Gail Godwin is a three-time National Book Award finalist and the bestselling author of more than a dozen critically acclaimed books, including Publishing, a memoir, and the novels Flora, Father Melancholy’s Daughter, and Evensong. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, National Endowment for the Arts grants for both fiction and libretto writing, and the Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She lives in Woodstock, New York. You can follow her blog on her website, www.gailgodwin.com. Photo credit: Dion Ogost
Kane Smego is a National Poetry Slam finalist, international touring spoken word poet and Hip Hop Artist, and educator. He has performed and taught poetry and Hip Hop programs across the country and abroad on five continents. Kane was featured on Grammy Award-winner King Mez’s debut album alongside production by J. Cole and Soundtrakk, and topped the Spotify Viral 50 billboard in May 2017 featuring on the song North Cack with G Yamazawa. The music video for the song appeared on BET Jams, and went on to win Best Music Video at the Hip Hop Film Festival in Harlem, NY. Kane is an artist alumnus and current Site Director of Next Level, a cultural diplomacy program that sends American hip-hop artists around the world to use music and dance to promote cultural exchange, entrepreneurship, and conflict prevention. He has performed and facilitated programs at colleges and K-12 schools across the country, has been a TEDex presenter, and performed at the Shriver Report Live hosted by Atlantic Magazine. A native of Durham, NC, Kane currently resides in Los Angeles, CA.
Formerly a park ranger, factory worker, and seller of cemetery plots, Joni Tevis is the author of two books of essays, The Wet Collection: A Field Guide to Iridescence and Memory, and The World Is On Fire: Scrap, Treasure, and Songs of Apocalypse, both published by Milkweed Editions. Her essays have appeared in Orion, Oxford American, Poets & Writers, the Pushcart Prize anthology, and elsewhere. She serves as the Bennette E. Geer Associate Professor of English at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina.
Bryant Simon is professor of history at Temple University. He is the author of Boardwalk of Dreams, Everything but the Coffee, and The Hamlet Fire. His research and scholarship has earned awards and honors from the Fulbright Commission, Humboldt Foundation, Urban History Association, Organization of American Historians, and the Smithsonian Institution. His work and popular commentary have been featured in the New Yorker, Washington Post, Raleigh News and Observer, and numerous other outlets. Over last five years, Simon has lectured around the world and taught at the National University of Singapore, University of Tubingen, and University of Erfurt, and has served as a Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians.
Sam Barbee’s poems have appeared Poetry South, The NC Literary Review, Crucible, Asheville Poetry Review, The Southern Poetry Anthology VII: North Carolina, Potato Eyes, Georgia Journal, Main Street Rag, and Pembroke Magazine, among others; plus on-line journals Vox Poetica, Pyrokinection, and The Blue Hour. His Second poetry collection, That Rain We Needed (2016, Press 53), was a nominee for the Roanoke-Chowan Award as one of North Carolina’s best poetry collections of 2016. He was awarded an “Emerging Artist’s Grant” from the Winston-Salem Arts Council to publish his first collection Changes of Venue (Mount Olive Press); has been a featured poet on the North Carolina Public Radio Station WFDD; received the 59th Poet Laureate Award from the North Carolina Poetry Society for his poem “The Blood Watch”; and is a Pushcart nominee. Sam lives in Winston-Salem with his wife and is the current President of the NC Poetry Society.
Sidney Wade’s seventh collection of poems, Bird Book, was published by Atelier26 Books in September 2017. She has served as President of AWP and Secretary/Treasurer of ALTA, and she taught workshops in Poetry and Translation at the University of Florida’s MFA@FLA program for 23 years. Her translation with Efe Murad of selected poems of Melih Cevdet Anday won the Meral Divitci Prize and was published by Talisman House in April 2017. She served as poetry editor for the literary journal Subtropics for many years, and her poems and translations have appeared in a wide variety of journals, including Poetry, The New Yorker, Grand Street, The Paris Review, as well as many other literary publications.
