Home / 2022 Schedule

2022 Schedule

This schedule is subject to – and probably will – change. Before you come to the festival, please be sure to check back here for updates.

Printable schedules will be available online shortly before the festival.

Printed schedules will be available at the Town Center, the Yancey Common Times Journal office, and all the Avery-Mitchell-Yancey Libraries shortly before the festival.

 

REGISTER FOR WORKSHOPS & EVENTS

Registration is required for the following workshops and events. All other sessions are free and open to the public. More information about each is in the Complete Schedule.

 

Memoir Workshop with Anjali Enjeti ***SOLD OUT***

Friday at 9:00 a.m., Yancey County Library

 

Poetry Workshop with Steve Cushman

Friday at 2:00 p.m., Yancey County Library

 

Multi-genre Workshop with Vicki Lane

Saturday at 9:00 a.m., Yancey County Library

 

Fiction Workshop with Jessica Handler

Saturday at 2:00 p.m., Yancey County Library

 

Keynote Event with David Joy

Saturday at 7:00 p.m., Town Center Legacy Room

 

 

 

2022 Festival Schedule

6:30 p.m.
Free all-ages performance
Metaphors Be With You: An Informative, Slightly Irreverent & Totally Tremendous Guide to Living the Poet's Life with Allan Wolf (of the species Poemo sapiens) @ Town Center Legacy Room
What can you learn from a baby, two pieces of string, a coat hanger, a bottle of maple syrup, Teletubbies, and Edgar Allan Poe? Everything. That’s what. Join author, performance poet, and speaker, Allan Wolf, as he takes us on a meaningful, memorable (and very funny) tour of a poet’s brain. A certified practicing member of the species, Poemo sapiens, Allan Wolf, will read and recite from his books; plus, he will sing, play guitar, juggle, transform into a T-Rex, and whatever else it takes, to celebrate the Poemo sapiens in all of us! Wolf believes in the healing powers of poetry recitation and has committed to memory nearly a thousand poems. This family-friendly, interactive presentation can be enjoyed by Poemo sapiens at any age or stage of evolution.
9:00 - 11:45 a.m.
***SOLD OUT***
Memoir Writing Workshop @ Yancey County Library Anjali Enjeti - How to Write and Sell a Personal Essay or Memoir
In this seminar, we’ll discuss the myriad kinds of personal essays – from segmented to braided essays, to prose poems, and hybrid essays that incorporate research and reporting. We’ll talk about how to “hook” an editor with your opening lines and figure out a “message” or “lesson,” consider two brainstorming exercises to help get you started. In the second half, we’ll explore some of the best markets for personal essays and online sources to help you find the perfect publication for your work. We’ll take a look at some submission guidelines, learn how to write a pitch letter, and figure out how and when to follow up with editors.
Registration required. $35
9:00 - 9:45 a.m.
(YA) Valerie Nieman - Seeing the world: Detectives, scientists, writers @ Town Center
Maggie's world is turned upside down by her cousin's murder, but her independence, fearlessness, and powers of observation will help her manage a chaotic family life, understand her world, and even save her from danger. She has two very different "mentors" who also demonstrate this: the detective who's trying to solve the case, and her science crush Carl Linnaeus. We'll talk about how detectives, scientists, and writers all share this gift, and how to develop it yourself.
(Fiction) Renea Winchester - Capturing the Soul of your Story @ First Baptist Church
Join Renea, author of Outbound Train and Farming, Friends, and Fried Bologna Sandwiches, for this session which highlights how to interview your characters, how to push through resistance, and discusses tools necessary to capture the true soul of the story.
(Fiction) (YA) Shannon Hitchcock - Flying Over Water @ Town Hall
It all started with the news—pictures of buildings reduced to rubble, rafts crowded with refugees. Those images seared themselves inside the author’s brain, but it wasn’t until seeing a picture in her minister’s office that the war became personal, and she felt compelled to write about it. Join Shannon Hitchcock for a slideshow about the middle grade novel, Flying Over Water, along with discussion around working together with people from different cultural backgrounds.
10:00 - 10:45 a.m.
(Fiction) Jessica Handler - The Magnetic Girl @ Town Center
