  His book This Miraculous Turning was awarded the 2015 Roanoke-Chowan Award for Poetry, and his collection Angels, Thieves, and Winemakers was called “a must have for wine lovers” by the Washington Post.  His most recent collection the just released Exit, pursued by a bear, consists of poems triggered by stage directions in Shakespeare. His poetry has been featured several times on Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac and in former U.S. poet laureate Ted Kooser’s nationally syndicated newspaper column “American Life in Poetry.” In addition to his volumes of poetry, he has researched and written two editions of A Guide to North Carolina’s Wineries with his wife, Danielle Tarmey. More information about his work is available at www.josephrobertmills.com.


NickoleBrownStraightCropNICKOLE BROWN’s books include her debut, Sister, a novel-in-poems published by Red Hen Press in 2007, and Fanny Says, published by BOA Editions in 2015. She received her MFA from The Vermont College of Fine Arts, studied literature at Oxford University as an English Speaking Union Scholar, and was the editorial assistant for the late Hunter S. Thompson. She has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Kentucky Foundation for Women, and the Kentucky Arts Council. She worked at the independent, literary press, Sarabande Books, for ten years, and was the National Publicity Consultant for Arktoi Books and the Palm Beach Poetry Festival. She has taught creative writing at the University of Louisville, Bellarmine University, and for four years was an Assistant Professor at University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Currently, she’s on faculty at the low-residency MFA Program in Creative Writing at Murray State and teaches every summer at the Writing Workshops in Greece. She is also the Editor for the Marie Alexander Series in Prose Poetry at White Pine Press. She lives with her wife, poet Jessica Jacobs, in Asheville, NC.  Photo by Joli Livaudais  www.nickolebrown.org


Malphrus head shotELLEN MAPHRUS lives and writes beside the May River in her native Carolina lowcountry and  beneath the Madison Mountains in western Montana. She studied under esteemed poet and author of Deliverance, James Dickey, who was her mentor and Graduate Director for the MFA she earned at the University of South Carolina. Click here to read her brief tribute published in the special issue of Apostrophe dedicated to Dickey after his death in 1997.  She was also mentored by her beloved friend Pat Conroy, who wrote the foreword to Untying the Moon.

Malphrus’ fiction, poetry, and essays have appeared in a variety of publications including Southern Literary Journal, Review of Contemporary Fiction, William & Mary Review, Haight Ashbury Review, Georgia Poetry Review, the anthology Essence of Beaufort and the Lowcountry, and the anthology Literature: Reading and Writing with Critical Strategies.  Since earning her Ph.D. in Twentieth Century American Literature with an emphasis in Southern Literature, Malphrus has taught literature and creative writing at USC Beaufort.  She is most at home in nature, and her concern for wild places and creatures, particularly when it comes to coastal conservation, is evident in the fabric of her writing. A proud and unrepentant Luddite, Malphrus merrily eschews electricity and running water at her Montana cabin and counts herself fortunate that her husband, Andy Fishkind, is of the same mindset. Their grown daughter Sarah and three rescue dogs, however, are quite content with creature comforts and remain behind in South Carolina.  www.ellenmalphrus.com  Photo by Andy Fishkind


JJacobs.photoJESSICA JACOBS  is the author of Pelvis with Distance (White Pine Press), winner of the New Mexico Book Award in Poetry, an Over the Rainbow selection by the American Library Association, and a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award and Julie Suk Award.  Her chapbook In Whatever Light Left to Us is forthcoming from Sibling Rivalry Press.  An avid long-distance runner, Jessica has worked as a rock climbing instructor, bartender, editor, and professorand now serves as faculty at Writing Workshops in Greece. She lives in Asheville, North Carolina, with her wife, the poet Nickole Brown.  www.jessicalgjacobs.com


benmugBEN MONTGOMERY is an enterprise reporter for the Tampa Bay Times, author of Grandma Gatewood’s Walk: The Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian Trail, and founder of the narrative journalism website Gangrey.com.