Christopher Swann is a graduate of Woodberry Forest School in Virginia. He earned a B.A. in English from Washington and Lee University, an M.A. in English and creative writing from the University of Missouri-Columbia, and a Ph.D. in creative writing from Georgia State University. He lives with his wife and two sons in Atlanta, where he is the English department chair at Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School. His debut novel Shadow of the Lions was a SIBA Okra Pick and bestseller, an Amazon Pick of the Month in August 2017, and one of Southern Living’s Best Southern Books of 2017, and is a finalist for Georgia’s 2018 Townsend Prize for Fiction.
Harriet Tomlinson Hill, a native of Alabama, has lived in Raleigh over 50 years with her husband, Jim. Two sons and their families reside, in the same area. She earned a Bachelor of Music from Salem College, Winston-Salem, NC; has done extensive volunteer work in her community and is the author of two books. She spent over three years collaborating with her co-author, H’Yoanh Buonya, to write Escaping Viet Nam – H’Yoanh’s Story, a narrative that underscores the cost of freedom. Mrs. Hill’s second book, For the Love of Robert (in its second printing) relates the account of their third son’s tragic fatal accident and provides insight into the power of spiritual strength and family closeness.
H’Yoanh Ksor Buonya and her husband, Y’Jim, (both naturalized citizens) were brought to the United States from Viet Nam in 1986 by Lutheran Family Services and our Special Forces. They were settled in Raleigh, NC. Since 1990, they have lived in their Habitat for Humanity house and have raised five children, all college educated. Their oldest daughter is an attorney in Arlington, VA. H’Yoanh is finishing her GED so that she may also pursue higher education. Her riveting memoir recounts her journey with other Montagnards into the Central Highlands of Viet Nam to escape persecution by the North Vietnamese Communists. It was 1975, after Saigon fell, and she was 16-years- old. For 11-years, they encountered danger, starvation and death. H’Yoanh’s determination, defiance and deliverance are testaments to her faith.
Jim Minick is the author of five books, including Fire Is Your Water, a debut novel released in 2017. His memoir, The Blueberry Years, won of the Best Nonfiction Book of the Year from the Southern Independent Booksellers Association. His honors include the Jean Ritchie Fellowship in Appalachian Writing, and the Fred Chappell Fellowship at University of North Carolina-Greensboro. His work has appeared in many publications including Poets & Writers, Oxford American, Shenandoah, Orion, San Francisco Chronicle, Encyclopedia of Appalachia, Conversations with Wendell Berry, Appalachian Journal, and The Sun. Currently, he teaches at Augusta University and Converse College.
Terri Kirby Erickson is the author of five full-length collections of award-winning poetry, including Becoming the Blue Heron (Press 53, 2017), which was a recent Finalist for Poetry in the International Book Awards. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in the 2013 Poet’s Market, Ted Kooser’s “American Life in Poetry,” Asheville Poetry Review, Atlanta Review, Boston Literary Magazine, Christian Science Monitor, Cutthroat: A Journal of the Arts, Journal of the American Medical Association, Literary Mama, NASA News & Notes, North Carolina Literary Review, storySouth, The Christian Century, The Southern Poetry Anthology, The Writer’s Almanac, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Verse Daily, and many others. Her articles, columns, and essays have appeared in the Winston-Salem Journal and Winston-Salem Journal West, PainPathways Magazine, Land Rover Monthly, Broad Street Review, Maria Shriver’s Architects of Change, O.Henry Seasons Style & Design Magazine, and others. She has taught poetry workshops in libraries, high schools, universities, churches, medical centers, and other venues, and was an instructor in the continuing education program at Salem College in Winston-Salem. Terri Kirby Erickson was also chosen as the 2013 Leidig Keynote Poet at Emory & Henry College in Virginia. Among her many awards are the Joy Harjo Poetry Prize, Nazim Hikmet Poetry Award, Atlanta Review International Publication Prize, Gold Medal in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards, The “Poetry For Their Freedom”Award, and a Nautilus Silver Book Award. She lives in Pfafftown, North Carolina, with her husband of twenty-six years, surrounded by poetry books and artwork, including a painting of their late and beloved cat, “Buddy,” done by her daughter when she was in elementary school, and works by her uncle, North Carolina artist Stephen White. For more information about her work, please visit www.terrikirbyerickson.com or www.Press53.com.