Jessica Handler will read selections from her novel and discuss the surprises and rewards she discovered in researching the life and times of the real Lulu Hurst, the “Magnetic Girl." Handler will demonstrate, with an audience member, one of Hurst’s on-stage vaudeville performances, and discuss how Hurst was able to convince legions of admirers that she conducted electricity - at the time, conflated with magnetism - with her bare hands.
(YA) Valerie Nieman - Seeing the world: Detectives, scientists, writers @ First Baptist Church
Maggie's world is turned upside down by her cousin's murder, but her independence, fearlessness, and powers of observation will help her manage a chaotic family life, understand her world, and even save her from danger. She has two very different "mentors" who also demonstrate this: the detective who's trying to solve the case, and her science crush Carl Linnaeus. We'll talk about how detectives, scientists, and writers all share this gift, and how to develop it yourself.
(Nonfiction) John Ross - History with an Edge @ Town Hall
A natural and cultural history of our watershed, John Ross’ book Through the Mountains: The French Broad River and Time, builds on Wilma Dykeman’s classic The French Broad by reporting 65 years of new research and poses the question, “For more than 14,000 years the river and its tributaries have sustained human habitation. What must we start doing now to ensure that it will nurture our grandchildren, their grandchildren, and grandchildren beyond?” Rather than a reading from the book, this session will be an open discussion of what we expect from the histories we read and why we write the ones we do.
11:00 - 11:45 a.m.
(Nonfiction/Memoir) Margot Rossi - To Be Like Water @ Town Center
Participants are invited to explore foundational principles of Chinese medicine and philosophy with acupuncturist Margot Rossi. Rossi’s book,To Be Like Water—Cultivating a Graceful and Fulfilling Life through the Virtues of Water and Dao Yin Therapeutic Movement, is part memoir and part guide to using Dao Yin, a combination of mindfulness, breathwork, and movements from Classical Chinese Medicine that promotes health and wellbeing. In addition to a reading and Q&A, Rossi will guide participants through a gentle sequence of lying-down Dao Yin so they have a direct experience of this ancient yet powerful self-care practice.
(Memoir) David Brown Howell - Tethered to an Appalachian Curse: A Surprise Calling @ Town Hall
First-hand stories of Yancey County history are brought to life in this session: Illegal bootleggers and nasty mountain villains haunt a family, numerous episodes in a misspent youth ring outrageous with an abundance of original sin, a frantic struggle to find acceptance eventually results in a surprise calling. Driven to find meaning in life and with a battle against a social anxiety disorder, the author eventually speaks to audiences of thousands. Experience the epic travels from hillbilly obscurity to encounters with fame and sacredness. Paths cross with Archbishop Desmond Tutu, civil rights activists, U.S. senators, and world-famous musicians.
(Poetry) Cheryl Wilder - Anything That Happens @ Plott Hound Books
What is it like to write about your most shameful experience? Cheryl Wilder will read from her debut collection, Anything That Happens, an examination of what it takes to reconcile a past grave mistake. She will discuss the role of trust in writing and how craft helped build the writer-reader relationship.
12:00 - 12:30 p.m.
Book Signing @ Town Center
Morning authors: Anjali Enjeti, Valerie Nieman, Renea Winchester, Jessica Handler, John Ross, Margot Rossi, Cheryl Wilder, David Brown Howell, Shannon Hitchcock, David Joy
12:30 - 2:00 p.m. BREAK FOR LUNCH
2:00 - 4:45 p.m.
Poetry Writing Workshop @ Yancey County Library
Steve Cushman - Story In Verse: Writing the Narrative Poem
Whether a short ballad or a giant epic, a narrative poem tells a story, employing character, setting, plot, and other prose fiction devices. In this class, we’ll discuss the craft of narrative poetry by reading classic and contemporary examples and, through prompts and exercises, begin writing some of our own.
Registration required. $35 
2:00 - 2:45 p.m.
(Nonfiction) Anne Chesky Smith - Researching Murder at Asheville's Battery Park Hotel: The Search for Helen Clevenger's Killer @ Town Hall
In this 45-minute session, Executive Director of the Western North Carolina Historical Association and author Anne Chesky Smith will discuss the process of digging through archives - both digital and physical - to research and write her 2021 book that details the investigation into the sensational death of a white teenager in 1936 and the wrongful conviction and execution of a young Black man for her murder.