Montgomery grew up in Oklahoma and studied journalism at Arkansas Tech University, where he played defensive back for the football team, the Wonder Boys. He worked for the Courier in Russellville, Arkansas, the Standard-Times in San Angelo, Texas, the Times Herald-Record in New York’s Hudson River Valley and the Tampa Tribune before joining the Times in 2006.

In 2010, he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in local reporting and won the Dart Award and Casey Medal for a series called “For Their Own Good,” about abuse at Florida’s oldest reform school. He lives in Tampa with his wife, Jennifer, and three children.  Photo by John Pendygraft


lauren-BWLAUREN FAULKENBERRY is author of the novel Bayou My Love (Velvet Morning Press, 2016), the novella Back to Bayou Sabine, and the children’s book What Do Animals Do on the Weekend? She is a contributor to the anthology Hungry for Home: Stories of Food from Across the Carolinas With More Than 200 Favorite Recipes.

Lauren divides her time between writing, teaching, and making artist books. Originally from South Carolina, she has worked as an archaeologist, an English teacher, and a ranger for the National Park Service. She earned her MFA in creative writing from Georgia College & State University, where she attended on fellowship, and earned her MFA in Book Arts from The University of Alabama. She was a finalist for the Novello Festival Press First Novel Award, won the Family Circle short fiction contest for her story Beneath Our Skin, and was nominated for an AWP Intro Award.

She currently lives in western North Carolina, where she is at work on her next novel in the Bayou series.  firebrandpress.org   Photo by Cathy Faulkenberry


PLAYBACKASHEVILLE PLAYBACK THEATRE has been performing stories in Western North Carolina since 1995. Playback is a unique form of improvisation that invites audience members to share real life experiences that become moments of theatre. Stories are “played back” using dance, words and music. All stories are welcomed, and honored. A playback performance is unpredictable, often moving, sometimes hilarious, but always an adventure.  And as I share my story, it becomes our story, and our community grows in connection and understanding.


Deb Scott picDEB SCOTT is a teacher, coach and performer.  She studied acting with Stella Adler in New York and worked in the theatre for many years before encountering the wonders of Playback Theatre.  She was a member of the founding company of Asheville Playback Theatre in 1995, and has served as Artistic Director of the company for 18 years.  She is an Accredited Teacher of PBT from the Centre for Playback Theatre, and teaches around the country and in Cuba. She currently is working with a network of facilitators to bring spontaneity, deep listening, and storytelling into their various practices.


D&D photo.colorDOUG and DARCY ORR have been performing music together for over 30 years, from their days in Charlotte with their Celtic/Appalachian band Maggies Fancy and during subsequent years at Warren Wilson College, where Doug served as president from 1991 to 2006. While at Warren Wilson he founded the Swannanoa Gathering summer music program which has become one of the nation’s most popular such events, attracting each summer about 1500 participants from all over the world for the five theme weeks. As an extension of the Swannanoa Gathering, he initiated in 2003 the Swannanoa Solstice at Diana Wortham Theatre as an annual holiday season event. Upon retirement Doug was recognized by the North Carolina governor with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the state’s highest civilian honor. During the fall 2014 he served as interim chancellor at UNC Asheville, after a long tenure on the board of trustees. Darcy is an award-winning mountain dulcimer player and a watercolor painter. She served as art editor of the book Wayfaring Strangers: The Musical Voyage from Scotland and Ulster to Appalachia that Doug has co-authored with Scotland’s Fiona Ritchie, host of NPR’s highly successful program of Celtic Music “The Thistle & Shamrock”. Published in fall 2014 by the UNC Press, it is now in its third printing as the fastest selling book in the long history of the Press, and has been recognized as a New York Times Best Seller. It has several times been the number one  Best Seller at Asheville’s Malaprops Bookstore, and recently was selected as the 60th winner of the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award. They continue book tour presentations in the United States, Scotland and Northern Ireland, including opening night of the renowned Edinburgh Book Festival.  Photo by R. L. Geyer


