Program Chair Kathy Weisfeld, M.A., worked for Blue Ridge Mental Health. She now volunteers with Yancey Hospice, Appalachian Therapeutic Riding Center and, of course, Carolina Mountains Literary Festival. Her poems have been published in Great Smokies Review and WNC Woman. She was chosen to be mentored by NC Poet Laureate, Joseph Bathanti, as part of the 2011 Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet Series. Her poem “Equinox” won second place in the 2013 Writers’ Workshop of Asheville National Contest. She has called the mountains of North Carolina her home for 30 years.
Program Committee Amber Westall Briggs, MLS, is a public librarian, which means she is surrounded by books & people of all ages almost every single day. Her work has taken her as far away as Finland and opens new doors every day. It’s just about the most perfect career on the planet! Never one to shy away from a challenge, she believes library work is similar to detective work, so occasionally you may see her sporting her spy moustache. She volunteers in her community as a Parkway Playhouse Board member, Program Committee member of the Carolina Mountains Literary Festival (obviously), and as head coach for a local Girls On the Run team. When she’s not reading, journaling, gardening, chatting with kids (her favorite humans), beekeeping, chicken whispering, or daydreaming about puttering, you can find her at the AMY Regional Library System scheming up new programs.
Program Committee Caroline Green Christopoulos is Malaprop’s sidelines buyer. She has a great deal of fun discovering things that aren’t books that Malaprop’s carries- look to her for cards, journals, art supplies, kitchen knick-knackery, fancy pens, calendars, stickers, art prints, figurines, and other odds and ends! She is totally into “genre” fiction these days, dabbling in fantasy, romance, and mystery. Where have these books been her entire life? In her non-working moments she plays with her husband Zeke and their dog Tiny Cakess, sings with the Asheville Choral Society, works with the Asheville Grown Business Alliance and the Carolina Mountains Literary Festival, loves to cook and eat,drink scotch, laugh and talk about the meaning of life, the universe, and everything.
Program Committee Carol Boggess is Professor of English at Mars Hill University in Madison County. Her field of special interest is Appalachian literature. Over the past decade, she has been researching and writing the biography of James Still, the twentieth century writer known as the “Dean of Appalachian Literature.” Carol and her husband, Sam, have lived on a farm in Yancey county for 35 years–plenty of time to raise a family, grow healthy gardens, and make good friends in the area. She has been attending the Carolina Mountain Literary Festival since its beginning and has served on the program committee for several years. She has also engaged students and colleagues from Mars Hill in this special community event.
Program Committee Carol Clark is Professor Emerita of Economics at Guilford College, in Greensboro, NC where she taught economics, interdisciplinary studies, women studies and writing across the curriculum for 18 years. At Guilford, she designed and led a semester abroad program taking undergraduate students to Mexico to study at the University of Guadalajara and work in low-income communities to learn about the Mexican model of Community Development. Before Guilford, she lived and worked for three years doing economic research for the World Bank and as a Post-Doctoral research fellow for the Rockefeller Foundation in Guatemala, Central America. She retired to Yancey County in 1999 (having spent summers, spring and fall breaks and every weekend possible there from 1983-1999).
She has written academic articles, numerous newspaper articles and professional opinion pieces on current economic policy issues, published in WNC Woman, and received the Grand Award in Excellence in Feature Writing category, CASE District III, for her vignettes titled Tres Historias. Currently she is writing a book (provisionally titled Agua y Luz—Water and Light) in which she recounts stories Mexicans, Guatemalans and Nicaraguans told her husband (Tom) and her about their lives, hopes for their children, and nonviolent efforts to create more just and democratic societies. It is part memoir and part teaching in which she sets the stories in their economic, political, religious, and historical contexts. An excerpt (titled Children at the Border) from the book will appear in the Spring issue of the Great Smokies Writing Online Review. She sits on the Reconciliation House Board and has tutored for the Yancey Literacy Council.
Volunteer Coordinator Jane Brown Willig has been devoted to the betterment of her Western North Carolina community for the last 20 years, specifically for Yancey and Mitchell Counties. Through her grant writing, management of non-profit organizations, event implementation, fundraising and handling the finances for many local organizations, she has helped establish and sustain these organizations. She is currently consulting with a company that is new to this region, which specializes in inter-generational learning and communication, nationally and globally. Currently, she is helping the co-founders cultivate engagement and local organizing. Jane lives in the South Toe Valley of Yancey County, with her husband, Matt, a metal smith. Jane enjoys writing poetry, riding her bike along the beautiful Toe and Cane Rivers, spending time with her grown children, volunteering for the Carolina Mountain Literary Festival and teaching one morning a week at the Children’s Garden, an outdoor preschool, where she shares her love of nature with the wee ones.
Author Liaison Lucy Gregory Doll began her love affair with books when she started reading at age three. This is her tenth year volunteering for the Carolina Mountains Literary Festival. She is the office manager for an electronics firm that repairs circuit boards for commercial laundry machines. Her former lives include being a Long Distance Operator back in the days when you dialed ‘O’ to call long distance or the police, administering the public service programs at the venerable National Theatre in Washington, DC (where she lived on a houseboat) and being retired. She is founder and director of Burnsville’s Read It & Weep Repertory Theatre, a local political activist, a sometimes-writer, and rescue-dog lover. Her perfect world would be free of televisions and “smart” phones.
Graphics and Publicity Britt Kaufmann continues to be a stay-at-home mom of three school-aged children.. She writes poetry, plays, and has been working on a book idea for over two or three years now. Additionally, she designs websites, logos, and help directs a children’s choir at church. And, as if that weren’t enough, she is preoccupied with gardening, sewing, playing with the dog, watching the chickens, photography, and has started running. (She hates running, though, and only does it so she sleeps better at night. She’d rather be playing volleyball to stay in shape.) Her poetry and prose have appeared in various publications: Kakalak Poetry Anthology (2007 & 2008), Main Street Rag, WNC Magazine, Now & Then, WNC Woman, The Mennonite and The Pedestal Magazine among others. A founding planner, the Carolina Mountains Literary Festival keeps her busy with web and ad design. She also hosts Eve’s Night Out, a monthly open-mic poetry reading in Burnsville. Her first full-length play, An Uncivil Union: The Battle of Burnsville (a romantic comedy set in the middle of actual events that occurred in Burnsville during the Civil War) was produced as a part of the Parkway Playhouse’s 2011 season. Her second play Between the Tackles, written with Stephanie Stark-Poling premiered in September of 2012 on the same stage. She was awarded a 2012 Regional Artist’s Project Grant to aid the completion and production of this play.