(Fiction) Heather Newton - The Puppeteer’s Daughters @ First Baptist Church
Heather Newton discusses her new novel The Puppeteer’s Daughters—its inspiration and the fun she had researching the magical world of puppetry. Featuring a famous puppeteer with dementia who announces to his three adult daughters that there is a fourth, the novel has been optioned for television. NYT bestselling author Sarah Addison Allen says: "Heartfelt, intriguing and breathtakingly creative. The Puppeteer’s Daughters proves that happily-ever-afters aren’t always the ending to fairy tales — sometimes they’re just the beginning.”
3:00 - 3:45 p.m.
(Nonfiction) Bress n Nyam with CheFarmer Matthew Raiford @ Town Center
Matthew Raiford, the celebrated CheFarmer, author, and Graduate of The Culinary Institute of America and The University of California- Santa Cruz Center of Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS) Apprenticeship Program, joins us for a discussion of his celebrated cookbook, Bress N Nyam: Gullah Geechee Recipes from a Sixth Generation Farmer, a collection of 100 heirloom recipes from the dynamic CheFarmer working the lands of his great-great-great grandfather at Gilliard Farms in Coastal Georgia.
(Fiction) Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle - The Living Story of Even As We Breathe: How historical fiction brings contemporary recognition @ Town Hall
Reading is an intellectual and emotional activity, one that necessitates a physical experience. By employing our own bodies in the craft of writing to create new worlds, new experiences, and new energy, we empower our stories to invoke a corporeal experience. This discussion explores methods for infusing physical sensation into the writing process through practice, observation, and structure, sharing examples from Even As We Breathe, as well as other notable works of fiction that invoke a bodily experience for the reader.
(Memoir) Patrice Gopo - All the Colors We Will See @ First Baptist Church
Join essayist Patrice Gopo as she shares her collection of personal essays, All the Colors We Will See. She will read briefly from the book and chat about some of the themes in her work—race & identity formation, immigration & place, belonging & the importance of sharing personal stories. For the writers in the room, Patrice will briefly touch on her writing process and the beauty of making meaning on the page. Finally, as a special treat, Patrice will share how one of the essays in All the Colors We Will See inspired her debut picture book, All the Places We Call Home.
4:00 - 4:45 p.m.
(Poetry) Jacinta White - Embodied: Writing Across Memory, Time & Space @ Town Center
Inspired by her journey chronicled in verse in Resurrecting the Bones, Jacinta V. White will lead a brief presentation on creating the space to write from the past. She will provide a taste of the holistic process of researching and listening as ways to catalogue and create.
(Fiction) Vicki Lane - War On Your Doorstep @ First Baptist Church
The Shelton Laurel Massacre during the Civil War, still has relevance—not only in nearby Madison County but to the rest of the country and, indeed, the world. Vicki will discuss the historical background of her novel And the Crows Took Their Eyes and the research it is grounded in, as well as the fictional additions to the story and the relevance of this long-ago event to today. The discussion will be illustrated by brief readings from the novel. Questions and comments will be encouraged.
Book Buzz @ Plott Hound Books
Rant and rave about the books that you really like and really hate. Book lovers of all stripes and dots can add their two cents to the enthusiastic discussion. What's not to like about getting the chance to spout off about your favorite books and pick up a few recommendations for more?
5:00 - 5:30 p.m.
Book Signing @ Town Center
Afternoon authors: Steve Cushman, Anne Chesky Smith, Heather Newton, Matthew Raiford, Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle, Patrice Gopo Jacinta White, Vicki Lane
5:30 - 8:00 p.m.
McDowell/Haney Cemetery Visit to Unmarked Graves in Celo
Following Jacinta White's presentation, there will be a guided visit to unmarked graves in the McDowell/Haney cemetery above the Celo Cemetery in the South Toe River Valley. Clark Tibbits, Celo resident, will talk about his research on these families and reasons to believe that enslaved people are buried there. Following this will be a time for reflection - participants are welcome to bring paper to journal on their own if they wish. *Sign up is required (Free. Sign up forms at Ms. White’s 4:00 session at Town Center). Transportation provided by Yancey County Transport. Please note that it is a 15-minute walk from the parking area to the gravesites.