Kimberly Childs grew up moving between London, New York and her grandparent’s Kentucky farm. Determined to find her spiritual family she searched through 1960s San Francisco and discovered serenity through meditation. She joined Guru Sri Chinmoy’s ashram in Queens, New York and became the co-owner of three vegetarian restaurants. Ten years later she left the group and enrolled in Adelphi University and received her Masters Degree in Social Work. She worked with alcoholics and their families and turned to fiber arts as a mode of self-expression. She has had many one-woman shows and won awards. When she lost her voice to spasmodic dysphonia she turned to Peggy Millin’s women’s creative writing circle as a way of healing. Her writing has been published in Writing in Circles – a Celebration of Women’s Writing edited by Peggy Tabor Millin and Sisters Singing edited by Carolyn Brigit Flynn. She Writes Press published Childs’ Remember Me As Loving You: a Daughter’s Memoir in September 2017. She lives with her husband and dog in the mountains of beautiful Asheville, North Carolina.
Daren Wang was born in Buffalo, New York. In 1971, his parents bought the Willis property in Town Line, New York and made the family home in the converted barn and rented out the main house. He is the founding Executive Director of AJC Decatur Book Festival, now in its twelfth year. As a public radio producer, he produced and or hosted several series including The Spoken Word, Porches: The South and Her Writers, Circle of Friends, Between the Lines, ArtVoice, and Atlanta Forum. His writing has appeared in Paste Magazine, Five Points Magazine, the Atlanta Journal Constitution, AJC Travel, The Saporta Report, and others. He published the short-lived audio magazine Verb:An Audioquarterly. The Hidden Light of Northern Fires is his first novel. He is a graduate of Cornell University and lives in Decatur with his wife Eva.
Daniel S. (Dan) Pierce is the author of Hazel Creek: The Life and Death of an Iconic Mountain Community (Great Smoky Mountains Association, March 2017) an exploration of one of the most iconic watersheds in the Southern Appalachian region, focal point of the infamous Road to Nowhere controversy, research subject for Horace Kephart's classic work Our Southern Highlanders, and the haven of legendary moonshiners, trout fishermen, and bear hunters. Hazel Creek was a 2017 Finalist for the Thomas Wolfe Literary Award. He is also the author of The Great Smokies: From Natural Habitat to National Park (UT Press, 2000), of Corn From a Jar: Moonshining in the Great Smoky Mountains (Great Smoky Mountains Association, 2013), and the first truly comprehensive history of early NASCAR, Real NASCAR: White Lightning, Red Clay, and Big Bill France (UNC Press, 2010). He has also recently collaborated with renowned Nashville, Tennessee poster artist Joel Anderson to produce the Illustrated Guide to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. His work has been published in The New York Times, Southern Cultures, Smokies Life magazine, and numerous encyclopedias including the New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture. He served as curator for the Western North Carolina Historical Society’s museum exhibit “Hillbilly: Myth and Reality of Appalachian Culture”(2014). He has appeared on NPR’s Talk of the Nation, The History Channel, CMT, HBO Canada, North Carolina People with William Friday, North Carolina Bookwatch, and the South Carolina ETV Emmy Award winning program Take on the South. He is NEH Distinguished Professor in the Humanities and resident professional hillbilly at the University of North Carolina Asheville where he teaches courses in Appalachian, North Carolina, Southern, and Environmental History. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Tennessee where he worked with distinguished southern historian James C. Cobb.
Shuly Xóchitl Cawood is the author of the memoir, The Going and Goodbye (Platypus Press, 2017) and a poetry and prose chapbook, None of Them Home (Red Bird Chapbooks, 2018). She has an MFA from Queens University, and her writing has been published in The Rumpus, Zone 3, Fiction Southeast, Cider Press Review, and The Louisville Review, among others. Her website is www.shulycawood.com.