JodiJODI RHODEN is a writer and a teacher focusing on Southern food and culture. Her book, Cake Ladies: Celebrating a Southern Tradition (which she likes to call a feminist ethnography disguised as a cookbook), was published by Lark Books in 2011. Her essay and journalism work has been published in The Bitter Southerner, the Mountain Xpress, and the Asheville Scene, and she enjoys teaching baking in regional venues from AB Tech to the Campbell Folk School. Jodi is also the founder and former owner of Short Street Cakes, an all-natural, Southern-style specialty cake business in Asheville, where she wrote the blog My Life in Cake for 10 years.  Photo by Nicole McConville  www.jodirhoden.com


McTeer pic2Born and raised in Beaufort, SC, JAMES McTEER won the 2015 South Carolina First Novel Prize for his novel Minnow. A school librarian in Columbia, SC, he is the grandson of the late J. E. McTeer, whose 37 years as High Sheriff of the Lowcountry (and local witch doctor) served as inspiration for the book. Minnow has gone on to win a regional Gold IPPY, received starred reviews from Kirkus and Library Journal, and was called a “fabulous tale” by Pat Conroy. James lives in Columbia with his wife, infant son, and two dogs.  Photo by Jessica McTeer  Visit www.jamesmcteer.com


Auchmutey head shotJIM AUCHMUTEY spent almost 30 years as a writer and editor for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, specializing in stories about the South and its history and culture. He was twice named the Cox Newspapers chain’s Writer of the Year and was honored by the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards, the Associated Press and the Sigma Delta Chi journalism society. Jim has also written extensively about food. He has co-authored two cookbooks, is a founding member of the Southern Foodways Alliance at the University of Mississippi, and has won awards for his food writing from the James Beard Foundation and the Association of Food Journalists. His next book is a history of barbecue, which he considers a great American art form. A native Georgian, Jim began his career as an editor for the Presbyterian Church’s denominational magazine. It was there that he learned about Koinonia, the Christian community in southwest Georgia where Habitat for Humanity was born, which became the setting for his first nonfiction narrative book, The Class of ’65: A Student, a Divided Town, and the Long Road to Forgiveness. Jim lives in Atlanta with his wife, Pam, an editor at Emory University.  Photo by Pam Auchmutey


SFA RonniRONNI LUNDY, the author of Victuals: An Appalachian Journey, with Recipes (Clarkson Potter, 2016), has been writing about the food, music and culture of the southern Appalachians and the American South for more than 30 years.

Of Victuals, Chef Sean Brock has written: “Flipping through these pages makes me want to hug my mom and plant some greasy beans. I’ve been waiting a long time for Ronni to write the definitive story of Appalachian cooking, because she is the only one capable of doing so. Sit back and prepare yourself to discover the wonders of the Appalachian Mountains. The wisdom and flavors within these pages deserve your full attention.”  Emmylou Harris says. “Victuals is so much more than just another cookbook. It’s a marvelous travelogue and history of an under-appreciated and often misrepresented part of America, its people and culture, written lovingly by my friend Ronni. Still, as I finished the last pages, with their stunning illustrations, I couldn’t wait to get in the kitchen and try my hand at the delicious recipes she has gathered for all of us who just plain love good food.”

Ronni’s other nine books, include Shuck Beans, Stack Cakes and Honest Fried Chicken (Atlantic, 1990), named by Gourmet as one of the six essential cookbooks on Southern food, and Sorghum’s Savor, (University Press of Florida, 2015). Lundy was also the editor of Cornbread Nation 3: Foods of the Mountain South. (University of North Carolina Press, 2005).

A founding member of the Southern Foodways Alliance, she is a former board member and recipient of that organization’s Craig Claiborne Lifetime Achievement Award recognizing her work as a writer covering both food and music. She has served as writer and/or editor at newspapers (Louisville Times/Courier Journal), magazines (Gourmet, Esquire, Eating Well, The Zenchilada, Louisville) and as editor at Lark Books.  She is a frequent reader for university presses including Kentucky, North Carolina, Illinois, Mississippi and Chicago.  She has focused on foodways, music, ritual and memory.

Lundy is also a founder of the Appalachian Food Summit. Her work has received awards from the American Society of Journalists and Kentucky’s Sigma Delta Chi. She has been a finalist for the James Beard and International Association of Culinary Professional awards in various fields of food writing.