7:00 p.m.
In the Middle of Nowhere @ Parkway Playhouse Local playwright Bret Murphy’s original story about a retired art professor who escapes to the Black Mountains of North Carolina after a harrowing experience in her “previous” life. Despite her fiercely independent nature, she eventually forms a relationship with Del, a young man who has recently been released from prison. They challenge each other in unexpected ways … but the question remains, will either of them accept forgiveness? A talkback with the playwright will follow the performance.
Discount tickets available for LitFest authors, volunteers, and attendees here with the code “GROUP2022” for 10% off.
9:00 - 11:45 a.m.
Multi-genre Writing Workshop 
Vicki Lane - Coming at Writing Sideways @ Yancey County Library
Let your mind run free! Participants will be asked to respond to photo prompts with prose or poetry. Vicki will provide an initial photo prompt to which participants will briefly respond to and share. Then participants will be encouraged to spend up to twenty minutes taking photos (cell phone or camera) in the area, after which the photos will be shared with the class and varying responses considered. More writing and reading sessions will follow. Wild experimental writing encouraged!
Registration required. $35 
10:00 - 10:45 a.m.
(Nonfiction) Ed Southern - Fight Songs: A Story of Love & Sports in a Complicated South @ Town Center
Why do sports mean so much that so many will play and watch them in the face of a global pandemic? How have the South’s histories shaped its fervor for college sports? Why is North Carolina passionate about college basketball when its neighbors to the South live and die by college football? Ed Southern doesn't claim to have any answers, in his book or in this session, but he does come across some truths while exploring the connections and contradictions between the teams we root for and the places we plant our roots; between the virtues that sports are supposed to teach and the cutthroat business they’ve become; between the hopes of fans and the demands of the past, present, and future.
(Fiction) Renea Winchester - Capturing the Soul of your Story @ Town Hall
Join Renea, author of Outbound Train and Farming, Friends, and Fried Bologna Sandwiches, for this session which highlights how to interview your characters, how to push through resistance, and discusses tools necessary to capture the true soul of the story.
(Poetry) Cheryl Wilder - Anything That Happens @ First Baptist Church
What is it like to write about your most shameful experience? Cheryl Wilder will read from her debut collection, Anything That Happens, an examination of what it takes to reconcile a past grave mistake. She will discuss the role of trust in writing and how craft helped build the writer-reader relationship.
(Memoir) Patrice Gopo - All the Colors We Will See @ Plott Hound Books
Join essayist Patrice Gopo as she shares her collection of personal essays, All the Colors We Will See. She will read briefly from the book and chat about some of the themes in her work—race & identity formation, immigration & place, belonging & the importance of sharing personal stories. For the writers in the room, Patrice will briefly touch on her writing process and the beauty of making meaning on the page. Finally, as a special treat, Patrice will share how one of the essays in All the Colors We Will See inspired her debut picture book, All the Places We Call Home.
11:00 - 11:45 a.m.
(Nonfiction) Ed Southern - Fight Songs: A Story of Love & Sports in a Complicated South @ Town Center
Why do sports mean so much that so many will play and watch them in the face of a global pandemic? How have the South’s histories shaped its fervor for college sports? Why is North Carolina passionate about college basketball when its neighbors to the South live and die by college football? Ed Southern doesn't claim to have any answers, in his book or in this session, but he does come across some truths while exploring the connections and contradictions between the teams we root for and the places we plant our roots; between the virtues that sports are supposed to teach and the cutthroat business they’ve become; between the hopes of fans and the demands of the past, present, and future.
