After two years being held as an online celebration, Western Carolina University’s
Spring Literary Festival returns to campus March 14-17 for a series of live events.
The 20th annual gathering of poets and authors is free and open to the public, with
all events taking place in the Hinds University Center theater. Directed by Jeremy
Jones, an associate professor of English, the festival has a long tradition of bringing
established and emerging literary talent to the community.
“Lit Fest brings the literary world – in all of its diversity – to the region of Western
North Carolina and we’re thrilled to do this in person again this year,” Jones said.
“So much of the magic happens in the informal conversations around the readings and
in line for book signings, so we’re looking forward to having readers and writers
in the same space in March to create this magic. To keep everyone as safe as possible,
WCU will continue to follow campus pandemic protocols, with face coverings optional
outside but required in public spaces indoors.”
The 2022 schedule:
Monday, March 14
- Noon – Gilbert-Chappell Poets
- 4 p.m. – Karen Salyer McElmurray, author of “Surrendered Child: A Birth Mother’s Journey”
and the novels “Strange Birds in the Tree of Heaven,” “The Motel of the Stars” and “Wanting
Radiance,” and Meagan Lucas, author of the award-winning novel “Songbirds and Stray
- 7 p.m. – Ron Rash, WCU’s John Parris Distinguished Professor of Appalachian Cultural Studies
in the Department of English, along with WCU alum and author David Joy, will be on
hand to read excerpts of their work.
Tuesday, March 15
- Noon – Brian Brodeur, author of “Every Hour Is Late” and Steve Scafidi, author of “Sparks
from a Nine-Pound Hammer,” “For Love of Common Words,” “The Cabinetmaker’s Window”
and “To the Bramble and the Briar”
- 4 p.m. – James Tate Hill, author of the memoir “Blind Man’s Bluff,” a New York Times
Editors’ Choice, and Ed Southern, author of “Fight Songs: A Story of Love & Sports
in a Complicated South”
- 7 p.m. – Deesha Philyaw, whose short story collection, “The Secret Lives of Church
Ladies,” won the 2021 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction
Wednesday, March 16
- Noon – Winners of the undergrad and graduate student creative writing competitions
- 4 p.m. – Rachel Yoder, author of “Nightbitch” and a founding editor of draft: the journal
of process, and Kerry Howley, author of “Thrown,” a New York Times Notable Book
- 7 p.m. – Wiley Cash, author of “When Ghosts Come Home” and the New York Timesbestseller “A
Land More Kind Than Home,” and University of North Carolina Asheville alumni author-in-residence
Thursday, March 17
- Noon – Jayne Zanglein, WCU professor emeritus and author of “The Girl Explorers: The
Untold Story of the Globetrotting Women Who Trekked, Flew and Fought Their Way Around
the World” * EVENT CHANGE
Zanglein passed away Feb. 22 from cancer. In lieu of her scheduled appearance, a “Celebration
of Jayne Zanglein” will be held instead, with readings of her works by Lisa Bloom,
the Jay M. Robinson Distinguished Professor of Educational Technologies in WCU’s School
of Teaching and Learning. Other speakers pending.
- 4 p.m.- Eduardo Corral, author of “Guillotine” and “Slow Lightning,” and Torrey Peters,
author of the bestselling novel “Detransition, Baby” and the novellas “Infect Your
Friends and Loved Ones” and “The Masker”
- 7 p.m. – Aimee Nezhukumatathil, author of “World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies,
Whale Sharks & Other Astonishments,” which was named Barnes and Nobles’ Book of the
Year 2020, and four award-winning poetry collections.
"So many organizations and people have a hand in making this big festival in little
Cullowhee robust and exciting each year," said Jones. "This year we received support
from South Arts, the North Carolina and Jackson County Arts Councils, the North Carolina
Humanities, WCU’s campus theme committee, the Office of the Provost, and the College
of Arts and Sciences. We feel the love from the university and the region."
For more information, visit litfestival.org or contact WCU’s English department at 828-227-7264.