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Edwidge Danticat is the author of several books, including Breath, Eyes, MemoryKrik? Krak!The Farming of Bones, and Everything Inside. She is the editor of The Butterfly’s Way: Voices from the Haitian Diaspora in the United States, Haiti Noirand Haiti Noir 2. She has written seven books for young adults and children, as well as a travel narrative, After the Dance, A Walk Through Carnival in Jacmel.  Her memoir, Brother, I’m Dying, was a National Book Award finalist in 2007 and a National Book Critics Circle Award winner for autobiography. She is a 2009 MacArthur Fellow and winner of the 2018 Neustadt Prize for Literature, and a two-time winner of The Story Prize.  


photo by Carl Juste

Jeff Sharlet is an award-winning literary journalist and author of seven books including New York Times bestseller, THE FAMILY: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power and C STREET: The Fundamentalist Threat to American Democracy. He is also the executive producer of the top-rated Netflix documentary series based on the books. Jeff is the Frederick Sessions Beebe ’35 Professor in the Art of Writing, a member of the Society of Fellows, and Director of Creative Writing at Dartmouth College. He is an editor-at-large for Virginia Quarterly Review and a contributing editor for Harper’s and Rolling Stone. He has also contributed to The New York Times Magazine, Vanity Fair, GQ, Esquire, Mother Jones, and more. Jeff’s new book is THIS BRILLIANT DARKNESS: A Book of Strangers


photo by Eli Burakian


Camille T. Dungy is the author of four collections of poetry: Trophic Cascade (Wesleyan UP, 2017); Smith Blue (Southern Illinois UP, 2011) winner of the 2010 Crab Orchard Open Book Prize; Suck on the Marrow (Red Hen Press, 2010) winner of the American book award in 2010; and What to Eat, What to Drink, What to Leave for Poison (Red Hen Press, 2006). Her debut collection of personal essays, Guidebook to Relative Strangers (W. W. Norton, 2017) was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.  


photo by Beowulf Sheehan

Called "a master storyteller" by Kirkus Reviews, Chantel Acevedo is the author of  Love and Ghost Letters (St. Martin's Press), winner of the Latino International Book Award; A Falling Star (Carolina Wren Press), winner of the Doris Bakwin Award, The Distant Marvels (Europa Editions), which was a finalist for the 2016 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction, and most recently, The Living Infinite (Europa Editions), hailed by Booklist as a "vivid and enthralling tale of love and redemption." Her essays have appeared in Vogue and Real Simple, among others. MUSE SQUAD: THE CASSANDRA CURSE, the first book in Acevedo's new middle grade duology (called "Riveting and suspenseful" by School Library Journal) was published by Balzer + Bray in 2020. She is Professor of English at the University of Miami, where she directs the MFA program.



photo by Belkis Lora

Kristen Radtke is the author of the genre-smashing graphic memoir, Imagine Wanting Only This (Pantheon, 2017), a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Pick, a Junior Library Guild Selection, and a Nylon Most Anticipated Book. The Chicago Tribune raved, "Imagine Wanting Only This [is] one of the most haunting graphic memoirs I've ever read. . . . There is a proud tradition of graphic memoirists—of those dually equipped to wield word and image—to tell the true and deeply considered story of a life. Alison Bechdel, Roz Chast, Riad Sattouf, David Small, Marjane Satrapi, Art Spiegelman and others have done it searingly well. And now to that list add Radtke, who proves herself an equal among equals with this debut book. . . ." Her next book, Seek You: Essays on American Loneliness, received a 2019 Whiting Creative Nonfiction Grant. It will be published by Pantheon in 2021. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Marie Claire, The Atlantic, The Guardian, GQ, Vogue, Oxford American, and many other places.


photo by Ann Ritter

Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle, an enrolled member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, resides in Qualla, NC with her husband, Evan and sons, Ross and Charlie. She holds degrees from Yale University and the College of William and Mary. Her debut novel, Even As We Breathe, was released by the University Press of Kentucky in 2020. Her first novel manuscript, Going to Water is winner of the Morning Star Award for Creative Writing from the Native American Literature Symposium (2012) and a finalist for the PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction (2014). Clapsaddle’s work has appeared in Yes! Magazine, Lit HubSmoky Mountain Living MagazineSouth Writ Large and The Atlantic. After serving as executive director of the Cherokee Preservation Foundation, Annette returned to teaching at Swain County High School. She is the former co-editor of the Journal of Cherokee Studies and serves on the board of trustees for the North Carolina Writers Network.