(Poetry) Jacinta White - Embodied: Writing Across Memory, Time & Space @ Town Hall
Inspired by her journey chronicled in verse in Resurrecting the Bones, Jacinta V. White will lead a brief presentation on creating the space to write from the past. She will provide a taste of the holistic process of researching and listening as ways to catalog and create.
(Fiction) Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle - The Living Story of Even As We Breathe: How historical fiction brings contemporary recognition @ First Baptist Church
Reading is an intellectual and emotional activity, one that necessitates a physical experience. By employing our own bodies in the craft of writing to create new worlds, new experiences, and new energy, we empower our stories to invoke a corporeal experience. This discussion explores methods for infusing physical sensation into the writing process through practice, observation, and structure, sharing examples from Even As We Breathe, as well as other notable works of fiction that invoke a bodily experience for the reader.
12:00 - 12:30 p.m.
Book Signing @ Town Center
Morning authors: Vicki Lane, Ed Southern, Renea Winchester, Cheryl Wilder, Patrice Gopo, Jacinta White, Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle, David Joy
12:30 - 2:00 p.m. BREAK FOR LUNCH
2:00 - 4:45 p.m.
Fiction Writing Workshop
Jessica Handler - Writing History: Yours and Others’ @ Yancey County Library
How do writers present vibrant history on the page? Through writing exercises, discussion, and analyses of work by renowned authors (and your own work) we’ll examine the craft bringing history to life. Takeaways: writing compelling dialogue, scenic skills, innovative research methods, and personalized reading recommendations. Open to writers of all levels.
Registration required. $35 
Sponsored by Margie and Jim Haaga
2:00 - 2:45 p.m.
(Nonfiction/Memoir) Margot Rossi - To Be Like Water @ Town Center
Participants are invited to explore foundational principles of Chinese medicine and philosophy with acupuncturist Margot Rossi. Rossi’s book,To Be Like Water—Cultivating a Graceful and Fulfilling Life through the Virtues of Water and Dao Yin Therapeutic Movement, is part memoir and part guide to using Dao Yin, a combination of mindfulness, breathwork, and movements from Classical Chinese Medicine that promotes health and wellbeing. In addition to a reading and Q&A, Rossi will guide participants through a gentle sequence of lying-down Dao Yin so they have a direct experience of this ancient yet powerful self-care practice.
(Nonfiction) Bress n Nyam with CheFarmer Matthew Raiford @ First Baptist Church
Matthew Raiford, the celebrated CheFarmer, author, and Graduate of The Culinary Institute of America and The University of California- Santa Cruz Center of Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS) Apprenticeship Program, joins us for a discussion of his celebrated cookbook, Bress N Nyam: Gullah Geechee Recipes from a Sixth Generation Farmer, a collection of 100 heirloom recipes from the dynamic CheFarmer working the lands of his great-great-great grandfather at Gilliard Farms in Coastal Georgia.
(Poetry) Steve Cushman - An Accidental Poet @ Plott Hound Books
While he has been writing fiction for almost thirty years, he never thought he’d write poetry - but all that changed about ten years ago. In this session, Steve will discuss what prompted the change, his current process for writing both fiction and poetry, and what each genre has taught him about writing the other. He’ll also read from his latest books of poetry and fiction and take questions from the audience.
3:00 - 3:45 p.m.
(Memoir) Anjali Enjeti - Writing with a Social Justice Lens @ Town Center
What does it mean to write with a social justice lens? We’ll discuss how interrogation of the self and rigorous critique can shape fresh and compelling narratives in nonfiction, as well as how to write vivid three dimensional characters, riveting storylines, and authentic conflicts based on principles of movement journalism, community organizing, decolonization, and authenticity editing.
(Nonfiction) Anne Chesky Smith - Researching Murder at Asheville's Battery Park Hotel: The Search for Helen Clevenger's Killer @ Town Hall
In this 45-minute session, Executive Director of the Western North Carolina Historical Association and author Anne Chesky Smith will discuss the process of digging through archives - both digital and physical - to research and write her 2021 book that details the investigation into the sensational death of a white teenager in 1936 and the wrongful conviction and execution of a young Black man for her murder.