Born in Corbin, Kentucky and raised in Louisville with strong ties to the mountains, she often writes from the perspective and about the experience of the Appalachian diaspora. She is happy to find herself in her beloved mountains again as a present resident of Burnsville.  Photo by Pableaux Johnson


Rohl picCHAD ROHL resides in the mountains of Western North Carolina where he has been a teacher for the last 19 years.

Currently, he teaches at-risk students in Yancey County.  A love for children, coupled with a knack for drawing naturally led him to incorporate his sketches into lessons; captivating students with a mix of art and humor.

As the years went on, Chad collected these drawings; storing them safely in his grandfather’s old army trunk.  Now after 25 years with the encouragement of students who have reached out to him, Chad has been motivated to compile his sketches with short stories to create his debut graphic novel, Heavy Sketches Among Worldly Distractions.

Heavy Sketches is a book that is meant to inspire students to pursue their dream, never give up hope, and become what they have within them to be.”

When he is not teaching or creating books, Chad can be found taking care of the many animals at the Blue Heart Sanctuary.  Photo by Shelley Rohl


tiner head shotJUBAL TINER’S short story collection, The Waterhouse, was published by Press 53 in 2012 and won an IPPY award for best regional fiction representing the Midwest.  Considering the book, Steve Almond (God Bless America and My Life in Heavy Metal) writes “In The Waterhouse, Jubal Tiner traces the intersecting fate of three boyhood friends as they navigate the world of masculinity and its discontents. These are stories bristling with a fierce wisdom, masterfully written, and emotionally fearless. Tiner is a writer to watch.” Tiner is also the founder and editor of Pisgah Review and teaches at Brevard College.


Lynch head shotSARO LYNCH-THOMASON is an award-winning ballad singer, writer, artist and activist from Asheville, NC. As a child she became attracted to British folk revival music, learning ballads from recordings of singers like Sandy Denny and pop-balladeers like Sinead O’Connor. While at college in New York, away from her native Southern climes, she was introduced to Appalachian song traditions. She moved to Western North Carolina in 2009 to learn from (and eventually perform with) traditional singers like Sheila Kay Adams and Bobby McMillon.

In 2012 Saro completed Blair Pathways: A Musical Exploration of America’s Largest Labor Uprising–a researched compilation of over 20 historic songs from West Virginia’s labor wars. A strong traditional song leader, Saro has led the Asheville Community Sing since 2010 and she regularly teaches regional ballad workshops. In 2013 Saro completed her solo CD Vessel–a 100% a cappella compilation of ballads and songs from Appalachia and the British Isles. In 2014 Saro published Lone Mountain– a children’s book on Appalachia’s gifts and the effects of mountaintop removal mining.

Saro believes that solo and group song can provide powerful forms of inner therapy and outward social empowerment. She enjoys teaching song as a way to educate about historic rights struggles in Appalachia and beyond.
JULIA FRANKS has roots in the Southeastern Mountains and has spent years kayaking the rivers and creeks of Tennessee, North Carolina, and West Virginia. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia, where she teaches literature and runs loosecanon.com, a web service that fosters free-choice reading in the classroom.  Photo by Holly Sasnett.  http://juliafranks.com


Clare headshot croppedELI CLARE has cancelled his appearance at the Festival in protest of NC  HB2
White, disabled, and genderqueer, ELI CLARE happily lives in the Green Mountains of Vermont where he writes and proudly claims a penchant for rabble-rousing. He has written a book of essays Exile and Pride: Disability, Queerness, and Liberation and a collection of poetry The Marrow’s Telling: Words in Motion and has been published in many periodicals and anthologies. His newest work, Brilliant Imperfection: Grappling with Cure, will be released early next year. Eli speaks, teaches, and facilitates all over the United States and Canada at conferences, community events, and colleges about disability, queer and trans identities, and social justice. Among other pursuits, he has walked across the United States for peace, coordinated a rape prevention program, and helped organize the first ever Queerness and Disability Conference.