photo by Mallory Cash

Mesha Maren is the author of the novel Sugar Run (Algonquin Books). Her short stories and essays can be read in Tin HouseThe Oxford American, The Guardian, CrazyhorseTriquarterly, The Southern Review, Ecotone, Sou’westerHobart, Forty Stories: New Writing from Harper Perennial, and elsewhere. She was the recipient of the 2015 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize, a 2014 Elizabeth George Foundation grant, an Appalachian Writing Fellowship from Lincoln Memorial University, and fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and the Ucross Foundation. She was the 2018-2019 Kenan Visiting Writer at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is an Assistant Professor of the Practice of Creative Writing at Duke University and also serves as a National Endowment of the Arts Writing Fellow at the federal prison camp in Alderson, West Virginia.


photo by Natalia Weedy

Jesse Graves is the author of four poetry collections, including Tennessee Landscape with Blighted Pine, Basin Ghosts, Specter Mountain (co-authored with William Wright), and Merciful Days. His work has received the James Still Award for Writing about the Appalachian South from the Fellowship of Southern Writers and the Philip H. Freund Prize for Creative Writing from Cornell University, as well as two Weatherford Awards from Berea College and the Appalachian Studies Association. Graves has been an editor on several collections of poetry and scholarship, including three volumes of The Southern Poetry Anthology and The Complete Poems of James Agee. He teaches at East Tennessee State University, where he is Poet-in-Residence and Professor of English.



photo by Lisa Graves

Leah Hampton writes about Appalachia, corpses, ecoanxiety, and smart women. Her debut collection, F*ckface and Other Stories, was released by Henry Holt in July 2020. A graduate of the Michener Center for Writers, she has been awarded UT-Austin’s Keene Prize for Literature, the James Hurst Prize for Fiction, and the Doris Betts Prize, and has held fellowships at Hedgebrook, the Adirondack Center for Writing, and the Stadler Center for Poetry at Bucknell University. Her work has appeared in EcotoneGuernicaMcSweeneysElectric LiteraturestorySouthLitHub, and many other elsewheres. She lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.



photo by Carrie Hachadurian

Ashleigh Bryant Phillips is from rural Woodland, North Carolina. Hailed in The New Yorker as "elegant and mesmerizing" and "brimming with dark and romantic details," her debut collection, Sleepovers, won the C. Michael Curtis Short Story Book Prize. It was also longlisted for The Story Prize and is forthcoming in Italian in 2022. Ashleigh's stories have appeared in The Paris ReviewThe Oxford American and others. Her essays have appeared in Our State and Lit Hub. She teaches fiction at West Virginia Wesleyan College's low residency MFA and is a Southern editor for Joyland Magazine



photo by Missy Malouff

Kimberly L. Becker is author of four poetry collections: Words Facing East and The Dividings (WordTech Editions), The Bed Book (Spuyten Duyvil), and Flight (MadHat Press). Individual poems appear widely in journals and anthologies, including Indigenous Message on Water; North Dakota Quarterly; Women Write Resistance: Poets Resist Gender Violence; and Tending the Fire: Native Voices and Portraits. She has held grants from Maryland, North Carolina, and New Jersey and residencies at Hambidge, Weymouth, and Wildacres. Reading venues include Busboys and Poets and The National Museum of the American Indian, Washington, DC. She has served as mentor for PEN America's Prison Writing and AWP's Writer to Writer programs.




Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet for the Western Region, Jessica Jacobs, is the author of Take Me with You, Wherever You’re Going (Four Way Books), one of Library Journal’s Best Poetry Books of the Year, winner of the Devil’s Kitchen and Goldie Awards, and a finalist for the Brockman-Campbell, American Fiction, and Julie Suk Book Awards. Her debut collection, Pelvis with Distance (White Pine Press), a biography-in-poems of Georgia O'Keeffe, won the New Mexico Book Award in Poetry and was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award. An avid long-distance runner, Jessica has worked as a rock-climbing instructor, bartender, and professor, and now serves as the Chapbook Editor for Beloit Poetry Journal. She lives in Asheville, NC, with her wife, the poet Nickole Brown, with whom she co-authored Write It! 100 Poetry Prompts to Inspire (Spruce Books/Penguin Random House), and is at work on a collection of poems exploring spirituality, Torah, and Midrash.



photo by Lily Darragh

Catherine Carter’s collections of poetry with LSU Press include The Memory of Gills, The Swamp Monster at Home, and Larvae of the Nearest Stars (2019).  Her poetry has won the North Carolina Literary Review’s James Applewhite Prize, the NC Literary and Historical Society’s Roanoke-Chowan Award, Jacar Press’ chapbook contest, and Caldwell County Arts Council’s  Western NC Regional Poetry Contest; it has also appeared in Best American Poetry 2009, Orion, Poetry, Ecotone, Tar River Poetry, and Ploughshares, among othersShe is a professor of English at Western Carolina University.


Photo by Terry Clark Photography

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