(Fiction) Heather Newton -  McMullen Circle @ First Baptist Church
Heather Newton discusses her short story collection, McMullen Circle, in which, in 1969, as Karl Wallenda prepares to tightrope-walk across the gorge in Tonola Falls, GA, faculty families at the McMullen Boarding School learn about racism, war, and what makes a hero. NYT bestselling author Wiley Cash says: "These deeply literary, heartfelt, and heartbreaking characters call to mind the work of Elizabeth Strout, Gail Godwin, and Richard Russo . . . This is the kind of book that readers return to and it's also the kind of book that writers return to to see how she pulled it off."
4:00 - 4:45 p.m.
(Poetry) Glenis Redmond - Bloom Anyhow: Finding Joy in the Struggle @ Town Center
 CANCELED DUE TO INTERNATIONAL TOUR
Glenis will speak to the immense importance of holding self-compassion and empathy for others­­——especially during these trying times. She will read poems of overcoming and survival demonstrating how poetry can be a meaningful container to hold both sorrow and beauty. In this session Glenis will encourage participants to contemplate and write about the symbiotic nature of their joy in the struggle.
(Memoir) David Brown Howell - Tethered to an Appalachian Curse: A Surprise Calling @ Town Hall
First-hand stories of Yancey County history are brought to life in this session: Illegal bootleggers and nasty mountain villains haunt a family, numerous episodes in a misspent youth ring outrageous with an abundance of original sin, a frantic struggle to find acceptance eventually results in a surprise calling. Driven to find meaning in life and with a battle against a social anxiety disorder, the author eventually speaks to audiences of thousands. Experience the epic travels from hillbilly obscurity to encounters with fame and sacredness. Paths cross with Archbishop Desmond Tutu, civil rights activists, U.S. senators, and world-famous musicians.
(Nonfiction) John Ross - History with an Edge @ First Baptist Church
A natural and cultural history of our watershed, John Ross’ book Through the Mountains: The French Broad River and Time, builds on Wilma Dykeman’s classic The French Broad by reporting 65 years of new research and poses the question, “For more than 14,000 years the river and its tributaries have sustained human habitation. What must we start doing now to ensure that it will nurture our grandchildren, their grandchildren, and grandchildren beyond?” Rather than a reading from the book, this session will be an open discussion of what we expect from the histories we read and why we write the ones we do.
Book Buzz @ Plott Hound Books
Rant and rave about the books that you really like and really hate. Book lovers of all stripes and dots can add their two cents to the enthusiastic discussion. What's not to like about getting the chance to spout off about your favorite books and pick up a few recommendations for more?
5:00 - 5:30 p.m.
Book Signing @ Town Center
Afternoon authors: Jessica Handler, Margot Rossi, Matthew Raiford, Steve Cushman, Anjali Enjeti, Anne Chesky Smith, Heather Newton, Glenis Redmond, David Brown Howell, John Ross
7:00 p.m. 
Keynote Event with author David Joy @ Town Center Legacy Room
The History Of All Places: A Discussion of Identity and Belonging
Registration required. $25 
When a Peabody Award-winning filmmaker asked David Joy to tell the story of the place he lives and writes about for a PBS documentary series, Joy responded simply, “That is not my story to tell.” Instead he introduced the filmmaker to a Cherokee novelist who took him to Kituwah; he led him to a sanctuary to speak with the congregation of a 130-year-old Black church; they walked the last pieces of land that had remained in one family for more than two centuries. By the end, what Joy says he took away was an understanding that, “The history of all places is a story of displacement.” As a twelfth-generation North Carolinian, Joy understands well what it means to be rooted to place. For five novels, his work has been centered very specifically in the mountains of Jackson County, North Carolina where he writes on themes of family and culture, identity and loss. Join David Joy and AMY Regional Library Director Amber Westall Briggs as they take a deep dive into these subjects and more in an attempt to better understand our relationships with the mountains we hold so dear. What does it mean to belong to a land? And how do we hold onto ourselves when the ground that defines us shifts beneath our feet?
Top